The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) encompassed the
largest sustained surge of worker organization in American history.
Robert Zieger charts the rise of this industrial union movement,
from the founding of the CIO by John L. Lewis in 1935 to its merger
under Walter Reuther with the American Federation of Labor in 1955.
Exploring themes of race and gender, Zieger combines the
institutional history of the CIO with vivid depictions of
working-class life in this critical period. Zieger details the
ideological conflicts that racked the CIO even as its leaders
strove to establish a labor presence at the heart of the U.S.
economic system. Stressing the efforts of industrial unionists such
as Sidney Hillman and Philip Murray to forge potent instruments of
political action, he assesses the CIO's vital role in shaping the
postwar political and international order. Zieger's analysis also
contributes to current debates over labor law reform, the
collective bargaining system, and the role of organized labor in a