This introductory chapter is about how historians have overlooked a wave of private-sector union organizing efforts in the 1970s. These efforts were led by the women and people of color who had gained new access to the nation’s best jobs following the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and who transformed the U.S. working class. This book uses National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election records to show that an average of half a million workers a year went through NLRB elections in the 1970s. The fact that workers increasingly lost those elections due to weak labor law fed the nation’s new economic divide.
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