Meyer tells us about several of the key players in this battle--Harold Story, the Allis-Chalmers vice president and chief labor strategist, and Harold Christoffel, the electrical worker who became the powerful first president of the union. Meyer also analyzes the technical and social transition from batch to mass production, the social and cultural world of the ordinary workers at the workplace, and the factional struggles on the shop floor and picket line. He concludes by examining the CIO's entry into Wisconsin politics, the subsequent campaign against union leftists, the rise of Joseph McCarthy, the consolidation of Walter Reuther's position as UAW president, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act.
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The American labor movement began tentatively during the Industrial Revolution and reached maturity during the New Deal with the support of and for FDR. The Congress of Industrial Organizations was founded because many union leaders felt that the AFL was not doing enough for the average worker in large industries. Joseph McCarthy was an obscure senator from Wisconsin until he discovered the power of unfounded accusations against supposed Communist sympathizers.