The CIO, 1935-1955

By Robert H. Zieger

504 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 32 illus.

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4630-8
    Published: February 1997
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6644-3
    Published: November 2000
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6870-1
    Published: November 2000

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Awards & distinctions

1996 Philip Taft Labor History Award

The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) encompassed the largest sustained surge of worker organization in American history. Robert Zieger charts the rise of this industrial union movement, from the founding of the CIO by John L. Lewis in 1935 to its merger under Walter Reuther with the American Federation of Labor in 1955. Exploring themes of race and gender, Zieger combines the institutional history of the CIO with vivid depictions of working-class life in this critical period. Zieger details the ideological conflicts that racked the CIO even as its leaders strove to establish a labor presence at the heart of the U.S. economic system. Stressing the efforts of industrial unionists such as Sidney Hillman and Philip Murray to forge potent instruments of political action, he assesses the CIO's vital role in shaping the postwar political and international order. Zieger's analysis also contributes to current debates over labor law reform, the collective bargaining system, and the role of organized labor in a changing economy.

About the Author

Robert H. Zieger, professor of history at the University of Florida, is author of Rebuilding the Pulp and Paper Workers' Union and American Workers, American Unions
For more information about Robert H. Zieger, visit the Author Page.


“A finely crafted volume that draws upon a wide array of archival sources and oral histories as well as the burgeoning secondary literature on labor in the 1930s and 1940s.”--West Virginia History

"Zieger's fine book provides us with an essential foundation for understanding the modern labor movement, its institutions, and its rank and file."--Industrial and Labor Relations Review

"A well-paced, definitive narrative."--Chicago Tribune

"[A] comprehensive and illuminating new history."--In These Times

"This thorough, well-documented narrative, based on an array of archival records and oral histories, will benefit and interest a variety of readers."--Choice

"Will be standard reading for anyone interested in this crucial period of American labor history."--American Historical Review