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The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor
Birth of a New Workers' Movement or Death Throes of the Old?
Longtime trade union leader and journalist Steve Early examines labor's civil wars, offering strategies for turning back labor's thirty year decline.
Reviews
  • “Steve Early has long been a voice of distinctive clarity, honesty and intellectual seriousness in and about the labor movement.”  —Adolph Reed, Jr., professor of political science, University of Pennsylvania“Steve Early’s book describes the kind of anti-union campaigning by management that makes passage of the Employee Free Choice Act so necessary. Early’s account of how and why labor law reform has been stalled for the third time in the last 32 years should be required reading for all workers’ rights advocates. As the author notes, collective bargaining faces private sector extinction. To protect the right to organize, we still need changes in the Wagner Act itself—not just better appointments to the NLRB.”—U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)“Civil Wars in U.S. Labor critiques a union culture that privileges control over the practice of democracy. With an honest eye, the author adds an essential chapter to the long history of rank-and-file efforts to keep unionism vibrant and engaged... compelling reading.” —Vanessa Tait, author, Poor Workers’ Unions"Civil Wars is as lively as it is detailed... [providing] insights into just what the labor movement can become when democracy takes hold and members get active. It will infuriate some, but inspire many more to build and transform their unions."—Kim Moody, author, U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition“Although some union leaders may take issue with Steve Early’s blunt and forthright criticism of organized labor, no one can deny the clear and convincing case he makes for labor unity. As Early’s reporting on the fate of Employee Free Choice demonstrates, a union movement that can’t stay united behind basic principles and rights for its members eventually may find itself bereft of any principles, rights … or members.”—Linda K. Foley, former president, The Newspaper Guild/CWA, and former member of AFL-CIO Executive Council“Early's journalism is powerful because he has been in the trenches himself fighting to organize workers and make unions more democratic. This book is a must read, particularly for young organizers trying to make sense of contemporary American trade unionism."—Peter Olney, Director of Organizing, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)"Steve Early is not just another scholar situated outside the labor movement. For more than thirty-five years, he helped do the hard work of organizing and collective bargaining. His latest book confirms that there is no one with a better understanding of contemporary union problems. When he warns about the dangers of undemocratic practices, sweetheart deals with employers, and over reliance on the Democratic Party, we had better listen." —Michael Yates, author, Why Unions Matter“Steve Early’s account of recent troubles within and between progressive unions is an engaging and original work. Early is the most tenacious, free-thinking journalist covering labor today, respected by friend and foe alike. Civil Wars is essential to understanding how union centralization and top-down control have failed as a strategy for revitalizing the labor movement.”—Immanuel Ness, professor, Brooklyn College, CUNY, editor, WorkingUSA and author, Immigrants, Unions and The New U.S. Labor Movement.“This is Steve Early at his finest, committed, principled and practical. In Civil Wars, the true SEIU is revealed- no holds barred - its incarnation of corporate unionism is laid bare for all to see. Then, the author follows the remarkable rise of the National Union of Healthcare Workers. His book is a passionate appea