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On the Line | Behind the scenes of building a labor union with Daisy Pitkin – New Labor Book Series #3
May 26, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm PDT
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Join us for our third book talk with writer and long-time organizer Daisy Pitkin, who has chronicled her experiences of building a union with industrial laundry and garment workers in her book, On the Line: A Story of Class, Solidarity, and Two Women’s Epic Fight to Build a Union.
We will talk to her about the five-year campaign she worked on to bring a union to the dangerous industrial laundry factories of Phoenix, Arizona. While conditions are harsh and often dangerous, broken U.S. labor law makes it nearly impossible for workers to fight back. The drive to unionize was led by Daisy and Alma Gomez García, a second-shift immigrant worker, who risks her livelihood to join the struggle and convinces her fellow workers to take a stand. On the Line is written as a series of letters from Daisy to Alma, highlighting their relationship, while reflecting on the class and social dynamics also at play in organizing efforts. Lastly, we will discuss the forgotten roles immigrant women have played in the U.S. labor movement and what the way forward might be.
The first 50 event attendees will receive a free digital copy of On the Line.
This Interintellect event is organized by Roy Bahat of Bloomberg Beta, as part of our new monthly series of talks with authors of books on labor, co-led by Siena Chiang.
About Daisy Pitkin
Daisy Pitkin has spent more than twenty years as a community and union organizer, working first in support of garment workers around the world, and then for U.S. labor unions organizing industrial laundry workers. Her essays have been awarded the Montana Prize, the DISQUIET Literary Prize, the New Millennium Award, and the Monique Wittig Writer’s Scholarship. She grew up in rural Ohio and received an MFA from the University of Arizona. Pitkin lives and writes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she works as an organizer with an offshoot of the union UNITE. Find her at daisypitkin.net.
Praise for the Book
“It is hard to imagine a more humanizing portrait of the American labor movement. Rendered with lyric, incandescent prose, On the Line is both deeply personal and profoundly political, with an acute sense for the ebb and flow of history. With this remarkable debut, Pitkin has given us a riveting and intimate meditation on power, class consciousness, and the true meaning of solidarity.”
– Francisco Cantú, New York Times bestselling author of The Line Becomes a River
“I started reading and couldn’t stop. In an age of unchecked corporate power, On the Line is a timely and lyrical story of resistance, a behind-the-scenes portrait of labor organizing with all its hope and heartache. Candid, clear-eyed and utterly engrossing, Pitkin’s writing couldn’t come at a better—or more necessary—time.”
—Jessica Bruder, New York Times bestselling author of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century
“Compelling. In this stirring debut, Daisy Pitkin deftly renders the intimate work of union organizing, demystifying the process as she takes care to ensure the focus remains on the workers themselves. Ultimately, On the Line is a ringing endorsement for the power of a union, and an essential read for anyone who’s ever been inspired to fight for a better world.”
—Kim Kelly, labor journalist and author of Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor
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