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.

Related Subjects: