Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress

Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress

Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress

Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress

Synopsis

Save Our Unions: Dispatches From A Movement in Distress brings together recent essays and reporting by labor journalist Steve Early. The author illuminates the challenges facing U.S. workers, whether they're trying to democratize their union, win a strike, defend past contract gains, or bargain with management for the first time. Drawing on forty years of personal experience, Early writes about cross-border union campaigning, labor strategies for organizing and health care reform, and political initiatives that might lessen worker dependence on the Democratic Party. Save Our Unions contains vivid portraits of rank-and-file heroes and heroines, both well-known and unsung. It takes readers to union conventions and funerals, strikes and picket-lines, celebrations of labor's past and struggles to insure that unions still havea future in the 21st century. The book's insight, analysis and advocacy make this an important contribution to the project of labor revitalization and reform.

Excerpt

In the winter of 2013, when this collection was being assembled, the U.S. labor movement had just been coldcocked—in Michigan of all places. How does a big midwestern industrial state go from being a bastion of blue-collar unionism to another notch in the belt of the National Right to Work Committee, right next to Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama?

Well, the road back to open-shop conditions in the birthplace of the United Auto Workers (UAW) was paved by earlier labor setbacks in neighboring states. First Indiana, then Wisconsin and Ohio, stripped public workers of their bargaining rights (although the Republican attack on government employees in the Buckeye State was later repelled by popular referendum in the fall of 2011). Then, Indiana followed up with passage of a right-to-work law, forbidding union security clauses in private industry. in November 2012, despite spending millions, Michigan labor lost two ballot questions related to public sector bargaining rights. So the lameduck gop legislative assault on union security in the private sector that followed soon thereafter in Lansing should not have been a surprise, given trends in the region.

Amid the resulting political furor, even labor’s just reelected “friend” in the White House, Barack Obama, felt compelled to speak out. Obama was visiting Michigan right before gop Governor Rick Snyder signed his state’s “right-to-work” bill into law. “We should do everything we can to . . .

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