Poor Workers’ Unions: Rebuilding Labor from Below by Vanessa Tait

By Vanessa Tait

"Finally, the publication we have all been awaiting! With gripping stories of grassroots experiments in social justice unionism from the Sixties to the current, Vanessa Tait cracks large open our suggestion of what a exertions move seems like, and indicates the way it may be half and parcel of events for racial and gender justice. within the technique, she does a gorgeous activity of assisting us think staff' routine which are artistic, democratic, and, specifically, construct energy from below--pointing tips to a colourful destiny for labor."--Dana Frank, UC-Santa Cruz; writer of Buy American: The Untold tale of financial Nationalism

"A serious contribution to broadening our figuring out of who and what's the hard work move within the united states. . . . Tait captures the dynamism of different sorts of operating category association that experience lengthy been overlooked. In formulating a brand new course for geared up exertions within the united states, the heritage Tait addresses needs to turn into a famous a part of our foundation."--Bill Fletcher, Jr., President, TransAfrica discussion board and previous assistant to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney

"While the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions desperately attempt to determine tips on how to rebuild and energize the hard work stream, this unparalleled booklet unearths that negative employees were exhibiting the best way for the previous 40 years. using unique files, Tait examines . . . a variety of routine prepared by means of negative employees to enhance their conditions and construct a extra simply society, together with the progressive Union flow, the nationwide Welfare Rights association, ACORN's United exertions Unions, workfare unions, and self sustaining staff' facilities. She demonstrates that those activities have been based and constructed upon rules of rank-and-file keep watch over, democracy, group involvement, and harmony and aimed to enhance all elements of staff' lives. . . . either hard work activists and hard work historians will study a lot from this book."--Michael Yates, writer of Why Unions Matter

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Poor Workers’ Unions: Rebuilding Labor from Below

"Finally, the ebook we've got all been looking forward to! With gripping stories of grassroots experiments in social justice unionism from the Sixties to the current, Vanessa Tait cracks extensive open our thought of what a hard work circulation feels like, and indicates the way it will be half and parcel of events for racial and gender justice.

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Example text

Jointly formed in the early 1960s by Filipino and Chicano workers’ associations, the UFW was originally an independent union that later joined the AFL-CIO. 17 While these histories are admirable, this book’s focus is a particular constellation of urban workers’ activism that grew out of antipoverty, welfare rights, unemployment, and immigrant and contingent worker organizing, which has become increasingly important within the contemporary labor movement. This genealogy sharply distinguishes independent poor workers’ unions from trade unions.

But nearly all such movements were underresourced yet plagued with immense demands whether with regard to organizing, maintaining their base, advocating, or engaging in coalition building. III As Tait notes, by the mid- to late 1980s a change became noticeable within segments of official organized labor. The SEIU, CWA, AFSCME, the Hotel and Restaurant Employees, and several other unions concluded that the old way of operating was failing. New approaches to organizing, and in some cases representing, workers appeared, sometimes with promising breakthroughs.

To put it differently, the social justice orientation of the poor workers’ unions has not been adopted by most of the reformers within officialdom. Instead, reformers have sought to retain the structure, function, and raison d’être of a movement based largely on a “business unionist” orientation inherited from Samuel Gompers and his cohorts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A realization of the limitations—and failures—of union reform efforts must link with a recognition of the changes that the US working class has been undergoing over recent decades.

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