cover of book

Anaconda: Labor, Community, and Culture in Montana's Smelter City
by Laurie Mercier
University of Illinois Press, 2001
Cloth: 978-0-252-02657-7 | Paper: 978-0-252-06988-8
Library of Congress Classification HD8039.M72U667 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 978.687


Laurie Mercier's look at "community unionism" examines the distinctive culture of cooperation and activism fostered by residents in Anaconda, Montana, home to the world's largest copper smelter and the namesake of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. 

Mercier depicts the vibrant life of the smelter city at full steam, incorporating the candid commentary of the locals ("the company furnished three pair of leather gloves . . . and all the arsenic [dust] you could eat"). During five decades of devoted unionism, locals embraced an "alternative Americanism" that championed improved living standards for working people as the best defense against communism. Mercier also explores how gender limits on women's political, economic, and social roles shaped the nature and outcome of labor struggles, and traces how union rivalries, environmental concerns, and the 1980 closing of the Anaconda smelter transformed the town. 

A fascinating portrait of how community molds working class consciousness, Anaconda offers important insights about the changing nature of working class culture and collective action.

See other books on: Community | Copper industry and trade | Copper miners | Mercier, Laurie | Montana
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