LAWCHA Duke 2019

2019 June: Labor and Working-Class History Association Conference (LAWCHA), Duke University, Durham

Organized the roundtable Women and Workplace Activism in the Postwar U.S.: Persistent Efforts to Move Systems with six other women scholars. Presented my paper “Organizing While Marginalized: Gloria Maldonado and Lucy Sledge in the Textile and Garment Industry, 1960s-1970s.” The roundtable explored organized activism women have used to demand better conditions for paid labor. Women in the U.S. have always worked, but the number of women entering the workforce increased dramatically after World War II. As they confronted challenges of classism, racial bigotry, gender discrimination, and accelerating globalization, working women pursued organized and institutional means for making claims for fair employment. Our papers covered different methods of organizing, such as established labor unions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the founding of new worker groups like the Household Technicians of America. All the papers addressed intersections of gender, race, class, and status of the job to examine the workers’ efforts to change their conditions. We offered new approaches to understanding labor activism and the postwar U.S. economy that question the tendency to focus on “deindustrialization” and the declining membership of masculine unions as the primary experiences of American workers in that time period.