Year Published - 2016
Pages - 345
The Jackson Project is a dramatic, hard-hitting account of a brutal labor dispute at a West Tennessee textile mill. A historically accurate page turner, this is one of the few books about unions written by a frontline participant.
In the spring of 1989, union organizer Phil Cohen journeyed to Jackson, Tennesee, to rebuild a troubled local and the problems were daunting: an anti-union company in financial disarray, sharply declining union membership, and myriad workplace grievances. In the tumultuous months ahead, as ownership of the plant twice changed hands, shutting down and then reopening to exclude union leaders and senior employees, he would risk his life and consider desperate measures to salvage the unions cause.
In this riveting memoir, Cohen taken the reader from the union hall and factory gates to the bargaining table and courtroom, and untimately to the picket line. We get to know the millworkers with whom he formed close bonds, including a stormy romance with a young woman at the plant. His up-close account brims with vivid descriptions of the negotiating process, the grinding work at the textile mill, the lives of its employees, and the grim realities of union busting in America.
The last generation of the old south and it's textile subculture are portrayed as they come to terms with a changing economy, racial dynamics, and the introduction of hard drugs to their community. When the organizer's four year old daughter accompanies him to the field, a unique and unexpected dimension is added to the tale.
The Jackson Project offers readers a rare insider's view of the American labor movement in action.