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Partisans and PartnersThe Politics of the Post-Keynesian Society$
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Josh Pacewicz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226402550

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226402727.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

The Lions of Labor

The Lions of Labor

(p.58) Two The Lions of Labor
Partisans and Partners

Josh Pacewicz

University of Chicago Press

This chapter uses archival records and oral histories to show how union leaders historically maintained their position of public prominence in River City. Much like Prairieville’s business owners, traditional union leaders saw public leadership through the framework of a gift exchange or as synonymous with an ability to give benefits to “their side” of the public: local blue-collar and working-class residents. Keynesian-era policies encouraged this local system. New Deal-era financial regulations maintained a sector of locally-owned firms, which—in combination with relatively balanced labor policy—created an environment that was historically more favorable to union organizing. Urban development and social service policies allowed union leaders to realize their plans by mobilizing their supporters to monopolize control over the local public bodies that gave access of federal dollars, thus encouraging reciprocal ties between labor leaders and working-class residents. Employing a social network analysis of membership in 1970s-era community organizations, the chapter shows that, consequently, the same group of local union leaders was central in local economic life, civic associations catering to working-class tastes, local political bodies, and the Democratic party.

Keywords:   community elites, labor unions, gift exchange, social network analysis

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