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Cover image of American Labor, Congress, and the Welfare State, 1935–2010
Cover image of American Labor, Congress, and the Welfare State, 1935–2010
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American Labor, Congress, and the Welfare State, 1935–2010

Tracy Roof

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Despite achieving monumental reforms in the United States such as the eight-hour workday, a federal minimum wage, and workplace health and safety laws, organized labor’s record on much of its agenda has been mixed. Tracy Roof’s sweeping examination of labor unions and the American legislative process explains how this came to be and what it means for American workers.

Tracing a 75-year arc in labor movement history, Roof discusses the complex interplay between unions and Congress, showing the effects of each on the other, how the relationship has evolved, and the resulting political outcomes…

Despite achieving monumental reforms in the United States such as the eight-hour workday, a federal minimum wage, and workplace health and safety laws, organized labor’s record on much of its agenda has been mixed. Tracy Roof’s sweeping examination of labor unions and the American legislative process explains how this came to be and what it means for American workers.

Tracing a 75-year arc in labor movement history, Roof discusses the complex interplay between unions and Congress, showing the effects of each on the other, how the relationship has evolved, and the resulting political outcomes. She analyzes labor’s success at passing legislation and pushing political reform in the face of legislative institutional barriers such as the Senate filibuster and an entrenched and powerful committee structure, looks at the roots and impact of the interdependent relationship between the Democratic Party and the labor movement, and assesses labor’s prospects for future progress in creating a comprehensive welfare state. Roof’s original investigation details the history, actions, and consequences of major policy battles over areas such as labor law reform and health care policy. In the process, she brings to light practical and existential questions for labor leaders, scholars, and policy makers.

Although American labor remains a force within the political process, decades of steadily declining membership and hostile political forces pose real threats to the movement. Roof’s shrewd exploration of unions, Congress, and the political process challenges conventional explanations for organized labor’s political failings.

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Reviews

Reviews

A thoughtfully constructed history and analysis that illuminates current efforts regarding health care reform and other goals of American liberalism.

Roof suggests a new reason for labor's failures in the political realm: it is more structural than circumstantial.

Roof succeeds at taking complicated issues and making them understandable. This meticulously researched book may well be the final word on what has prevented the labor movement from making greater strides in winning prolabor and progressive policies at the national level.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
296
ISBN
9781421400877
Illustration Description
7 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
1. The Rise of Organized Labor and the Conservative Coalition
2. Labor, the Conservative Coalition, and the Welfare State
3. Possibilities and Limits in the Great Society
4. Changing

Preface
Introduction
1. The Rise of Organized Labor and the Conservative Coalition
2. Labor, the Conservative Coalition, and the Welfare State
3. Possibilities and Limits in the Great Society
4. Changing the Rules of the Game
5. Postreform Stalemate on Labor's Agenda
6. The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Tracy Roof, Ph.D.

Tracy Roof is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Richmond.