chapter  10
10 Pages

Bread and Roses

“Good work” from a union perspective
WithNicole Mayer-Ahuja

From the 1970s onwards, "Bread and Roses" turned into a hymn of women unionists all over the world, the lyrics were set in music by several artists and addresses notions of "good work". Moreover, it indicates that it has never been common practice among unions to restrict the quest for "good work" to a demand for "more money", as some of their critics argue. In order to approach notions of "good work", with regard to bread as well as roses, and to discuss them from a union perspective, it is crucial to consider several conceptual issues, however: Notions of "good work" change over time; they vary across space; and such notions transcend trade union circles. This chapter focuses on notions of "good work", which have proved more or less controversial, in the context of changing political tides and power relations, discussing their implications for trade union positions and politics, in (West) Germany as one of the centres of capitalist development.