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Workers against the CityThe Fight for Free Speech in Hague v. CIO$
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Donald W. Rogers

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043468

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043468.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Workers in Transition

Workers in Transition

Remaking Labor Unionism in a Boss-Run Town

(p.45) 2 Workers in Transition
Workers against the City

Donald W. Rogers

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that change in the U.S. labor movement from American Federation of Labor (AFL) craft unionism to Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) industrial unionism largely lay behind Jersey City’s opposition to the CIO in 1937, not just Mayor Hague’s supposed antilabor inclinations. Hague aligned with AFL unions, but Depression and New Deal labor laws weakened them, while boosting CIO industrial unionism and its appeal to suffering Jersey manufacturing workers, including women and African Americans. Moreover, the CIO’s class-conscious culture of “working-class Americanism” clashed with Hague’s ethnicity-based rhetoric of “Patriotic Americanism.” Meanwhile, interwar anticommunism intensified Jersey City’s opposition to CIO organizers, who themselves drew on Popular Front rhetoric of antifascism to oppose “dictatorial” regimes like Hague’s. This polarization complicated Jersey City’s reception of the CIO.

Keywords:   labor, workers, American Federation of Labor, Committee for Industrial Organization, craft unionism, industrial unionism, Americanism, labor law, anticommunism, antifascism

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