Event—Tour

Toni Gilpin, Independent Scholar

The Long Deep Grudge: An Epic Clash Between Big Capital and Radical Labor in the American Heartland

The Long Deep Grudge: An Epic Clash Between Big Capital and Radical Labor in the American Heartland

This discussion will draw from a manuscript in progress, aimed at both an academic and a broader audience, focused on the largely overlooked Farm Equipment Workers, one of the CIO's original unions. The FE's leaders, many of them Communists, possessed a uniquely combative class consciousness that engendered perpetual conflict with their principal nemesis, the historically anti-union corporate behemoth International Harvester. The FE also rejected the tenets of labor statesmanship embraced by the CIO after WWII. Against such opposition, the FE, despite fierce rank and file support, could not survive. But its demise speaks to the decline of the 20th century American labor movement.

Respondents: Rosemary Feurer, Northern Illinois University and Lisa Phillips, Indiana State University