BOOK REVIEW/Seth Sandronsky
Labor Struggles In and Out Of Unions
Steve Early’s insightful writing on employment struggles in a time of political retreat for most American workers captivates. In Save Our Unions: Dispatches from A Movement in Distress (Monthly Review Press, 2013), he shares riveting descriptions of workplace struggles.
Early’s approach to labor journalism is simple. He questions the deeds and words of the power class, in and out of unions.
His focus on internal union democracy is a recurring theme in the book’s seven sections. From health care to media, he goes where mainstream press coverage fears to tread.
In this way, Early educates readers on the whys and wherefores of the decline of organized labor as a political force. His narrative opens with reporting on union reform campaigns from 1972 to the 1990s.
Why did members of the United Mine Workers and International Brotherhood of Teamsters clash with company bosses and union leadership?
What worked and what failed? What lessons can we learn from then for now?
These are no academic questions. Early is no armchair writer, though he documents his work for readers seeking to get down in the weeds with more details.
Early’s is a pro-labor union view. Bias-free journalists are a fiction.
Reporters choose slants and sources. These two approaches do not appear magically.
Early’s vision of getting the labor story right is to demand accountability and transparency from its appointed and elected leaders…