Dishwasher is first of all a hilarious book about Jordan’s attempt to wash dishes in all fifty states of the USA, but it also contains stories about his predecessors.
“Decades before I ever picked up a scrub brush, pearl divers were in the streets battling for their rights and - intentionally or unintentionally - for the rights of the dishers of future generations. Absolutely remarkable! Their legacy needed to be honoured”, Jordan wrote.
In New York, Jordan taped a piece of paper to a hotel, saying: “On this spot in 1934, dishwasher Ramon Bolasquez smashed the windows of the Waldorf-Astoria during a strike by culinary union workers”.
When washing dishes at the University of Wisconsin campus, Jordan found out that his predecessors had fought for his right to leftovers - among other things. He taped a piece of paper to the union offices saying: “On this spot in March 1972, fifteen dishwashers fought for workers’ rights by staging a successful wildcat strike. And I, for one, thank them”.
Jordan talks about dishwashers and trade unionism in this interview