Host, Joe Burns:
Labor commentator, and former union staffer, Steve Early draws on years of trade union activism to shed light on labor’s troubled path over the last decade. His recent book, The Civil War’s in US Labor, examines the internal conflicts which have wracked the labor movement over the last decade: the 2005 split of several international unions from the AFL-CIO to form the Change to Win coalition, the subsequent fracturing of Change to Win, and the internal conflict within the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Early has long been an outspoken proponent of union democracy and grassroots control. Indeed, questions of internal union democracy are at the heart of Civil Wars. Early says he “became increasingly concerned that some progressive trade unionists were not only abandoning ‘participatory democracy,’ a still-worthwhile Sixties notion; they were creating union structures that disenfranchise workers to a greater degree than ‘old guard’ unions do.”
Come prepared to discuss many of the major issues facing the labor movement: Why is union democracy critical to the revival of the labor movement? What was really behind the split in the labor movement? How can we revive the labor movement? What are the sources of union power? The answers to these key questions will determine labor’s fate over the coming years.
This is an interesting time for the labor movement. As an active participant in many of labor’s key battles, Early is also uniquely qualified to discuss current labor events, such as the recent Verizon strike, the ongoing battle between SEIU and the National Union of Health Care Workers, and the significance of the uprising earlier this year in Wisconsin. Join us in the discussion with your comments and questions for today’s Book Salon author, Steve Early.
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