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On the Line

A Story of Class, Solidarity, and Two Women's Epic Fight to Build a Union

By Daisy Pitkin

Product details

Published By
Algonquin Books
Categories
Number Of Pages
288
Publication Date
March 29, 2022
ISBN
9781643750712

On the Line

A Story of Class, Solidarity, and Two Women's Epic Fight to Build a Union

By Daisy Pitkin

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Description

“Riveting and intimate. It is hard to imagine a more humanizing portrait of the American labor movement. A remarkable debut.” —Francisco Cantú, New York Times bestselling author of The Line Becomes a River
 
On the Line takes us inside a bold five-year campaign to bring a union to the dangerous industrial laundry factories of Phoenix, Arizona. The fight is led by two courageous women: Daisy Pitkin, a young labor organizer, and Alma, a second-shift immigrant worker who risks her livelihood fighting for safer working conditions. On the Line illuminates the harsh realities that workers in these factories face—routine exposure to biohazardous waste, surgical tools left in hospital sheets, and overheating machinery—as well as the ways broken US labor law makes it nearly impossible for them to fight back.  

Forged in the flames of a vicious anti-union crusade and a grueling legal battle, the relationships that grow between Daisy, Alma, and the other factory workers show how a union, at its best, can reach beyond the workplace and form a solidarity so powerful that it can transcend friendship and transform communities. But when political strife divides the union, and her bond with Alma along with it, Daisy is forced to reflect on her own position of privilege and the power imbalances inherent in any top-down organizing movement. 

In the social tradition of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, Stephanie Land’s Maid, or Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, and capturing the deeply personal nature of organizing, On the Line offers an exhilarating and long overdue look at the modern-day labor movement, how difficult it is to bring about social change, and why we can’t afford to stop trying. At this moment, when interest in collective action is rising, On the Line is a vital contribution to our national conversation.

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Review quotes

“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

“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: Dispatches from the Border
 
“A riveting, elegant, and intimate masterpiece. On the Line passed the great book test for me when I set it down for the last time and marveled and grieved in its beauty and sorrow, while understanding that my view of the world had changed.”
—Todd Miller, author of Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security

“A stunning, luminous debut about what drives people to rise up for change. Pitkin tells a captivating personal story, as well as an essential cultural one, unveiling the cruelty and injustice of industrial laundries, the erosion of the right to organize, and the hard-won persistence of women who have fought for nearly a hundred years for safety and justice in the workplace.”
—Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of A Woven World


“Brilliant, evocative. Pitkin’s journey through the trenches of the American class war is at once personal and universal, devastating and hopeful, raw and elegant. I am grateful that she chose to share it with us. I am awed that she wrote it so beautifully.”
David Hill, Vice President, National Writers Union, and author of The Vapors

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Product details

Published By
Algonquin Books
Categories
Number Of Pages
288
Publication Date
March 29, 2022
ISBN
9781643750712

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