Why Unions Matter / Edition 1

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In this second edition of Why Unions Matter, written ten years after the first, Michael D. Yates shows why unions still matter. Yates uses simple language, clear data, and engaging examples to explain why workers need unions, how unions are formed, how they operate, how collective bargaining works, the role of unions in politics, and what unions have done to bring workers together across the divides of race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. This new edition updates the first and examines the record of the New Voice slate in the AFL-CIO, the continuing decline in union membership and density, the Change to Win split in 2005, the growing importance of immigrant workers, the rise of worker centers, the impacts of and labor responses to globalization, and the need for labor to have an independent political voice. This is simply the best introduction to unions on the market.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Yates, an economics professor and labor educator whose earlier books focused on workers legal rights (Power on the Job, South End, 1994), here seeks to cover a much broader canvas: how labor unions work, the victories they have won on the battlefields of sexism and racism, and an argument for unions as the sole means by which working people can obtain dignity, equity, and power. Written in a personal, anecdotal style, yet well documented, this book is particularly successful in the chapters that focus on the nuts and bolts of union activities (collective bargaining, structures, organizing), an area largely ignored by current business and political literature. For this reason alone it is a valuable addition to large public and academic libraries.Donna L. Schulman, Cornell Univ. Libs., Ithaca, NY
Uses statistics and analysis to prove that unionized workers in every part of the economy get more pay and better benefits than employees who do comparable work but do not belong to a union. Argues that unions' power to inspire dignity and solidarity in workers is just as significant as their material gains, and calls for a more independent and politically progressive labor movement. Provides advice on what makes a collective bargaining campaign effective and what approach unions should take in electoral politics. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher

"A comprehensive, readable introduction to the history, structure, functioning, and yes, the problems of United States unions. For labor and political activists just coming on the scene or veterans looking for that missing overview, this is the best place to start."
-—Kim Moody,founder of Labor Notes, author of Workers in a Lean World and U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780853459293
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1998
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael D. Yates is Associate Editor of Monthly
and the author of Why Unions Matter and The
ABCs of the Economic Crisis
(with Fred Magdoff).
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Why Unions? 8
Strength in Numbers 10
The First U.S. Unions 13
Do Unions Work? 15
Unions and Dignity 18
2 How Unions Form 24
A Little History 27
How Unions Form 30
Successful Union Organizing 34
3 Union Structures and Democracy 39
Locals and Internationals 41
Union Structure and the Law 45
An Example of Union Democracy 47
A Local Union Meeting 50
4 Collective Bargaining 53
The IWW's Case against Collective Bargaining 55
Strategies of the Contract Campaign 57
Bargaining in Wartime 64
At the Table 66
The Agreement 71
Politics and Collective Bargaining 79
5 Unions and Politics: Local, National, Global 81
Why U.S. Labor Politics Are Different 84
Labor Politics in the 1930s 86
The AFL-CIO and Politics Today 88
The Missouri Victory Against Right-to-Work 94
Workers of the World Suppressed 95
The American Institute for Free Labor Development 98
The Time is Ripe 100
6 Unions, Racism, and Sexism 104
Unions, Racism, and Justice 108
The United Packinghouse Workers 112
Black and Latino Unionism 113
Unions and Women 116
Women in Struggle 119
Intersection of Race and Gender 122
Gay and Lesbian Workers 125
What Collective Bargaining Has Won 126
Politics of Liberation 128
7 The Tasks Ahead 130
The Difficulties Labor Faces 132
Reasons for Labor's Decline: External Forces 135
Reasons for Labor's Decline: Internal Forces 140
The "New Voice" 143
An International Labor Movement? 147
Still to Come 148
Appendix 153
Notes 157
Index 176
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