of "The Battle For Standard Coil: The United Electrical Workers, the Community Services Organization and the Catholic Church in Latino East Los Angeles" in American Labor and the Cold War, 2004
"Fifty years after the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) purged communist-led unions from its membership, The Southwest Labor Studies Association met in San Francisco from April 29 to May 1, 1999, to reconsider the history and implications of this event and, more broadly, to attempt to untangle the connections between and among McCarthyism, anticommunist liberalism, and the political trajectory of organized labor during the postwar era. ... Papers focused on the dynamics of political repression, the effectiveness of liberal anticommunist politics for organized labor, and the role of the state in shaping the labor movement."
– Jason Scott Smith, International Labor and Working Class History
"The essays offer a corrective to what the editors believe has been an overemphasis in previous Cold War scholarship on events at the national and federation levels, on the role of the Communist Party, on the struggles in the auto industry over Communists' activities in some United Auto Worker locals, and on congressional investigations of a Communist presence in the film industry ... Burt presents the story of "The Battle for Standard Coil" involving UE and community organizations in East Los Angeles ..."
– John Barnard, The Journal of American History
"If there is a common position here, it is as Kenneth Burt writes on an east Los Angeles conflict among Mexican American electrical workers, 'it was ultimately grassroots issues and not the national red scare' that settled the issue in the labor movement."
– Victor Silverman, The Historian
"The communists did not have a monopoly on using anti-discrimination efforts and minority leadership to bolster their strength. In a detailed reconstruction of a 1952 battle among four unions to represent the heavily Latina workforce at an East Los Angeles electrical parts manufacturer, Kenneth C. Burt argues that a key to the victory by IUE over UE was in its recruiting as its lead organizer Tony Rios, a well-known Mexican American worker and community activist who had just led an electrifying campaign against police brutality. While the UE effectively stressed workplace issues, its chief organizer, from out of state, lacked a local following and Rios's deep ties to the Catholic Church, which actively supported the IUE."
– Joshua B. Freeman, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the America
"all [essays] demonstrate superior scholarship"
– David Nack, Labor Studies Journal
"Chapters that will be of particular interest to ILWU members and supporters ... [include] Ken Burt's important analysis of the extraordinarily complex relationship between religion, political ideology, ethnicity and national origin in the playing out of anti-communism among Latino electrical workers in Los Angeles in 'The Battle for Standard Coil.'"
– Gene Vrana, The Dispatcher, International Longshore and Warehouse Union
"Kenneth Burt analyzes union politics on the West Coast within what he terms 'the liberal left.' With a keen eye for the cultural or subjective dimension of organized labor, his essay sheds light on the role of local forces that determined a 1952 union election of electrical workers at a Standard Coil plant in East Los Angeles. ... Ultimately, 'the convergence of political alliance and personal experiences' centrally those of religious leaders, helps us to grasp what determined the outcome of this union struggle settled prior to the arrival of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy on the national political stage."
– Seth Sandronsky, Socialism and Democracy
For more on the birth of Latino politics and the development of multicultural coalitions, see Burt's The Search for a Civic Voice: California Latino Politics, with a foreword by Antonio Villaraigosa (2007).