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social sciences


The three books reviewed in this essay provide meaningful contributions
and extensions to the crucial dialog on what is needed for U. S. trade union movement revival in an era of neoliberal globalization and increasing employment insecurity. What Andrew Battista’s The Revival of Labor Liberalism, Steve Early’s Embedded with Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home, and Steve K. Ashby and C. J. Hawking’s Staley: The Fight for a New American Labor Movement make painstakingly clear is that the renewal of the U. S. labor movement — if there is to be one at this time — cannot simply occur through modest labor law modifications, such as the passing of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), or electing allegedly “pro-labor”
Democratic Party politicians to the White House or to the U. S. Congress.
Although these volumes do not share the same theoretical perspectives, all provide convincing evidence that modest reforms will be unable, in and of themselves, to successfully resuscitate a flagging U. S. trade union movement. Tinkering around the edges of U. S. labor’s strategy and tactics will hardly begin to address the fundamental problems. Clearly, what is needed is a thoroughgoing transformation, with active involvement and engagement of the unions’ rank-and-file membership at levels that have largely been absent for more than the past few decades.


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