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New Book: Union Strategies for Hard Times

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:04 PM
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New Book: Union Strategies for Hard Times /

Posted on August 8, 2009 by dsalaborblogmoderator

by Bill Barry

hardtimes_newThe idea for writing Union Strategies for Hard Times came over the past two years as my labor studies students faced their worst nightmarethe collapse of the economy, a frenzied attack from employers in both the private and public sectors and, in most cases, a union leadership that was totally unprepared to deal with a completely new situation (I refer to them as deer in the headlights.)

As this situation got worse, there were some books and panels on how to deal with it but they were painfully theoretical, hopelessly analyticalthat is, they told us what we already knew without offering any solutionsor politically narrow: vote for Barack Goldman Sachs and the streets will once again be paved with gold.

At the urging of my friend, David Prosten of Union Communication Services, I pulled together this book which is directed at rank-and-file workers and is mainly practical suggestions on how they, as union members, can not only deal with the situation but can use it as a moment to begin rebuilding unionism in the US. This is a crisis, for sure, but I used the Chinese character for crisis, which combines he characters of danger and opportunity.

I included chapters on basic union functions, like handling grievances and negotiating contracts, because these functions are very different today. I also stressed the importance of creating new communications networks, an issue I have been pushing in all of my classes, using the technology of the 21st centuryblogs like Talking Union, for example!

In each chapter, I stressed The Organizing Model of Unionism that pulls in every member, their families and their communities. I especially emphasized the importance of making laid-off workers feel that they are still part of the union, even though they are nothorrors!paying dues at the moment.

FULL story at link.

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