The labor movement concerns itself the needs of workers for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.
The history current and past of the movement is powerful, necessary, and needs wider exposure. It doesn't tell the story of kings and wars but of women, people of color, work, and hope.
Happy Labor Day! Raise a glass to those that fought and fight for an 8 hour day, two days off, an end to child labor, living wage, safe working conditions, retirement, sick leave, paid vacations, ovetime pay.
To all workers, may your labor be valued and your life be treasured.
Here are wonderful romances that explore labor movement.
My lists are never in any particular order. Enjoy!
1. An Uncertain Dream (Postcards from Pullman Series #3) by Judith Miller
When Pullman Car Works employees walk out in protest of their wages and high rent, Olivia Mott is torn between her loyalty to the company and her love for Fred DeVault. Amidst the turmoil in Pullman, Fred is asked to act as a local delegate to the national convention of the American Railway Union, but when the delegates vote in favor of a nationwide boycott of the famous Pullman sleeping cars, Olivia wonders if Fred will ever be able to return to the company town. What will become of their growing affection for each other? Who will prevail in the company strike?
In 1947 the workers on the Dakar-Niger Railway came out on strike. Throughout this novel, written from the workers' perspective, the community social tensions emerge, and increase as the strike lengthens.
3. The Awakening by Jude Deveraux
Amanda Caulden led a sheltered life on her father's California ranch -- until the day Hank Montgomery stormed into town. A hot-blooded union organizer with a taste for ladies and fine champagne, he sensed the fire that smoldered beneath her prim, virtuous beauty...and he vowed to make her his.
Hank's assault on her orderly life made Amanda furious -- and all the more enticing. Slowly, he drew her into a world of sensuous pleasure: sumptuous meals and moonlit dances, carefree laughter and stolen kisses...gently stirring the sleeping embers of passion. But even as a fierce love rose between them, violent rebellion threatened to destroy the Caulden ranch -- and their lives!
4. Special Interests by Emma Barry
Union organizer Millie Frank's world isn't filled with cocktails and nightclubs…until she's turned into an unwitting minor celebrity. As if being part of a hostage situation wasn't traumatizing enough, now her face is splashed across the news. But Millie's got fresher wounds to nurse—like being shot down by the arrogant bad boy she stupidly hit on.
Parker Beckett will do whatever it takes to close a deal for the senate majority leader, including selling out union labor. Charming and smart on the surface, he's also cynical and uncommitted—an asset on the Hill. But something about Millie has stuck with him and when negotiations bring her to his office, Parker breaks his own rules and asks her out.
Parker can't understand how Millie has retained her idealism in a place like D.C. Millie can't believe what Parker's willing to sacrifice in order to pass a budget. But as they navigate their political differences, what grows between them looks a lot like a relationship…and maybe even a little like love
5. Watch The Hour by J.R. Lindermuth
n the 1870s in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region, mine owners and their employees, particularly the Irish immigrants, are in conflict over working conditions.Private police forces commissioned by the state but paid by the coal companies are sworn to protect property of the mine owners. The miners know their real purpose is to spy upon targeted agitators and intimidate and break up strikers.The Mollie Maguires, a secret society some see as working to improve the lot of the Irish and which others damn as a terrorist organization, are viewed as an increasing threat. Benjamin Franklin Yeager is a coal company police officer. He does his best to follow orders while trying to be fair to the workers whose lot he sees as little different from his own. Despite his efforts at fairness, Yeager’s job makes him the enemy of the Irish.And that’s the crux of his troubles.For Ben is in love with an Irish girl.
