From Blackjacks to Briefcases: A History of Commercialized Strikebreaking and Unionbusting in the United States
From the beginning of the Industrial Age and continuing into the twenty-first century, companies faced with militant workers and organizers have often turned to agencies that specialized in ending strikes and breaking unions. Although their secretive nature has made it difficult to fully explore the history of this industry, From Blackjacks to Briefcases does just that.
By digging through subpoenaed documents of strike-bound companies, their mercenaries, and the testimony of executive officers and rank-and-file strikebreakers, Robert Smith examines the inner workings of the antiunion industry. In a clear and lively style, he brings to life the violent armed guards employed on the picket line or in the coal camps; the ruffians who filled the armies marshaled by the “King of the Strikebreakers,” Pearl Bergoff; the labor spies who wrecked countless unions; and, after the Wagner Act, those who manipulated national labor law to serve their clients.
In From Blackjacks to Briefcases, Smith follows the history of this ongoing struggle and tells a compelling story that parallels the history of the United States over the last century and a half.
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1st Session 2nd Session 52nd Congress 76th Congress Allan Pinkerton American anti-union armed guards army Baldwin-Felts Baldwin-Felts Agency began Bergoﬀ Bergoﬀ Brothers Bloodletting Break Strikes business community business community’s Chicago clients Coal Fields Coeur d’Alene Colorado Committee on Education Company decade Decisions and Orders Education and Labor eﬀective eﬀorts employed employers Farley Farley’s ﬁfty ﬁred ﬁrms ﬁrst ﬁve Follette Hearings George Hoadly Government Printing Office Hatﬁeld hereafter cited hired Homestead hundred Ibid Industrial Espionage James Farley Knights of Labor La Follette committee Labor Relations Board labor spies Levinson Matewan mercenaries miners National Detective Agency National Labor Relations NLRB Notes to Pages oﬀ oﬀered oﬃce oﬃcers oﬃcials operatives Pinkerton Agency Pinkerton guards Pinkerton National Detective Press Pressures Hearings professional Railroad Relations Associates Senate Sheﬀerman Siringo spies Steel streetcar strikebreakers strikers tactics tion U.S. Congress union unionbusting Vance violence Waddell walkout Washington York
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