A fascinating, definitive history and analysis of American labor union corruption — and an urgent call for social justice — that reads at times like a thriller.
American labor unions have been, it turns out, shot through with corruption from their very inception. They never really had a Golden Age. From "Big Jim" Colosimo, the patron saint of Chicago's Mafia, to Brooklyn's Sammy "The Bull" Gravano a century later, organized crime has controlled huge swaths of the mainline labor movement. It still does.
Impassioned, revelatory, prodigiously researched and reported, and thoroughly convincing, Solidarity for Sale shows how the American labor movement's decent ends are continually undermined by its tawdry means — a diet of daily corruption longer than the menu at a Long Island diner. By telling the untold histories, uncovering the covered-up scandals, and even recommending a way forward, Robert Fitch builds a devastating indictment and goes beyond it to show that union corruption, stagnation, and decline are not our national destiny. Labor could regain its needed place in American life. But it would require a set of reforms deeper than anything now being proposed; nothing less than a revolutionary overthrow of its culture of corruption and its replacement by a civic culture of accountability and consent.
Robert Fitch joined the Laborer's Union, Local 5 in Chicago Heights, Illinois when he was fifteen years old. He eventually traded his shovel for a briefcase and has since taught at Cornell and New York University, organized for the unions, and written for The Baffler, Newsday, Village Voice, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Nation. Still a union member, he lives in New York City.
Pub date: 01/23/06
Price: $28.50/37.95 Canada
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Carton Quantity: 20
American Studies, Current Events, History, Labor
Selling Territory: W
Rights: First Serial, British Commonwealth, Translation, Audio, Electronic & Performance Rights: PublicAffairs