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Labor's Last Stand: Why the US Labor Movement is Dying, and Why it Does Not Have to Die

Labor's Last Stand: Why the US Labor Movement is Dying, and Why it Does Not Have to Die

Hardback

By (author) Jane McAlevey

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  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 144mm x 214mm x 34mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 20 November 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1844678857
  • ISBN 13: 9781844678853

Product description

Only about 7.5 percent of American private-sector workers belong to a union, the lowest percentage since the beginning of the twentieth century, and public employee collective bargaining is under fire in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere. What happened to the US labor movement? Jane McAlevey swept to fame - and notoriety - as the hard-charging "Hurricane Jane" who helped make Las Vegas one of the few labor success stories of recent years. Then she was bounced from the movement, a victim of the high-level internecine warfare that has torn apart organized labor. In an engrossing, suspenseful and funny narrative - that reflects the personality of its charismatic, intense and wise-cracking author - McAlevey tells the story of her amazing organizing victories and lifts the lid on the civil wars inside organized labor. Labor's Last Stand unearths the reasons for the movement's downfall and emphatically argues that labor can be revived.

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Author information

JANE McALEVEY has been an organizer in the labor and environmental justice movements for the last twenty years. She is a PhD candidate at CUNY Graduate Center and lives in New York.

Review quote

"This book is gripping, funny, sad, and very thought-provoking. Jane McAlevey uses her own experiences in a movement that has been undergoing dramatic changes--within a workforce that has undergone even greater changes--to suggest to the reader the necessity and potential for a transformation of the union movement into a real labor movement. Once I started reading it, there was no stopping."--Bill Fletcher Jr., author of ""They're Bankrupting Us!" And Twenty Other Myths about Unions" "This book casts a bright light on the problems of American unions. Jane McAlevey gives us an on-the-ground account of the obstacles the union hierarchy throws in the path of a bold and energetic organizing effort that scored a string of brilliant successes before the hierarchy cracked down. We need to read this book and learn its lessons partly for what it tells us is wrong about unions, but also because it demonstrates that good organizers can in fact succeed. That message is heartening because the simple truth is that we can't rebuild a democratic left in the United States without a revived labor movement."--Frances Fox Piven, author of "Who's Afraid of Frances Fox Piven?" ""Raising Expectations" is a breath-taking trip through the union-organizing scene of America in the 21st century. In the battles McAlevey recounts, hardly anyone comes out standing tall. But her story, along with those of so many brave health care workers, fills me with hope."--Barbara Ehrenreich, author of "Nickel and Dimed" "This book renews my faith that organizing works. It calls for a new kind of unionism and makes a compelling case for a new vision for the American labor movement. In the 'whole worker theory' that McAlevey tested and retested in real life campaigns, all the issues negatively impacting the poor, working and middle class become the cause of unions, not simply wages and narrowly defined workplace conditions. At a time when climate change is wreaking havoc at home and abroad and communities of color are becoming the vital center of progressive social change, this book offers one path to building a movement that can and must tackle many issues. "Raising Expectations" is so refreshing because it aspires to tell us how we can rebuild a movement that can win."--Van Jones "McAlevey's message--that unions alone give working people voice at the bargaining table and the ballot box--burns with conviction. She makes for bracing company in interesting times."--"The Plain Dealer" "McAlevey burns with a passion for the cause"--Keith Richmond, "Tribune" "McAlevey promotes the concept of 'whole worker' organizing, which seeks to go beyond the 'labor-community' paradigm in a manner that recognizes that workers are rooted in, and not separate from, communities and also recognizes the value of bringing community organizing techniques into the realm of labor and vice versa."--"Book News"