Labor Day: A Corporate Nightmare

Floyd Kemske, Author
Floyd Kemske, Author Catbird Press $22 (203p) ISBN 978-0-945774-48-8
Reviewed on: 09/11/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Open Ebook - 204 pages - 978-0-945774-80-8
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Kemske's previous three novels took on the follies of business management--and his fourth ""corporate nightmare"" dives into the perennial war between management and labor. The twist this time is that management is a labor union--the Federation of Office Workers in Philadelphia. Since, under federal law, a union can't represent its own staff, FOW's people are not represented, which is how union president Harvey Lathrop wants it to remain. To ensure the status quo, Lathrop hires his old enemy, Stillman Colby, a professional union buster whom Lathrop and FOW forced into retirement in a previous showdown. Colby now lives peacefully in upstate New York with his pro-union wife, Frannie, who objects when he accepts Lathrop's offer. Gregg Harsh is the undercover organizer whom Colby has to stop, a union representative who has taken a job at FOW as a security guard to enlistFOW employees into the International Brotherhood of Labor. Lathrop assigns funky, irreverent Kathleen, FOW's vice-president of Operations, to assist Colby, and here romantic comedy interrupts the satire. Kathleen is somewhat eccentric and sexually uninhibited, first seducing Colby, then rejecting his corporate philosophy and ending up with Harsh, who was forced to lie extravagantly about his identity to keep his cover. In fact, all the characters lie to each other (and to themselves), while at the same time professing their ideals and scruples. Then Frannie shows up, stunning her husband with her knowledge of his affair and the fact that she is IBOL's unofficial adviser. The romantic crisis collides awkwardly with the struggle between union, labor and management, and Colby loses gracefully. Kemske has humorously and humanely welded together farce and postindustrial angst, with charming results. (Sept.)
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