Reinventing Free Labor: Padrones and Immigrant Workers in the North American West, 1880-1930
One of the most infamous villains in North America during the Progressive Era was the padrone, a mafia-like immigrant boss who allegedly enslaved his compatriots and kept them uncivilized, unmanly, and unfree. In this history of the padrone, first published in 2000, Gunther Peck analyzes the figure's deep cultural resonance by examining the lives of three padrones and the workers they imported to North America. He argues that the padrones were not primitive men but rather thoroughly modern entrepreneurs who used corporations, the labour contract, and the right to quit to create far-flung coercive networks. Drawing on Greek, Spanish, and Italian language sources, Peck analyzes how immigrant workers emancipated themselves using the tools of padrone power to their own advantage.
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agencies American West American West Center Antonio Cordasco Berkshire Bingham Canyon border Bureau of Immigration Canada Canadian Canadian Pacific Railway Caravelis Chinese coffeehouses commissary compatriots contract labor corporate CPR's emigrants employment Ergatis ethnic foremen free labor George George Burns Greece Greek Archives Greek immigrants Greek workers Helen Papanikolas hiring History ibid immigrant workers industrial interview by Helen Italian immigrants Italian labor Italian workers Italy Japanese job fees Kambouris labor agent labor contractors labor market laws Leon Skliris manhood Mexican immigrants Mexican labor Mexican workers Mexico migration Missler mobility Montreal North America North American West organization padrone padrone power padrone system padrone's Paso Paso's Paul Taylor political racial railroad Records recruitment Roman Gonzalez Salt Lake City Salt Lake County Siouris Skliris Skliris's sojourners strike Taylor Papers Texas track workers U.S. Congress union United University of Utah unskilled Utah Copper Company villages wage western working-class York