A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track

Andy Stern, Author Free Press $24 (212p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9767-7
The misleading title of this maverick, clearly argued account from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Stern elides the bulk of its contents: he bookends his story with the problem-globalization, a widening income gap and its concomitant crises-and its solutions, but sandwiched in between are several chapters of recent labor history from the vantage point of a key leader. Stern details how he led his union of janitors, home health workers, nurses and other laborers in a split from the AFL-CIO in 2005. According to Stern, this restructuring exemplifies the necessity of revitalizing unions for positive change in America. He's optimistic about the future of unionization in the U.S.: not only does he see membership in the organized labor movement increasing, he casts unions as a major force in implementing sweeping societal reforms. His proposals include altering the regressive Social Security tax to put more burden on high earners (i.e. removing the cap on wages taxed and ending the wage-tax-only), offering universal access to decent health care, implementing guaranteed retirement plans, providing equal access to the Internet and improving public education from pre-K on up. Free market fundamentalists will dismiss Stern's ideas and moderates may not be convinced by his idealism, but he provides an important point of view for organizers and labor historians.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4165-4235-3
Paperback - 212 pages - 978-0-7432-9768-4
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