Organized labor seems to be making a comeback, with major union movement happening in unexpected places like Amazon and Starbucks.
“Behind those headlines, a lot of folks don’t know what it looks like to organize a union,” says writer and organizer Daisy Pitkin. “What does the daily work really look and feel like? That’s part of why I wanted to write On the Line, to tell that story. […] The book is a call to focus on praising the hard work of organizing and its role in creating those more cinematic moments in history.”
Today, Daisy joins guest host Nate Carlin for a discussion of On the Line, her new book that tells the story of a group of industrial laundry workers who built a union city-wide and statewide in Phoenix, Arizona in the early 2000s.
They spend the hour talking about this history, the hard work of union organizing in the face of anti-union crusading, the role of storytelling in creating and sustaining unions, women in the labor movement, and more.
Daisy Pitkin has spent more than twenty years as a community and union organizer, working first in support of garment workers around the world, and then for U.S. labor unions organizing industrial laundry workers. She currently lives and writes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she works as an organizer with an offshoot of the union UNITE. Her first book is On the Line: A Story of Class, Solidarity, and Two Women’s Epic Fight to Build a Union (Algonquin Books, 2022).