- Costello, Cynthia B. “‘On the Front’: Class, Gender, and Conflict in the Insurance Workplace”; 1984. Notes: Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1984. 308 p.
- —. We’re Worth It!: Women and Collective Action in the Insurance Workplace. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press; 1991. 154 p.
Notes: A sociological look at the process of collective action among the women clerical workers at three insurance companies in Madison, Wisconsin; all three companies had unionized workforces. The author analyzes the responses of the women workers to the different management philosophies of the three companies and the strategies employed by the women to make changes.
The first workplace was at the Wisconsin Education Association Insurance Trust, which was formed by the Wisconsin Education Association, the state teachers’ union; there the union involved was the United Staff Union (USU), the state affiliate of the National Staff Organization, an independent union to represent employees of teachers unions. The author analyzes the strategies used by the clericals in this workplace from 1975 to 1985 to gain respect and dignity on the job, including a strike in 1979.
The second workplace was at the Wisconsin Physicians Services Insurance Corporation; the union involved there was began as Retail Clerks Union Local 1401 and then became United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1444 due to a merger in 1979. The group of women at this site were followed from 1974 to 1982 and, in addition to the unionized clerical office workforce, the author looked at the strategies of the company’s non-unionized clerical homework force as well.
The third workplace was at the CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, which was formed by the Credit Union National Association; here the union was Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 39. Although the CUNA worksite was much more ‘benevolent’ than the other two worksites in this study, by the late 1970s a group of the women clerical workers had formed a Women’s Association to take collective action in the workplace beyond that of their union.
“An earlier version of chapter 2 appeared as “WEA’re Worth it!: Work Culture and Conflict at the Wisconsin Education Assocation Trust” in Feminist Studies 11, no.3 (Fall 1985): 497-518. … An earlier version of chapter 4 appeared as “Home-based Clerical Employment” in The New Era of Home-based Work, edited by Kathleen Christensen, c1988 Westview Press. …”–title page verso.
Chapter 4 has also appeared in a somewhat different form as “The Clerical Homework Program at the Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation,” in Homework: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Paid Labor at Home, edited by Eileen Boris and Cynthia R. Daniels (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1989), p. -214 (Chapter 10).
Reviewed: University Press Book News, June 1, 1992.
- Dudley, Kathryn Marie. The End of the Line: Lost Jobs, New Lives in Postindustrial America. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press; 1994. 224 p. ( Wolfe, Alan. Morality and Society Series.
Notes: An anthropologist looks at the difficult 1988 closing of the large Chrysler automobile assembly plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin and explores the various strategies utilized on all sides affected by this corporate decision–the company, local government, and the approximately six thousand employees laid off from the plant. Dudley, with family ties to Kenosha, explores the struggles of the plant’s workers in their confrontation with the long-term, national trend of the deindustrialization of the United States and the conflicting ideas in the community about what the city needed to do next to re-build, in the face of the loss of the city’s major industrial employer.
The first union representing the workers at the Kenosha automobile assembly plant had begun in September 1933 as Federal Labor Union No. 19008 with a charter from the American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.), but was re-chartered in November 1935 as United Automobile Workers Local 72, shortly after formation by the AFL of the United Auto Workers union. The Kenosha assembly plant had begun as the Jeffery Company in 1902 until Charles Nash purchased the company in 1916 and changed the name to Nash Motors. In 1954, Nash Motors merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company to form the American Motors Corporation (A.M.C.). A partnership made in 1978 with the French automaker, Renault, lasted until August 1987, when Renault was bought out by the Chrysler corporation. Then, despite having received many millions of dollars in financial assistance from the state and local government to upgrade the production facility, Chrysler announced on January 27, 1988 that the workforce at the Kenosha plant would be slashed by June 1988 from 6,400 employees to only 900 and that the plant would be completely closed by July 1988. Because of an extension of a few months, however, car production in Kenosha did continue until two days before Christmas in 1988.
Another edition: Dudley, Kathryn Marie. The End of the Line: Lost Jobs, New Lives in Postindustrial America. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1997. 224 p. ISBN: 0226169103 (pbk.)
- Gough, Robert. Farming the Cutover: A Social History of Northern Wisconsin, 1900-1940. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas; 1997. 295 p.
Notes: At the time of settlement by Euro-Americans, the northern-most third of Wisconsin was almost entirely covered by an old-growth forest of pine and hardwoods, which varied depending on the soil and moisture conditions in each local area. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century commercial loggers clear cut almost one hundred percent of that great forest of northern Wisconsin; this “cutover region” is made up of eighteen Wisconsin counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marinette, Oconto, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn. (The only portion of the original forest to be left intact was that held by the Native American tribe of the Menominee Nation, who at the time of the cutover refused to permit the commercial loggers to clear cut their reservation in Oconto and Shawano counties; in fact, today their Menominee Reservation makes up virtually the only old-growth forest remaining in the entire state of Wisconsin.)
