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From the dawn of the 20th century to the early 1960s, public-sector unions generally had no legal right to strike, bargain or arbitrate, and government workers could be fired simply for joining a union. ""Public Workers"" analyses why public-sector labour law evolved as it did, separate from and much more restrictive than private sector labour law, and what effect this law had on public-sector unions, organized labour as a whole and by extension all of American politics. Joseph E. Slater shows how public-sector unions survived, represented their members and set the stage for the most remarkable growth of worker organization in American history.;Slater examines the battles of public-sector unions in the workplace, courts and political arena, from the infamous Boston police strike of 1919, to teachers in Seattle fighting a yellow-dog rule, to the BSEIU in the 1930s representing public-sector janitors, to the fate of the powerful Transit Workers Union after New York City purchased the subways, to the long struggle by AFSCME that produced the nation's first public-sector labour law in Wisconsin in 1959. Slater introduces readers to a determined and often-ignored segment of the union movement and expands our knowledge of working people, the institutions they formed and the organizational obstacles they faced.