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They're Bankrupting Us! : And 20 Other Myths about Unions
From Wisconsin to Washington, DC, the claims are made: unions are responsible for budget deficits, and their members are overpaid and enjoy cushy benefits. The only way to save the American economy, pundits claim, is to weaken the labor movement, strip workers of collective bargaining rights, and champion private industry. In""They're Bankrupting Us!"": And 20 Other Myths about Unions,labor leader Bill Fletcher Jr. makes sense of this debate as he unpacks the twenty-one myths most often cited by anti-union propagandists. Drawing on his experiences as a longtime labor activist and organizer, Fletcher traces the historical roots of these myths and provides an honest assessment of the missteps of the labor movement. He reveals many of labor's significant contributions, such as establishing the forty-hour work week and minimum wage, guaranteeing safe workplaces, and fighting for equity within the workforce. This timely, accessible, ""warts and all"" book argues, ultimately, that unions are necessary for democracy and ensure economic and social justice for all people.
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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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August 28, 2012
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