“They’re Bankrupting Us!”: And 20 Other Myths About Unions

Bill Fletcher, Author
Bill Fletcher Jr. Beacon, $15 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0332-9
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 08/28/2012
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In his latest, labor leader Fletcher (Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path Toward Social Justice) tackles the subject of labor unions and the slanderous assault they’ve endured in the media. Divided into 21 sections, each focused on a different myth, readers learn about the history of labor reform in America—from its humble beginnings at the end of the world wars, through the civil rights and women’s movements, until today. The argument that the ”employer class” holds incredible influence in the workplace feels timely, and the ways in which unions can help level the playing field is clearly rendered. The book is at its best when offering nuanced evaluations of America unions, acknowledging past shortcomings with regard to membership diversity or organizational failures. However, the book doesn’t address the necessity of unions in a time when jobs are being outsourced to countries where employees make fewer demands. While global unionization and outsourcing are touched upon, the dwindling job market feels like an oversight that hangs over much of the book. Though the benefits that labor unions have with regard to negotiations and creating a positive work environment are numerous, they are irrelevant if the jobs are not there to begin with. (Aug.)
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