Labor Justice across the Americas

The origin of a modern cornerstone of labor relations

Opinions of specialized labor courts differ, but labor justice undoubtedly represented a decisive moment in worker’s history. When and how did these courts take shape? Why did their originators consider them necessary?

Leon Fink and Juan Manuel Palacio present essays that address these essential questions. Ranging from Canada and the United States to Chile and Argentina, the authors search for common factors in the appearance of labor courts while recognizing the specific character of the creative process in each nation. Their transnational and comparative approach advances a global perspective on the various mechanisms for regulating industrial relations and resolving labor conflicts. The result is the first country-by-country study of its kind, one that addresses a defining shift in law in the first half of the twentieth century.

Contributors: Rossana Barragán Romano, Angela de Castro Gomes, David Díaz-Arias, Leon Fink, Frank Luce, Diego Ortúzar, Germán Palacio, Juan Manuel Palacio, William Suarez-Potts, Fernando Teixeira da Silva, Victor Uribe-Urán, Angela Vergara, and Ronny J. Viales-Hurtado.

“This is a fabulous book. As historians and social scientists return to the distributional dimensions of capitalist development, they should look closely at this anthology. It contains insightful studies of national experiences; it also lays out a template for analyzing a central institution in framing class conflict in the modern age: labor courts and the struggle for justice and recognition. This is a wonderful example of connected and comparative history.”--Jeremy Adelman, author of Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman


Leon Fink is a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His books include The Long Gilded Age: American Capitalism and the Promise of the New World Order. Juan Manuel Palacio is a researcher at the National Research Council of Argentina and author of La paz del trigo: cultura legal y sociedad local en el desarrollo agropecuario pampeano, 1890-1945.

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