Workers in America

A Historical Encyclopedia

by Robert E. Weir


The early generations of America's working class influenced our nation's economy, policy, and culture; their work paradigms have shaped our present day perceptions of the workplace. Likewise, their legacy reflects many of the same issues we continue to encounter: the changing profile of work in America, the social problems associated with the transformation, and the enduring myth of achieving the American Dream.

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Cover image for Workers in America

January 2013


Pages 920
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics American History/Business and Labor

This encyclopedia traces the evolution of American workers and labor organizations from pre-Revolutionary America through the present day.

In 2001, Robert E. Weir's two-volume Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor was chosen as a New York Public Library Best in Reference selection. Weir recently revised this groundbreaking resource, resulting in content that is more accessible, comprehensive, and timely. The newest edition, Workers in America: A Historical Encyclopedia, features updated entries, recent court cases, a chronology of key events, an enriched index, and an extensive bibliography for additional research.

This expansive encyclopedia examines the complete panorama of America's work history, including the historical account of work and workers, the social inequities between the rich and poor, violence in the Labor Movement, and issues of globalization and industrial economics. Organized in two volumes and arranged in A–Z order, the 350 entries span key events, collective actions, pivotal figures, landmark legislation, and important concepts in the world of labor and work.


  • Suggested reading for each entry, including both print and online resources
  • A chronology of important labor highlights
  • 350 entries covering key topics


  • Augments national standards for United States History and Advanced Placement American history
  • Uses accessible, non-scientific language and terminology
  • Features extensive cross-referencing in index for further research
  • Provides an introductory essay that overviews work and worker's history
Author Info

Robert E. Weir, PhD, is visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is coeditor of Greenwood's Class in America: An Encyclopedia, and his published works include The Knights Down Under: The Knights of Labour in New Zealand and Beyond Labor's Veil: The Culture of the Knights of Labor.



"Robert Weir has produced a workman-like book that makes a good resource for U.S. labor history. . . . [I]t will be useful . . . for students at school and undergraduate level and for public libraries and journalists."Reference Reviews

"Each entry essay is, on average, two to four pages in length; a few are shorter. Although the essays are relatively short, they are well-written and concise, and are packed with information. Each entry is followed by a short list of 'Suggested Reading' selected for availability and readability by the target audience of nonspecialists."ARBA

"This revised and expanded edition of Workers in America (2004) aims to provide students, teachers, and anyone looking for general information about American labor history, and particularly the organized labor movement, a jumping-off point for their research. . . . Recommended for high school, public, and undergraduate collections."Booklist

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