An examination of the policy and power relationships that developed on the shopfloor, in the union hall, on the picket line, and within the national organization of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers (ACW) in the period when this industry - now largely departed from the USA - teemed with activity. A progressive union imbued with socialist principles, the ACW practised labour management co-operation and attempted simultaneously to discipline union members and to bring clothing manufacturers to heel. Jo Ann E. Argersinger examines both the interests that tended to unify workers and the forces that divided them. She studies the complex nature of union-building itself, explores the seasonal cycles of the clothing industry as a whole, and places Baltimore and the ACW in national context, illustrating how local trends collided with national union politics. Argersinger draws from the strengths of the traditional approach to labour history. While offering an account of institutional growth of the union movement, she also incorporates insights stressing labour's social context and the shifting influences of ethnicity, gender and culture.
Blending old and new perspectives, her work calls for a more nuanced understanding of organized labour and business practices.