Playing Against the House: The Dramatic World of an Undercover Union Organizer

James D. Walsh. Scribner, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4767-7834-1
In his debut book, Walsh tells a personal story of low-wage workers struggling to stay afloat in service industry jobs where substantial tips are rare, hours are long, and employment is precarious. Walsh reports on his near three-year-long stint as a "salt," a union activist who joins a workforce to covertly organize it, while working as a bartender and buffet server in two South Florida casinos, Calder and Mardi Gras. With a balanced perspective and sharp eye, he reveals the tactics managers use to keep employees from unionizing. The book sketches in the history and politics of Florida's multibillion dollar casino industry, which is reliant on slot machines. It also examines casino culture, showing how Walsh's black coworkers were treated differently from white ones by both employers and customers. In an informative and gripping narrative, Walsh moves from the tactics of covert union organizing to the court case that will determine whether Mardi Gras employees who were fired for unionizing will regain their jobs. Walsh gives an insider's view of the gaming industry, placing the stories and struggles of his coworkers at the heart of this must-read book. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 02/16/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-7837-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-7836-5
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