A Seminar on the Labor Movement— With an Opinionated Professor
December 18, 2013 / Fran Quigley
Reading Save our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress is like sitting in on a seminar on the modern labor movement—with Steve Early playing the role of opinionated professor.
Research has confirmed that we learn best when we are hearing stories. So the prolific Professor Early wisely builds his Save Our Unions seminar around case studies of labor’s triumphs and tragedies, past and present.
His syllabus is packed with book and film reviews, essays, and interviews, most of them previously published in periodicals, including Labor Notes. One section is based on his decades of experience as an organizer and international representative for the Communication Workers.
No overview of the early 21st century labor movement can avoid sad stories, of course, and Early pointedly chronicles the realities—shrinking union density, growing income inequality, and labor’s missteps on big-picture issues like health care reform.
But more often and more helpfully, Early furnishes historical and current examples that offer blueprints for the revival of the labor movement and the rise of the working class…