WEEKEND EDITION DECEMBER 13-15, 2013
A Review of Steve Early’s “Save Our Unions”
Does Organized Labor Have a Future?
by CARL FINAMORE
There is still time during the holidays to purchase labor journalist Steve Early’s very readable and quite reflective latest book, Save Our Unions, published by Monthly Review Press.
But books on labor are notoriously misunderstood and conspicuously undersold. This is really too bad.
Like other books describing how people live and what they struggle for, Save Our Union records a very human story – a running narrative from an author who was directly reporting, and often directly participating, in the unfolding human drama as it occurred.
In 335 pages, Early analyzes the leadership, organization and strategy of the most significant labor struggles, debates and controversies of the past 40 years, right up to now.
It was during this period that Early informs us “overall employee compensation—including health and retirement benefits—dropped ‘to its lowest share of national income in more than 50 years while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share over that time.’”
Thus, as the low-wage and benefits period we are now suffering through today would indicate, most of the strikes, struggles and union reform movements in those decades were not successful – but not because of lack of passion or determination by the workers at the bottom, as Early describes it, but by a combination of serious mistakes made by otherwise honest militants and/or by the failed conservative leadership at the top…