The New Labor Radicalism and New York City's Garment Industry: Progressive Labor Insurgents in the 1960s
Taylor & Francis, 2000 - 330 pages
This book examines how Progressive Labor (PL) insurgents challenged the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and tried to revolutionize labor in New York City's garment industry during the 1960s. Progressive Labor's role in New York City's economically important but declining garment industry -- the group's first attempt to organize industrial workers on the job -- suggests the problematic nature of PL's attempt to transform itself from a group of radical intellectuals into a mass working-class party. Pitted against powerful opponents, such as the garment firms and the imperious, socially progressive, and historically anticommunist ILGWU, a handful of PLers were able to foment a surprising number of work stoppages, which exposed the egregious problems facing low-paid black and Latino garment workers and their problematic relationship with the ILGWU. Progressive Labor's experience in New York City's garment industry suggests that industry workers were very willing to fight their trade union battles under communist leadership, but were far less willing to commit themselves to Progressive Labor's strategy for communist revolution.
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