ADVANTAGES

Secondly, the growing divisions between liberals and labor over how to react to the civil rights movement's demands for integration of neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces made the union movement vulnerable to a renewed corporate attack. As the disruption generated by activists in the black community (and then the anti-war movement) continued to escalate after 1965, it soon became apparent that the liberal trade unions could not organize a large voting coalition in favor of the government programs they favored. Even in the case of the most progressive industrial union, the UAW, its leaders' hopes for an enlarged welfare state on the basis of a black-white worker's coalition in both the North and the South, with the segregationist Southern Democrats finally displaced, were "little more than ashes" by 1968. The UAW simply did not have the ability "to maintain a cross-class, biracial coalition committed to continued reform." Instead, it lost the support of its major allies and the confidence of many of its white members: "For very different reasons, African-Americans, white workers, liberals, and the New Left all came to see the UAW, as they saw the Johnson Administration, as a prop for the status quo," historian Kevin Boyle concludes in a concise summary of his study of the UAW between 1945 and 1968. Far from any notion that labor had sold out or betrayed its promise, its story was one "of struggles fought -- and lost" (Boyle 1998, pp. 230-231 for the information and quotations in this paragraph).

Testimonials

Satisfied customers are saying