AFSCME’s Philadelphia story : municipal workers and urban power in the twentieth century (Book of the Month)
AFSCME’s Philadelphia story : municipal workers and urban power in the twentieth century by Francis Ryan is Catherwood’s Book of the Month.
Beginning in the 1920s and ending in the 2000s, AFSCME’s Philadelphia Story provides a comprehensive account of the development of what is today the largest and most powerful union in the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Author Francis Ryan shows how sanitation workers and other blue-collar municipal employees formed an organization that successfully challenged the power dynamics of one of the nation’s largest cities, to become the model for successful municipal collective bargaining in the United States.
Ryan’s engaging story describes how AFSCME emerged out of Philadelphia’s notorious Republican political machine and how ordinary workers forged what would become the city’s most enduring interracial, working-class organization of the twentieth century. He provides new insight into the working-class origins of African American political power, as well as a thorough overview of the role the municipal state played in the Quaker City’s urban economy.
Ryan’s study offers a compelling, long-term analysis of the growth of a single union in a major American city and—by grounding his narrative in the experiences of municipal workers, from sanitation workers and crossing guards to clerical staff and administrative professionals—recasts how the history of government sector unionism is understood. [from publisher web site]