Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland and the Tragedy of American Labor
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Published Date :
Published By Monthly Review Press
ISBN : 9781583670033
Category : North America
Format : Paperback
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In this history of "business unionism", Paul Buhle and Julius Jacobson explain how trade union leaders in the USA became remote from the workers they claimed to represent, as they allied with the very corporate executives and government officials who persistently opposed labour's interests. At the centre of the tale are three of the most powerful labour leaders of the last century: Samuel Gompers, George Meany and Lane Kirkland, successive presidents of the Federation of Labor and its descendent, the AFL-CIO. Many other labour leaders, from John L. Lewis to Walter Reuther receive in-depth treatment. This work demonstrates how a union hierarchy heavily populated by former radicals thwarted women and people of colour from joining unions, suppressed shop floor militance, and colluded with business and government at home and abroad. Buhle and Jacobson show how these leaders defeated generations of radical union members who sought a more democratic, class-based approach for the movement. The book explains why policies and practices at the highest levels of labour came to be counter-productive to workers' interests - a pattern the authors speculate may have been disrupted by the 1995 election of John Sweeney's "New Slate" in the AFL-CIO.

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