Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A Slightly Biased View of One of the Last Surviving US Unions

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A Slightly Biased View of One of the Last Surviving US Unions

Article excerpt

A Slightly Biased View of One of the Last Surviving US Unions Timothy J. Minchin. Labor Under Fire: A History of the AFL-CIO Since 1979. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, May 15, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4696-3298-8. $39.95. 432pp. 6.125X9.25". 25 illustrations.

A history of the largest labor federation in America, the AFL-CIO, which has been steadily fighting for unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, and universal health care, in times when the right has been regressing the country on these issues. New archival evidence is presented by Timothy Minchin, a professor of North American history at La Trobe University in Australia. The book is chronologically organized and meticulously researched. It includes several archival, black and white photographs from the different periods in the organization. The book was supported by Australian Research Council's three-year discovery grant, and with research leave from his university. The "Introduction" opens with the story of how Richard Trumka, the secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) gave an impassioned speech and argued with a white woman that working people should not let Barack Obama's race cloud their judgement at the polls in the 2008 election, helping to swing the vote in Obama's favor because the video went viral. Trumka became AFL-CIO president in 2009.

While this is an interesting detail about the role labor plays in US elections, the premise behind this book is a bit troubling because we are currently watching Washington repeal Obama Care, and the nearfailure of the social security system, so any pro-labor strides Obama made have been redone in months of the Trump presidency. …

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