William Green

Biography of a Labor Leader

By Craig Phelan

Series: SUNY series in American Labor History
Paperback : 9780887068713, 223 pages, December 1988
Hardcover : 9780887068706, 223 pages, January 1989

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Table of contents


I Christian Ideals and Union Politics: The Rise to the AFL Presidency

II Marketing Unionism to Business: The 1920s

III Weathering the Depression: 1929–1935

IV Organizing the Unorganized Under Section 7a:1933–1935

V A Conflict of Styles and Principles: 1932–1935

VI Anti-Insurgent Crusader: 1935–1941

VII War, Politics, and Death: 1941–1952





William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor from 1924 to 1952, was a controversial figure whom historians invariably depict as bumbling, incompetent, vain, and ignorant; the cheerful servant of selfish and reactionary craft uinionists, and the person most directly responsible for the split in organized labor in 1935. This biography provides a social and political context for Green's actions in an attempt to vindicate one of the last heirs of a religiously inspired trade unionism that sought cooperation between labor and capital on the basis of biblical precepts.

Craig Phelan is Professor of History at Regis College, Weston, Massachusetts.


"This book is significant—it addresses the life of a critically important leader of the nation's largest union federation during crucial times in the formation of national labor-management issues. " — Charles Stephenson, Central Connecticut State University