Cornell University

Book Information

Public Workers
Government Employee Unions, the Law, and the State, 1900-1962
Joseph E. Slater


Cloth, 2004 ISBN: 978-0-8014-4012-0
$ 52.50   £40.50

From the dawn of the twentieth century to the early 1960s, public-sector unions generally had no legal right to strike, bargain, or arbitrate, and government workers could be fired simply for joining a union. Public Workers is the first book to analyze why public-sector labor law evolved as it did, separate from and much more restrictive than private-sector labor law, and what effect this law had on public-sector unions, organized labor as a whole, and by extension all of American politics. Joseph E. Slater shows how public-sector unions survived, represented their members, and set the stage for the most remarkable growth of worker organization in American history. Slater examines the battles of public-sector unions in the workplace, courts, and political arena, from the infamous Boston police strike of 1919, to teachers in Seattle fighting a yellow-dog rule, to the BSEIU in the 1930s representing public-sector janitors, to the fate of the powerful Transit Workers Union after New York City purchased the subways, to the long struggle by AFSCME that produced the nation's first public-sector labor law in Wisconsin in 1959. Slater introduces readers to a determined and often-ignored segment of the union movement and expands our knowledge of working men and women, the institutions they formed, and the organizational obstacles they faced.

About the Author
Joseph E. Slater is Associate Professor of Law, University of Toledo.

Subject Areas
History / U.S. & Canada
American Studies
Labor & Employment Law