Publisher description for Wobblies on the waterfront : interracial unionism in progressive-era Philadelphia / Peter Cole.

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The rise and fall of America's first truly interracial labor union

For almost a decade during the 1910s and 1920s, the Philadelphia waterfront was home to the most durable interracial, multiethnic union seen in the United States prior to the CIO era. For much of its time, Local 8 was majority black, always with a cadre of black leaders. The union also claimed immigrants from Eastern Europe, as well as many Irish Americans, who had a notorious reputation for racism. This important study is the first book-length examination of how Local 8, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, accomplished what no other did at the time. Peter Cole outlines the factors that were instrumental in Local 8's success, both ideological (the IWW's commitment to working-class solidarity) and pragmatic (racial divisions helped solidify employer dominance). He also shows how race was central not only to the rise but also to the decline of Local 8, as increasing racial tensions were manipulated by employers and federal agents bent on the union's destruction.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Industrial Workers of the World -- History.
Stevedores -- Labor unions -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History.
Labor unions -- Social aspects -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History.
Philadelphia (Pa.) -- Race relations -- History.