The Origins of Right to Work: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Chicago by Cedric de LeonThe Origins of Right to Work: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Chicago by Cedric de Leon

The Origins of Right to Work: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Chicago

byCedric de Leon

Paperback | May 21, 2015

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"Right to work" states weaken collective bargaining rights and limit the ability of unions to effectively advocate on behalf of workers. As more and more states consider enacting right-to-work laws, observers trace the contemporary attack on organized labor to the 1980s and the Reagan era. In The Origins of Right to Work, however, Cedric de Leon contends that this antagonism began a century earlier with the Northern victory in the U.S. Civil War, when the political establishment revised the English common-law doctrine of conspiracy to equate collective bargaining with the enslavement of free white men. In doing so, de Leon connects past and present, raising critical questions that address pressing social issues. Drawing on the changing relationship between political parties and workers in nineteenth-century Chicago, de Leon concludes that if workers’ collective rights are to be preserved in a global economy, workers must chart a course of political independence and overcome long-standing racial and ethnic divisions.

Cedric de Leon is Associate Professor of Sociology at Providence College. He is the author of Party and Society: Reconstructing a Sociology of Democratic Party Politics and co-editor of Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society. Before becoming a professor he was by turns an organizer, a local union president, and a rank-and-file ac...
Title:The Origins of Right to Work: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century ChicagoFormat:PaperbackDimensions:184 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.43 inPublished:May 21, 2015Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801479584

ISBN - 13:9780801479588


Table of Contents

1. Tracing the Origins of Right to Work2. The Critique of Wage Dependency, 1828–18443. The Political Crisis over Slavery and the Rise of Free Labor, 1844–18604. The War Years, or the Triumphs and Reversals of Free Labor Ideology, 1861–18655. Antilabor Democracy and the Working Class, 1865–1887Epilogue: Neoliberalism in the RustbeltNotes

Editorial Reviews

"In an important and timely book, Cedric de Leon finds the historical origins of antilabor politics in the United States in the emergence of a liberal capitalist order after the abolition of slavery. In the face of rising corporate power, his focus on political elites' ideological promotion of individual 'freedom of contract,’ and forceful suppression of workers’ collective action, has resonance for the challenges facing the American labor movement today." - Chris Rhomberg, author of No There There