Grace Palladino

Publication Date

January 2005


Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits follows the history of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department from the emergence of building trades councils in the age of the skyscraper; through treacherous fights over jurisdiction as new building materials and methods of work evolved; and through numerous Department campaigns to improve safety standards, work with contractors to promote unionized construction, and forge a sense of industrial unity among its fifteen (and at times nineteen) autonomous and highly diverse affiliates. Arranged chronologically, Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits is based on archival research in Department, AFL-CIO, and U.S. government records as well as numerous union journals, the local and national press, and interviews with former Department officers.


The abstract, table of contents, and first twenty-five pages are published with permission from the Cornell University Press. For ordering information, please visit the Cornell University Press.