Workers against the City
About the BookThe 1939 U.S. Supreme Court decision Hague v. CIO constitutionalized the fundamental right of Americans, including labor organizers, to assemble and speak in public places. Donald W. Rogers eschews the prevailing view of the case as simply a morality play pitting Jersey City, New Jersey, political boss Frank Hague against the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) and allied civil libertarians. Instead, he utilizes untapped archives and evidence to review Hague’s story from street and media battles to district court and Supreme Court deliberations, illuminating trial proceedings from both worker and city perspectives for the first time. His analysis reveals how transformative New Deal-era developments in municipal governance, union organizing, labor politics and constitutional law dominated the conflict, and how assembly and speech rights changed according to judges' reaction to this historical situation.
Clear-eyed and comprehensive, Workers against the City revises the view of a milestone case that continues to affect Americans’ constitutional rights today.
* Publication supported by a grant from the Howard D. and Marjorie I. Brooks Fund for Progressive Thought.