The CIO Challenge to the AFL: A History of the American Labor Movement, 1935-1941

By Walter Galenson | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

On November 2, 1954, announcement was made of a research project at Harvard University on the history of labor-management relations in the United States in recent decades. The anticipated merger of the AFL-CIO appeared to be a good vantage point from which to review and to interpret the epochal developments in the industrial relations system of the United States during the preceding quarter century.

The membership of labor organizations had increased fourfold from the levels of the late 1920's; the impact of government in labor-management relations had been altered and vastly expanded by the Wagner Act and the Taft-Hartley law in addition to wartime policies; collective bargaining had been extended to new industries and to new problems; the policies and internal organizations of industrial managements had been transformed to deal with industrial relations; the internal government of international unions was undergoing significant changes; and the labor movement had experienced a dramatic split which was to come to a formal close with the merger convention of December 1955.

Within this large range of interests, the project was begun with two general studies of the labor movement treating the period up to World War II and six studies of particular international unions, collective bargaining relationships, or industries. The histories of individual international unions and labor-management relations were designed to be of interest in themselves, to contribute to an understanding of collective bargaining institutions over a longer period, and to reinforce the two initial general studies of the labor movement. Additional volumes are planned which treat other topics and issues in further analysis of labor-management relations and labor organizations. The history of the experience of labor organizations in the South, for instance, is now in preparation; more theoretical and general interpretative work can be built upon these studies.

The project was planned jointly with professors Walter Galenson and Lloyd Ulman of the University of California, Berkeley. Both are former colleagues at Harvard University, and each spent a further year in research on this project in Cambridge undertaking responsibility for the two general studies of the labor movement. The CIO Challenge to the AFL by Professor Galenson treats the period 1935- 1941. Professor Ulman's volume is concerned

-vii-

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