American labor history has long had a problem. Despite the widespread attention that generations of historians have given to the rise of class consciousness, solidarity, unionization, and the development of the labor movement, organized labor has never represented a majority of working-class Americans. At its peak, the AFL-CIO only represented 35 percent of all non-agricultural workers. Throughout most of US history, the workers who rejected unionization or remained un-unionized greatly outnumbered those who embraced collective action. Nevertheless, most of academic labor history has focused on the minority of American workers. This is not to suggest that this attention has been misplaced. The actions of the relatively small number of unionized workers have created the changes and reforms that altered the lives and working conditions for union and nonunion workers alike. But the tendency to treat unionization and working-class consciousness as the norm or natural state of the American worker has...

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