Commonwealth of Toil
Chapters in the History of Massachusetts Workers and Their Unions
Over the past two centuries, Massachusetts workers have fought for many important advances that would later be enjoyed by other Americans. The right to organize, restrictions on work hours and child labor, and workers' compensation were all pioneered in the Commonwealth. From the 1825 strike of Boston carpenters for a ten-hour day to recent victories in hospitals and universities, Massachusetts workers and their unions have been in the forefront of the battle for dignity and justice.
This book tells their story. In eighteen chapters, beginning with the first industrial workers in the nation--the Lowell "mill girls"--the authors describe the struggles of working men and women to improve their lives. In the process, the book provides a valuable perspective on the development of the American labor movement.
"This is an excellent example of making scholarship accessible to, and meaningful for, a popular audience. The brief, lively chapters are extremely well written, drawing imaginatively on the most up-to-date work in the field."—Ken Fones-Wolf, Institute fror Labor Studies and Research, West Virginia University