In the mid-1930s, as in recent times, the excesses of U.S. capitalism sent the American economy and its workers into a tailspin. Workers in that era responded by organizing massively and negotiating tenaciously, helped mightily by the Catholic social-action movement. This group of priests and laypeople, blending strong spirituality and a passion for worker justice, helped multitudes of workers claim their rights and exercise their responsibilities. Can workers today find inspiration in this movement as they seek to regain organized labor’s representation of one third of the American workforce? The author of “Go to the Worker” believes that they can, and tells here the movement’s story in hopes that you will come to believe that too.
Kimball Baker, a historian and writer, has long been concerned with social justice and its blending with spiritual inspirations. A native of Philadelphia, Kim graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1962 with a B.A. in American history. After U.S. Army service as a historical writer, he wrote documentaries and features for the Voice of America and was a U.S. Department of Labor writer and editor. He received a Master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Maryland and did additional graduate work at The Catholic University of America. His writings have appeared in Readings in American History, 200 Years of American Worklife, Smithsonian, and a variety of other publications. He retired to southern New Jersey, where he lectures and writes on American history topics.