Sandy Polishuk; Foreword by Amy Kesselman
Although married four times, Julia Ruuttila claimed that the love of her li .....[+]
Although married four times, Julia Ruuttila claimed that the love of her life was not a man but a union. From her Industrial Workers of the World origins to the CIO, the International Woodworkers of America, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, she stuck to unions throughout her long and vibrant life. A well known labor activist and journalist in the Pacific Northwest, Ruuttila chose the picket sign and the typewriter as her chief weapons. She possessed a tireless passion for workers and their struggles, whether founding a committee to free the last Wobbly prisoner from the Centralia Tragedy, leading the Ladies' Auxiliary of the IWA during an eight-and-a-half month lockout, or coming before the House Un-American Activities Committee. At the same time, her everyday hardships were not unlike many other working class women of her era: abusive husbands, illegal abortions, poverty, and single motherhood.
In the premier title of Palgrave Macmillan's new oral history series, Ruuttila's remarkable story unfolds in her own words, with author Sandy Polishuk skillfully placing the narrative in its historical context and pointing out where other sources conflict with Ruuttila's account. Sticking to the Union provides a much needed woman's perspective on American labor history of the twentieth century.