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Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and the Tragedy of American Labor
     

Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and the Tragedy of American Labor

by Paul Buhle
 

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In this original, colorful history of "business unionism," Paul Buhle explains how trade union leaders in the United States became remote from the workers they claimed to represent as they allied with the very corporate executives and government officials who persistently opposed labor's interests.

At the center of the tale are three of the most powerful labor

Overview

In this original, colorful history of "business unionism," Paul Buhle explains how trade union leaders in the United States became remote from the workers they claimed to represent as they allied with the very corporate executives and government officials who persistently opposed labor's interests.

At the center of the tale are three of the most powerful labor leaders of the past century: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, and Lane Kirkland, successive presidents of the American Federation of Labor and its descendent, the AFL-CIO. Many other labor leaders, from John L. Lewis to Walter Reuther, receive in-depth treatment.

Taking Care of Business demonstrates how a union hierarchy heavily populated by former radicals thwarted women and people of color from joining unions, suppressed shop floor militance, and colluded with business and government at home and abroad. Buhle shows how these leaders defeated generations of radical union members who sought a more democratic, class-based approach for the movement.

Editorial Reviews

Jane Slaughter
Paul Buhle's aptly named Taking Care of Business comes at the question of bureacracy from the angle of the AFL-CIO's relationship to race and to empire. He argues that early AFL leaders, and some of those to follow, began with the goal of universal emancipation. But sooner or later they settled on a different goal: more money for certain categories of white male workers, enabled by US economic and military power around the world.
—from The Nation, October 25, 1999.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583670040
Publisher:
Monthly Review Press
Publication date:
04/01/1999
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.98(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Buhle teaches American Civilization at Brown University. His many previous books include Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and The Tragedy of American Labor.

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