6. Brass and Iron by Julian Edney
A sweeping romance set against the labor riots of Chicago in the 1890s. The young Wyand returns from war to Chicago. He is broken with war nightmares. 1898 finds big cities in America the same: the ultra-rich live next to the desperate poor, extravagance flaunted in the face of the overcrowded hungry. Wyand finds no work except in one of the hellish southside factories. The poor neighborhoods are awash in brutal labor riots. Wyand stumbles into a labor mutiny where he saves the life of a beautiful worker, Kate, about to be killed by hired goons. She promptly rejects him as an educated boy, not her working class. He is smitten by her spirit and her beauty, and he pursues. She extracts a price for her affections: Wyand has to help her organize another mutiny against the stranglehold of their exploiters. She leads him into the labor turmoil across gang-infested streets. Strikes were illegal and brutally crushed, and twice their organizing is broken, and suffering and hunger fill the streets. But Wyand is hypnotized by Kate’s spirit. Jailed for striking, he returns to the cause and wins the respect of the workers. Seizing the moment after a bloody street battle, he picks up as a street orator and once again rallies the crowd of desperate and broken. Kate is finally impressed. Together the two work tirelessly to get a foothold in the struggle for justice. They plan a third big uprising against deadly obstacles. They once again confront the widespread fear, the factory owners, the law.
7. The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
Eager to escape life on her family’s farm, Alice Barrow moves to Lowell in 1832 and throws herself into the hard work demanded of “the mill girls.” In spite of the long hours, she discovers a vibrant new life and a true friend—a saucy, strong-willed girl name Lovey Cornell.
But conditions at the factory become increasingly dangerous, and Alice finds the courage to represent the workers and their grievances. Although mill owner, Hiram Fiske, pays no heed, Alice attracts the attention of his eldest son, the handsome and reserved Samuel Fiske. Their mutual attraction is intense, tempting Alice to dream of a different future for herself.
This dream is shattered when Lovey is found strangled to death. A sensational trial follows, bringing all the unrest that’s brewing to the surface. Alice finds herself torn between her commitment to the girls in the mill and her blossoming relationship with Samuel. Based on the actual murder of a mill girl and the subsequent trial in 1833.
8. Hearts Afire by Sara Luck
he toast of New York’s theater world, Sabrina Chadwick dazzled with her raven-haired beauty and brilliant performances. But her rising star came crashing down after a disastrous night of scandal and betrayal that left the young actress with nothing but a broken heart. Now the preacher’s daughter who found glittering success on the stage must begin a new life somewhere she can escape her shattered past as Sabrina Chadwick.
. . . to love’s shining light.
Lincoln Buchannan had no idea that the lovely lady new to Colorado Springs had been a star back East. The wealthy mine owner only knew that Victoria Drumm was stranded without accommodations in a city bustling with gold rush fever! Link offers Tori shelter in his sprawling home and agrees to help track down her brother, a fervent union organizer in nearby Cripple Creek. As desire flares between Tori and her rugged rescuer, so do the demands of striking miners in a violent and historic protest fueled by passionate convictions on both sides.
9. Starlight by Carrie Lofty
Sir William Christie, ruthless tycoon and notorious ladies' man, is dead. Now his four grown children have gathered for the reading of his will. What lies in store for stepsiblings Vivienne, Alexander, and twins Gareth and Gwyneth? Stunning challenges that will test their fortitude across a royal empire . . . and lead them to the marvelously passionate adventures of their lives.
An esteemed astronomer, Alex Christie, the eldest and most steadfast of the Christie siblings, has never possessed his late father's ruthless business drive. But to protect his frail infant son from his cruel father-in-law's bid for custody, the young widower must undertake Sir William Christie's posthumous million-dollar challenge: to make a Glasgow cotton mill profitable. At sea in an industrial world of sabotage and union agitation, Alex meets Polly Gowan, daughter of a famed union leader, who hopes to seize a mysterious saboteur without involving the police.
Because a sympathetic mill master would aid her cause, Polly becomes Alex's guide to urban Scotland. From soccer games to pub brawls, Alex sees another side of life, and feels free for the first time to reveal the man--vital and strong--behind his intellectual exterior. Polly is utterly seduced. Their ambitions, however, remain at odds: Alex vows to earn the mill bonus to save his child, while Polly fights for the needs of her people. Is there strength enough in their sparkling passion to bind them together in their quests-- and in a lasting love that conquers all?
10. Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer
When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.
Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?
I have more! Check out my Goodreads list: Labor Day: Romance Featuring the Labor Movement.
Do you have recs? Gimme! My mind knows there is a Romance that mention Samuel Gompers but dang if I can name it! Help!