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Confessions of a Union Buster Hardcover – August 24, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With compelling vigor and rich detail, Levitt, writing with freelancer Conrow, tells the tale of his rise to union-busting fame from 1969-1988 and his equally dramatic change of heart. Now a consultant advising unions on how to bust the union busters, Levitt says that he is baring his sins both for personal reasons and so that former colleagues will have nothing further with which to discredit him. He portrays himself and his fellow union busters as cynical and contemptuous of workers who try to organize. Using manipulation and propaganda, the busters wear down the union organizers. Levitt's union busters are repulsively slick, preying on the fears and purses of the companies that hire them. The details of Levitt's descent into alcoholism seem prosaic compared to the descriptions of the many union avoidance campaigns he masterminded, even if it was 12-step remorse and humility that provided the motivation for this confessional. His bold story is timely, given current national efforts to reform labor laws.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Levitt writes this autobiographical account of a "union buster" from the perspective of one who now sees that his career was destructive to management, employees, and businesses in general. Levitt began his career in 1969 at the age of 25 with a position as a labor management consultant. By 1987, when he decided he could no longer continue his career, he had orchestrated over 200 antiunion campaigns. Today Levitt speaks to unions to inform them of the tactics he and other management consultants use against labor. Mixed in with his story of union busting are Levitt's problems with alcohol, money, and his marriage. This book is of interest as a first-person account of someone involved in labor conflict and should be considered for large public and academic libraries with labor history collections.
- Linda McEwan, Elgin Community Coll. , Ill.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishers; 1st edition (August 24, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517583305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517583302
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We have been going through a very nasty union compain at Pikeville Methodist Hospital, Pikeville, Ky. I felt as though I was fighting a ghost or something. Now I know just who we are fighting and what they will do to stop us from getting a fair contract. This book brought tears to my eyes. Everything in this book is happening right now here in Pikeville. Employees are turning against each other, security guards are all around, we are now behind fences, and some are just plain beaten down. At least now, with this book, I know we are not the only people to go through this. I would love for Mr. Levitt to come here and speak. I know he could help. I have been trying to get everyone to read this book.I am ever so glad I did. I only wish I had read it sooner. We have been in negotiations for over a year and now they have gotten a decert vote pending for the RN's. Keep us all in your prayers. This book was the best source of information I have ever found. Again, Thank you Mr. Levitt for getting out of that nasty business. At least there is 1 less to deal with.
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Format: Hardcover
Sun Tzu wrote "know yourself and your enemy, and you need not fear a hundred battles"...Accepting this advice is vital to the success of any organizer's undertaking! In this era of corporate culture, where 80's greed has merely cloaked itself in feel-good advertising while waging war against its employees, the robber barons at the top will do anything to maintain their power.
In that "war", the worker is not only expendable, but is seen an an enemy to be made an example of--crushed and discarded in front of co-workers! It is in every worker's best interest to read this book --even if you are not in a union, or a unionizing effort. Taking charge of your rights as an employee does not mean you are a militant communist--but that is what they would like you to think!
READ THIS BOOK! Know the ploys of those who hold the power--for they definitely make it their business to know OUR fears.
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Format: Hardcover
An incredible revelation of what goes on behind the scenes to destroy worker rights. A great read that cannot be put down once started. Compelling, provocative, and riveting. I have never read a better book!
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Format: Hardcover
levitt tells his story like a barstool confession. admittedly, he is a recovering alcoholic who wrote this apologia as one of his "steps," but that fact is not enough to save his soul. to anyone who has been involved with a union organizing campaign, this book will prove the adage, "if you're not paranoid, you're just not paying enough attention." the dirty tricks of the trade may be childish pranks, weaselly cajoling, or cold-hearted thuggery. they are also (usually) just within the letter of the law, which should disabuse any casual observer of the wild delusion that the law protects workers' rights. i strongly recommend this book to anyone about to start a union organizing campaign. half the battle is knowing what to expect from the enemy. the same tactics are frequently used today. and when the workers see them for the cruel and shallow schemes they are, they can, and often do, backfire on management and their hired guns. but for all its cloak-and-dagger insight, i couldn't help but feel that levitt was letting himself off the hook far too easily. what he and his colleagues did and continue to do to hard-working, decent people who only want a fair shake in their working lives and an end to their exploitation is an abomination. telling us how we might defuse the bomb does not, i think, absolve him for planting it.
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By A Customer on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A well-written and comprehensive account of a labor relations consultant's misdeeds. Catalogues with many accute psychological observations the harm many managers and labor relations consultants cause workers through wrong actions--often, he confesses, willfully. Also, the personal experience of holding a destructive job and the accompanying mechanisms denial are important to understand, both in this book and in all our lives as workers, consultants, or managers. In his career, Levitt's cycle of destructive work was linked with alcoholism and compensatory over-spending, and the authors make it clear that the personal psychological knots of consultants and managers perpetuate their wrong actions and livelihoods. This narration is heartrending and sickening, but is a vital call to examination of the labor crimes in this country and of personal responsibility for suffering.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this to be an enlightening book.Things that I used to dismiss as paranioa now seem validated as Marty reveils his evil deeds.A must reading for anyone who works for a living whether in a union or not.Certianly strips away some of the dignity and respect we foolishly afford to the greedy selfish people who run our nations industries.
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Format: Hardcover
As a union organizer, I was amazed to read the first chapter on Cravat Coal and see the same tactics that were used in my first experience with an NLRB election. This book should be read by every union organizer, activist and sympathizer so that we can learn our enemy's tactics and develop strategies to counter them. Thank you Martin Jay Levitt for writing this book and opening our eyes to the dirty tricks that are used to keep workers subserviant to the companies they work for.
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