Railroad Unions and Labor Banks

Jon R. Huibregtse

in American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, 1919–1935

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034652
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038544 | DOI:
Railroad Unions and Labor Banks

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This chapter examines the labor banking movement. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) attempted to establish labor banks to move labor's battles from the “picket line to the board room.” Other unions followed the lead of the BLE, whose president, Warren Stone, became a symbol of the labor banking movement. Ultimately, the BLE's financial empire crashed and an ill-timed investment in Florida real estate nearly destroyed the union. The union's foray into banking demonstrates not only its activism, but is also labor's boldest attempt to move beyond its traditional boundaries while remaining within a capitalist framework. Railroad labor did not view itself as part of an American working class, but rather as part of the burgeoning middle class.

Keywords: labor banking movement; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers; Warren Stone; railroad labor

Chapter.  5926 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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