Synopses & Reviews
Out in the Union
tells the continuous story of queer American workers from the mid-1960s through 2013. Miriam Frank shrewdly chronicles the evolution of labor politics with queer activism and identity formation, showing how unions began affirming the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers in the 1970s and 1980s. She documents coming out on the job and in the union as well as issues of discrimination and harassment, and the creation of alliances between unions and LGBT communities.
Featuring in-depth interviews with LGBT and labor activists, Frank provides an inclusive history of the convergence of labor and LGBT interests. She carefully details how queer caucuses in local unions introduced domestic partner benefits and union-based AIDS education for health care workers — innovations that have been influential across the U.S. workforce. Out in the Union also examines organizing drives at queer workplaces, campaigns for marriage equality, and other gay civil rights issues to show the enduring power of LGBT workers.
"This pioneering book excavates a half century of U.S. labor history to bring to light the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender unionists while also exposing the complex challenges queer workers face in 'coming out' on the job and inside their unions. It also analyzes the historical process through which the labor and LGBT movements, at first wary of each other and under unrelenting attack from the political right, gradually developed a lasting alliance. Rich in detail and insight, Out in the Union makes an important contribution to this all too often neglected aspect of American labor history." Ruth Milkman, Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center and Academic Director of the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Labor Studies and Worker Education, City University of New York
About the Author
Miriam Frank is Master Teacher of Humanities at New York University.
Table of Contents
A Brief Chronology of LGBT Labor History, 19652013
Prologue: Love and Work and Queer Survival
I Coming Out
1 From Construction to Couture: Coming Out in Unionized Workplaces
2 Outsiders as Insiders: Sexual Diversity and Union Leadership
II Coalition Politics
3 From Common Enemies to Common Causes: The Labor Movement and the Gay Movement in Action and Coalition
4 The Heart of the Matter: Union Politics, Queer Issues, and the Life of the Local
III Conflict and Transformation
5 Organizing the Gay Unorganized: Talking Union, Talking Queer
Epilogue: When Connie Married Phyllis