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Union by LawFilipino American Labor Activists, Rights Radicalism, and Racial Capitalism$
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Michael W. McCann and George I. Lovell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226679877

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226680071.001.0001

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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 January 2022

A Cannery Workers’ Union by Law

A Cannery Workers’ Union by Law

The Formative Years

(p.119) 2 A Cannery Workers’ Union by Law
Union by Law

Michael W. McCann

George I. Lovell

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the arduous character of work performed by Filipinos in the Alaska salmon canneries and the exploitive system of labor contracting that conscripted the workers. After recounting the key elements of racially discriminatory depression-era New Deal legislation regarding worker’s rights to collective organization and representation, we describe the complex sequence of efforts of Filipino labor activists to organize a cannery workers union or affiliate with other unions. We underline throughout that unions both conferred political rights status on migrant workers who were denied citizenship status as individuals and provided critical financial, organizational, and ideological resources for the activists’ ongoing campaigns for empowerment and social justice at and beyond work.

Keywords:   salmon canneries, labor contracting, Filipinos, New Deal, racial discrimination, political rights, citizenship, social justice, unions

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