by Joan Cavanagh, former Archivist and Director, GNH Labor History Association
Our Community at Winchester: The City and Its Workers at New Haven’s Gun Factory is now available for purchase online at https://octoberworks.com/our-community-at-winchester. Based on a traveling exhibit produced by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association in 2013 about workers at the plant and the community they created there while struggling for fairness in the workplace, this new book includes updated information and much additional research.
Here is the book description on the October Works website:
From the late 19th century through the early 21st, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was an important employer in New Haven, Connecticut. The legendary guns it produced and their role in American expansionism at home and abroad were celebrated, largely uncritically, in movies, books, and songs. But the stories of those who worked there and of the company’s impact on its host community have received little attention.
The tale includes elements familiar to students of United States economic, social and labor history: workers’ struggles to win collective bargaining rights and to achieve equity in the workplace across all job classifications, ages and ethnicities; relentless management efforts to divide them and prevent, then undermine, union representation; a ruthless company’s repeated threats to leave town in order to force union concessions and win economic incentives and tax abatements from city government; and the gentrified aftermath of the loss of working-class jobs in an American city.
The story of New Haven’s experience unfolds in Our Community at Winchester through interviews with former workers and their families as well as material from union newsletters, archival records, and city publications.
Please visit octoberworks.com/our-community-at-winchester to read reviews of the book and information to purchase the book.