- Jamakaya. Like Our Sisters Before Us: Women of Wisconsin Labor–Based on Interviews Conducted for the Women of Wisconsin Labor Oral History Project. Milwaukee, Wis.: Wisconsin Labor History Society; 1998. 93 p.
Notes: Ten female union leaders of Wisconsin, including one African-American, are profiled; the women were most active from the 1940s through the 1970s. This volume also includes a list of the over thirty interviewees of the Women of Wisconsin Labor Oral History Project of the Wisconsin Labor History Society; all of the project’s audio recordings and additional supporting materials from the interviewees are available to researchers through the Archives Division, State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
CONTENTS: Evelyn Donner Day, Milwaukee (Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union; United Auto Workers). — Alice Holz, Milwaukee (Office and Professional Employees Int’l Union). — Evelyn Gotzion, Madison (Federal Labor Union No. 19587; United Auto Workers). — Catherine Conroy, Milwaukee (Communications Workers of America). — Nellie Wilson, Milwaukee (United Steel Workers of America). — Doris Thom, Janesville (Int’l Association of Machinists; United Auto Workers). — Lee Schmeling, Neenah (Graphic Arts Int’l Union; Graphic Communications Int’l Union). — Helen Hensler, Milwaukee (Office and Professional Employees Int’l Union). — Joanne Bruch, Whitewater (Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers). — Florence Simons, Milwaukee (Int’l Association of Machinists; United Auto Workers; Allied Industrial Workers).
- Karsh, Bernard. “Anatomy of a Strike in Marinette”. IN: Holter, Darryl. Workers and Unions in Wisconsin: A Labor History Anthology. Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin; 1999; pp. 206-218.
Notes: An excerpt from Karsh’s book, Diary of a Strike (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1958); in the second edition of his book (published in 1982), Karsh had revealed the real names of those involved in the strike he is discussing in Diary of a Strike–it was a strike by International Ladies Garment Workers Union Local 480 against the Marinette Knitting Mills in Marinette, Wisconsin.
- —. Diary of a Strike. 2nd ed. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press; 1982. 177 p.
Notes: A sociologist’s look at the process of a strike against the Marinette Knitting Mills by International Ladies Garment Workers Union Local 480 from July 12, 1951 through October 25, 1951 in Marinette, Wisconsin. This second edition for the first time supplies the actual names of the town, the company, the union, and the strike’s key participants; the author explains in his preface here that, “in accord with standard practice in social science research, many of the identifying names were changed” in the original edition, but that the “need to disguise informants has diminished” since then (p. viii).
This is a compellingly-told story and in his foreword to this edition, Sol C. Chaikin, the president of the I.L.G.W.U., explains why:
“This is an unusual book, and still more unusual among works of non-fiction. Its subject
matter–the daily events surrounding a strike of garment workers in Wisconsin–is the stuff of novels or motion pictures. Rarely is this story told by academics or journalists–and rarely so well as in this study. This work is not fiction, not propaganda, but reality: history as it actually was, and actually is.
“Normally, when strikes are described, much is left out. Scholars most often take a perspective that is overly broad or coolly statistical. They lose the human drama, the sacrifice, the courage, the disappointment, the joys, even the humor. But who, after reading this book, will forget the moment when the company tried to have its winter heating coal sent through the mail?
“Reporters for newspapers and television are better at relating the dramatic events of a strike, yet they too miss much of what a labor dispute is all about–the ebbs and flows, the subtle nuances of tactics, the improvisations, the countless decisions and countless details, the accumulation of small incidents that add up to a major confrontation. I think one has to live day by day with a strike to understand fully what is involved. Short of that, one can read Bernard Karsh’s book.” (p. [v])
“Some of the material included in this book first appeared in an article in The American Journal of Sociology and in The Worker Views His Union, a book published by the University of Chicago Press.”–preface to the 1981 edition, p. xv.z
Reviewed: Goldman, Paul (reviewer). Work and Occupations, v. 11, no. 2 (May 1984), p. 227-228.
- Pesotta, Rose. Bread Upon the Waters. Edited by, John Nicholas Beffel. New York: Dodd, Mead; 1944. 435 p.
Notes: See p. 183-190 for Pesotta’s autobiographical account of organizing female cotton dress workers with International Ladies Garment Workers Union (I.L.G.W.U.) Local 188 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1935. Pesotta, a well-known U.S. woman labor organizer, also comments upon an I.L.G.W.U. strike in Racine, Wisconsin by female rainwear workers against the Chicago Rubber Company.
Another edition: Pesotta, Rose; edited by John Nicholas Beffel. Bread Upon the Waters. Ithaca, N.Y.: I.L.R. Press, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1987. This reprint added a section of photographs and an introduction by Ann Schofield.
- —. “Organizing Garment Workers”. IN: Holter, Darryl. Workers and Unions in Wisconsin: A Labor History Anthology. Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin; 1999; pp. 147-150. Notes: Reproduces from her autobiography, Bread Upon the Waters, the portions about her organizing experience in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, on behalf of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.