From Publishers Weekly
America's labor unions pour money into the Democratic Party in pursuit of a "socialist," big government political agenda and have abandoned their mission of collective bargaining, contend Fox pundit Chavez (An Unlikely Conservative
) and Gray, a consultant for Stop Union Political Abuse. What makes this worse than corporate bosses funding Republicans, they note, is that labor's pelf comes from the "forced dues" of workers who don't individually consent to union political donations. Chavez, a former union official and Bush labor secretary nominee, and Gray, a former National Right to Work Committee official, make some charges stick. They show that unions do give a lot of money to, and wield a lot of clout with, Democrats, with the usual problems of corruption and favoritism that big money special-interest politics entails. But by the authors' own accounting, unions spend less than 5% of their money on politics—a percentage that, they concede, workers can get refunded from their dues, albeit with some difficulty. And when Chavez and Gray show unions sticking to winning better pay, better benefits and lighter workloads for their members, they damn them for bankrupting companies and driving jobs abroad. At that point, the book's critique of unions' excesses shades into a one-sided attack on their very existence.
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Chavez, conservative political analyst and former union professional, and coauthor Gray describe what they consider the betrayal of American workers by union leaders. Rather than representing the needs of their members, union leaders are focused on politics and self-serving government policy. This is a strongly worded tome with such chapter titles as "Putting the Public at Risk," "An Affair to Remember: Bill Clinton and the Unions," "Teachers' Unions: Deep-Pocketed Protectors of Mediocrity," and "Money, Mansions, and Mobsters: Union Corruption." The authors' reform proposals include stopping labor from spending members' dues on politics without their permission, giving workers flexibility and options outside of unions, and opening up union books. They tell us, "Union bosses have been successful to date largely because most Americans are oblivious to the corruption, influence-peddling, and power-brokering that goes on in labor unions today." While academics and think tanks will be the audience to ponder the authors' claims the most, it is certain that their views will resonate with a defined segment of the voting public this election year. Mary WhaleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved