Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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CONTENTS

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p. vii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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pp. ix-x

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PREFACE

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pp. xi-xii

IN THE EARLY 1950s, my grandmother and I would ride the bus downtown for the monthly meeting of the Atlanta division of the Grand International Women’s Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. My grandmother was in her mid-sixties (the exact year of her birth was always in dispute), and would soon resign the union office she had held since before 1930. My mother, also married to a railroad man, would step in as her replacement. Although I was only four, I was...

TEXT ABBREVIATIONS

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pp. xiii-xiv

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INTRODUCTION: The Missing Wave

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pp. 1-10

NEAR THE END of the presidential election of 1996, political analysts discovered “Soccer Moms.” It was these women, they declared, that would make or break the election. They were the undecided, the swing voters. It was their vote that Bill Clinton had to win if he were to ensure his reelection. Only much later did it become apparent that these women had been mislabeled. They were not Soccer Moms at all. Indeed, as one observer wryly noted, “Waitress Moms” might be the better...

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CHAPTER ONE: The Other Labor Movement

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pp. 11-49

THE STORY OF union growth in the 1930s is a familiar, often-told tale. But for women, the 1940s proved just as crucial. Less than a million women belonged to trade unions at the end of the 1930s. By the early 1950s, that number jumped to three million, and another two million women had flocked into auxiliaries. A women’s movement within organized labor now existed that was a force to be reckoned with. Not all wage-earning women saw themselves as feminists, nor did unionism spread to every...

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CHAPTER TWO: Social Feminism Remade

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pp. 50-68

THE STORY OF social feminism often trails off in the 1940s as national figures such as Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins or WTUL leader and Roosevelt White House advisor Rose Schneiderman recede from public view. Yet the social feminist movement after the 1930s included new women’s organizations like the National Council for Negro Women (NCNW), founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, as well as older yet still vital groups like the American Association of University...

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CHAPTER THREE: Women's Job Rights

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pp. 69-93

THE ANSWER TO the perennial question “Should women work outside the home?” has changed dramatically over time. The early nineteenth-century mill owners had to convince a skeptical public that wage-earning for young, single, white women would neither endanger the moral codes of acceptable womanhood nor undermine the stability of the patriarchal family.3 A century later, the terms of the debate had...

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CHAPTER FOUR: Wage Justice

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pp. 94-120

IN DECEMBER 1944, Frieda Miller, newly appointed director of the U.S. Women’s Bureau, offered her thoughts to the hundred and fifty UAW women who had come to Detroit as delegates to the first National Women’s Conference of the UAW. Introduced as a long-time advocate of equal pay for equal work, Miller returned to that theme more than once in her talk, always eliciting the enthusiastic response of the crowd. Yet Miller reminded her audience that the campaign for wage...

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CHAPTER FIVE: The Politics of the "Double Day"

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pp. 121-144

IN 1942, KATHERINE ELLICKSON, who had recently joined the CIO Research Department and would be one of the staunchest advocates for working mothers in the postwar era, voiced her concerns about the burdens of the “double day” in a revealing essay, “Short-time Work for Women.” Earlier generations of women, she began, solved the conflict between wage work and family obligations by embracing either one or the other. The current generation was the first to combine the two,...

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CHAPTER SIX: Labor Feminism at High Tide

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pp. 145-179

IN 1961, A NEWLY ELECTED President Kennedy announced the creation of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the first federal body devoted to assessing women’s status and needs. The next few years witnessed an explosion of legislation affecting women’s rights on the job, including the Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and sweeping amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Scholars invariably recognize these dramatic federal initiatives as crucial to...

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CHAPTER SEVEN: The Torch Passes

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pp. 180-205

IN 1968, THE Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, better known as WITCH, helped disrupt the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Along with some 200 other women activists, they picketed along the boardwalk and at one point crowned a live sheep Miss America to protest the judging of women like livestock at a county fair. They also stuffed bras, girdles, high-heeled shoes, and other articles of women’s clothing...

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CHAPTER EIGHT: An Unfinished Agenda

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pp. 206-222

WITH THE ADVENT of CLUW in 1974, a national network of labor feminists existed that embraced many of the tenets of second wave feminism and continued to articulate a dual vision of civil and social rights for women. Yet to focus solely on CLUW and the leadership of women at the national level is to miss some of the most creative and effective reform initiatives among working women in this period. Indeed, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the transformation of women’s work occurred...

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EPILOGUE: The Next Wave

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pp. 223-228

I WROTE THIS book to give my mother’s generation their due. I also wrote in hope that a history of labor feminism might inspire and inform the next women’s movement. For I think that the feminism of the twenty-first century will look as much like the one my generation left behind as the one it invented. Yet the next women’s movement will be different from any of its predecessors. Social movements are successful because they speak to the needs of their time. They can..

ABBREVIATIONS FOR NOTES

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pp. 229-230

NOTES

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pp. 231-298

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. 299-300

LET ME ACKNOWLEDGE here the many debts I have accumulated in the writing of this book. Ruth Milkman, David Brody, Alice Kessler-Harris, Ava Baron, and Eileen Boris provided crucial encouragement in the early unsteady stages of this project. My long—but never quite long enough—research stints at various archives were eased by the assistance of able and hospitable staff. Lynn Bonfield and Susan Sherwood at the Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University; Mike...

PERMISSIONS

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pp. 301-302

INDEX

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pp. 303-315

Series Page

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pp. 316-316