Blood on Steel PDF/EPUB ☆ Blood on ePUB ✓

Blood on Steel Dennis frames the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937 where police shot into a peaceful crowd of strikers as a flashpoint in a larger struggle for democratic rights at workplaces over the primacy of corporate management in the midst of the Great Depression He writes of the larger struggle by poor working class people to reclaim their lives in a world of want leading up to 1937 when a huge strikewave hit the United States after the success of the Flint Sitdown strike While the Steel Workers Organizing Committee SWOC funded by United Mine Workers and the CIO uickly and skillfully inflitrated US Steel which led management to capitulate without a strike for fear of distruption the smaller steel firms Little Steel dug in against organizing which kicked off a multistate strike In Chicago where the strike was directed against Republic Steel police were funded directly by the company who hated the labor movement and the strikers for being racially and ethnically diverse freuently attacking and beating union activists Dennis notes that the struggle for shop floor control union representation and social democracy fueled the fight and inspired workers in Chicago The strikers had settled into a festive picnic near the plant in order to dispel tensions after some fo the beatings but when they approached in order to argue for their right to peacefully picket in front of the plant the 250 police suddenly attacked the crowd of 1500 with bullets and batons killing 10 and injuring over 150 While Little Steel eventually won the battle as the strike was called off after SWOC organizers decided respectability politics were better than grassroots wildcat actions eventually SWOC won the war as the federal government forced them to negotiate as WWII production picked upDennis's book is meant for a public audience as the research mostly depends on already published materials is short does not new research and does not engage with the historiography of the SWOC campaign which disagrees whether the leadership was progressive while members conservative and what sort of labor movement was built in the 30s 40s real material gains vs neutering of the workers movement? Still it is very approachable and frames well the high stakes of the labor battles of the 30s where some paid dearly for the dignity of all who work for a living On Memorial Day 1937 thousands of steelworkers middle class supporters and working class activists gathered at Sam's Place on the Southeast Side of Chicago to protest Republic Steel’s virulent opposition to union recognition and collective bargaining By the end of the day ten marchers had been mortally wounded and than one hundred badly injured victims of a terrifying police riot Sam's Place the headuarters for the steelworkers was transformed into a bloody and frantic triage unit for treating heads split open by police batons flesh torn by bullets and limbs mangled badly enough to reuire amputation While no one doubts the importance of the Memorial Day Massacre Michael Dennis identifies it as a focal point in the larger effort to revitalize American euality during the New Deal In Blood on Steel Dennis shows how the incident—captured on film by Paramount newsreels—validated the claims of labor activists and catalyzed public opinion in their favor In the aftermath of the massacre Senate hearings laid bare patterns of anti union aggression among management ranging from blacklists to harassment and vigilante violence Companies were determined to subvert the right to form a union which Congress had finally recognized in 1935 Only in the following year would Congress pass the Fair Labor Standards Act which established a minimum wage and a maximum work week outlawed child labor and regulated hazardous work Like the Wagner Act that protected collective bargaining this law aimed to protect workers who had suffered the worst of what the Great Depression had inflicted Dennis‘s wide angle perspective reveals the Memorial Day Massacre as not simply another bloody incident in the long story of labor management tension in American history but as an illustration of the broad based movement for social democracy which developed in the New Deal era

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