With the assistance of governmental state boosterism, the lumber companies sold off the land after the last of the forest had been cut down to families for small farms. The chiefly cool-climate forest soils of the area and the mass of stumps left in place by the lumber companies combined, however, to make agriculture in the “cutover region” a very daunting endeavor. In this outstanding example of a social history, Gough looks at how the development and settlement of northern Wisconsin was influenced by a host of factors, including the environmental, commercial, governmental, political, professional and academic. It is refreshing to find a book which gives the settlers of this region the respect they deserve for what they accomplished and which is sensitive to how they struggled to overcome the challenging circumstances they faced.
Farming the Cutover received a “Book Award of Merit” in 1998 from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
- 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.
- Karsh, Bernard. Diary of a Strike. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press; 1958. 180 p.
Notes: In a town identified only as “Saylor,” a former lumber town and port city on the upper Great Lakes, the entire process of a strike for union recognition and a first contract is explored from beginning to end. Karsh, a social scientist, examines the question of how the will was created and sustained among the workers at a local mill, which produced “an expensive line of soft goods” (p. 17), to form a union and to go on strike to win that union. The actual names of the town, the company, the union, and the strike’s key participants were not revealed until the second edition of this book came out in 1981, but everything else in this compelling story is real; see the abstract provided for the second edition of the book for the actual names.
“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, published by the University of Chicago Press.”–preface, p. xiii.
- LeMasters, E. E. Blue-Collar Aristocrats: Life-Styles at a Working-Class Tavern. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press; 1975. 218 p.
Notes: The author, in the book’s preface (p. ix), says: “This is a book about blue-collar men and women who frequent a tavern [in Madison, Wis.] I choose to call The Oasis. Most of the men work in the various construction trades. I have tried to capture the life-style of these persons so that students and other readers might gain some understanding of them.
“Chapter 5, “Battle of the Sexes” was originally published in The Wisconsin Sociologist 10 (Spring-Summer, 1973) and Chapter 8, “Tavern Social Life,” was originally published under the title, “Social Life in a Working-Class Tavern,” in Urban Life and Culture 2 (April 1973).”
- Pifer, Richard L. A City At War: Milwaukee Labor During World War II. Madison, Wis.: Wisconsin Historical Society Press; 2003. 210 p.
Notes: How Milwaukee workers and their families shared in the home front efforts to win the war, while continuing to make use of labor relations for the future to come after the war’s conclusion.
- —. “A Social History of the Home Front: Milwaukee Labor During World War II”; 1983.
Notes: Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983. 515 p. The role of workers and labor unions on the home front in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during World War II is examined. While labor fully supported the war effort and tried to balance the needs of its movement with the needs of the nation, the author found that workers and their unions fought to maintain their ability to effectively represent their union members in the workplace and in their community and that the traditional techniques of the labor movement continued to be used throughout the duration of the war as a counterbalance to the power of the corporations. For a fuller abstract, see Dissertation Abstracts International, 1984, 45(1): 279-A.
- Rodriguez, Marc S. “Migrants and Citizens: Mexican American Migrant Workers and the War on Poverty in an American City”. IN: Rodriguez, Marc S., editor. Repositioning North American Migration History: New Directions in Modern Continental Migration, Citizenship, and Community. Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press; 2004; pp. 328-351.
- Uphoff, Walter Henry. The Kohler Strike: Its Socio-Economic Causes and Effects. [Milwaukee, Wis.]: Priv. print. [Cuneo press]; 1935. 139 p.
Notes: Revised from an academic thesis, this is a sociological study which, according to its introduction (p. 1), is based on a survey of “the attitudes, opinions and prejudices among the various economic and professional groups” involved with the 1934 Kohler strike as well as on interviews with “people of the community.” The author also says that he made “this intensive study of one strike to show the various social and economic forces in operation, since similar tactics, strategy and methods are resorted to wherever the failure of collective bargaining leads to a strike.” The book’s preface is by Henry Ohl, Jr., then president of the Wisconsin Federation of Labor.
Reviewed: Kipp, Marjorie (reviewer). The Kenosha Labor, v. 1, no. 15 (Friday, February 7, 1936), editorial page (p. ).
- Zarob, Virginia Mary. “The Family in an Expanding Industrial Economy: Economic, Occupational, Social, and Residential Mobility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1860-1880”; 1976. Notes: Ph.D. thesis, Marquette University, 1976. 261 pp. Dissertation Abstracts International 1977 38(2): 984-A.