Two retired hosiery workers inspired Sharon McConnell-Sidorick to recover the story of how Kensington workers built a union whose reach extended well beyond the Philadelphia area. By the early decades of the twentieth century, the ever-increasing demand for fashionable silk stockings propelled Kensington factories to the top of the “full fashion hosiery” industry. By 1921 Philadelphia Branch Number 1 was the largest and most affluent local in the American Federation of Full-Fashion Hosiery Workers (AFFFHW). McConnell-Sidorick credits the workers with building and maintaining a proactive “fighting union” in the midst of the Great Depression. The author’s skillful use of workers’ histories throughout the book makes the story come alive.

In part, McConnell-Sidorick attributes the organization’s success to the energy of its young membership. Approximately 70 percent of the membership was under the age of thirty between 1920 and 1930. Members tended...

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