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From Mission to Microchip A History of the California Labor Movement by Fred Glass

From Mission to Microchip A History of the California Labor Movement


From Mission to Microchip A History of the California Labor Movement by Fred Glass

There is no better time than now to consider the labor history of the Golden State. While other states face declining union enrollment rates and the roll-back of workers' rights, California unions are embracing working immigrants, and voters are protecting core worker rights. What's the difference? California has held an exceptional place in the imagination of Americans and immigrants since the Gold Rush, which saw the first of many waves of working people moving to the state to find work. From Mission to Microchip unearths the hidden stories of these people throughout California's history. The difficult task of the state's labor movement has been to overcome perceived barriers such as race, national origin, and language to unite newcomers and natives in their shared interest. As chronicled in this comprehensive history, workers have creatively used collective bargaining, politics, strikes, and varied organizing strategies to find common ground among California's diverse communities and achieve a measure of economic fairness and social justice. This is an indispensable book for students and scholars of labor history and history of the West, as well as labor activists and organizers.


[Glass] takes on California's industrial history, the whole beastly golden expanse of it, and tries to figure out what connects the struggles of workers across time and space... [he] has managed to catalogue the most meaningful moments for working people in the biggest state in the union. East Bay Express Use this book. Read it and teach the young. Our future will be better if you do. -- Bill Morgan California Federation of Teachers Anyone involved in social justice work sooner or later finds her interests intersect with the labor movement ... There's no better roadmap to this complex animal than Fred's book ... it's inspiring for the work ahead of us now. -- Lincoln Cushing California Studies Association In this comprehensive look at California workers-their job experiences and living conditions, antagonisms among them and with the powers that be, their leaders and the rank and file, politicians who claimed to speak for them and some who actually did, their unions and allies, and much more-Fred Glass does for [labor] history what Taylor Branch did in his trilogy of the civil rights movement, The King Years. From Mission to Microchip is filled with stories, analysis, history and data. It is a good and important story, well told. Boom California

About the Author

Fred B. Glass is Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers and Instructor of Labor and Community Studies at City College of San Francisco. He is the producer of Golden Lands, Working Hands, a ten-part documentary video series on California labor history.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th August 2016


Fred Glass

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University of California Press


544 pages


Social & cultural history
History of the Americas



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