The ILWU Dispatcher, May, 2014
Book Review of: Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress
By Steve Early
(Monthly Review Press, 2013)
Veteran labor journalist and rank-and-file union activist, Steve Early, brings over 40 years of experience and insights to his new collection of essays, Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress. Early’s collection of short articles provides us with snapshots of the challenges that face workers in today’s era of growing employer hostility and governmental indifference.
He brings together the stories of past and present labor activists who have been helping workers organize new unions, fighting for more union democracy, fighting to retain union jobs in the face new technology, reaching across borders to build solidarity with workers around the world, and developing more effective strategies for political action.
Many of Early’s essays have previously appeared in Labor Notes, In These Times, and other pro-union publications. All are based on his first-hand reporting which is combined with excellent reviews of important books on labor history and memoirs from labor activists. These stories are told through the voices of rank-and-file activists, union officials, academics, and labor journalists. He combines all these perspectives into a book that highlights the biggest issues confronting American workers during the last 40 years: declining union membership and power, decreased worker militancy, problematic ties to the Democratic Party, the lack of rank-and-file democracy within many unions, and a troubling shortage of solidarity between unions…