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Silk Stockings and SocialismPhiladelphia's Radical Hosiery Workers from the Jazz Age to the New Deal$
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Sharon McConnell-Sidorick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469632957

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469632957.001.0001

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Storming the Bastille

Storming the Bastille

The Triumph of Social Justice Unionism

(p.176) Chapter Six Storming the Bastille
Silk Stockings and Socialism

Sharon McConnell-Sidorick

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter demonstrates how the hosiery union's important but heretofore forgotten efforts played a key role in the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and important labor legislation, major New Deal programs like public housing, and labor feminism. These achievements are bracketed by two major strike waves--under the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) in 1933 when they negotiated the Reading Formula, and under the Wagner Act in 1937 when the Apex strike led to the Supreme Court decision in support of labor, Apex v. Leader. Using the hosiery union as a microcosm of national trends, it also suggests reasons some top CIO officials gravitated toward a top-down structure, increasingly in the orbit of the Democratic Party, while another group struggled to maintain a democratic, bottom-up organizational structure--and what this meant for women and social justice unionism.

Keywords:   NIRA, New Deal, Reading Formula, Public Housing, Labor Feminism, Apex v. Leader, Top-down structure, Social Justice Unionism

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