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A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track Paperback – May 20, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The misleading title of this maverick, clearly argued account from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Stern elides the bulk of its contents: he bookends his story with the problem-globalization, a widening income gap and its concomitant crises-and its solutions, but sandwiched in between are several chapters of recent labor history from the vantage point of a key leader. Stern details how he led his union of janitors, home health workers, nurses and other laborers in a split from the AFL-CIO in 2005. According to Stern, this restructuring exemplifies the necessity of revitalizing unions for positive change in America. He's optimistic about the future of unionization in the U.S.: not only does he see membership in the organized labor movement increasing, he casts unions as a major force in implementing sweeping societal reforms. His proposals include altering the regressive Social Security tax to put more burden on high earners (i.e. removing the cap on wages taxed and ending the wage-tax-only), offering universal access to decent health care, implementing guaranteed retirement plans, providing equal access to the Internet and improving public education from pre-K on up. Free market fundamentalists will dismiss Stern's ideas and moderates may not be convinced by his idealism, but he provides an important point of view for organizers and labor historians.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Stern, president of the fastest-growing union in the U.S., focuses on those Americans who are a paycheck or two away from crisis. Although he acknowledges the role of globalization, Stern primarily lays the blame for derailed systems to protect Americans in retirement, education, and health care primarily on irresponsible politicians who serve special interests. His model for all Americans' health care is the one provided to the president, 535 members of Congress, and approximately nine million federal employees. He offers his and others' ideas for change, including overhauling our tax system to avoid taxing hard work while taxing wealthy individuals and corporations appropriately, urging significant investment in the Internet, and proposing strategies for education and a new retirement structure. As a major union figure, Stern may be preaching to his own constituents, but he repeats the familiar caution to never underestimate the power of people. He tells us, "You either change and make history or stick to the status quo and become history." Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743297687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743297684
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,474,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James A. Young on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Andy Stern deepens and extends previous efforts to describe and analyze the state of America's -- and, implicitly, the globe's -- socio-economic condition, and he supplies suggestions and proposals meant to remedy the more egregious symptoms of our civilization's decline. Long ago, Stern became the first major American labor leader to point publicly to the need for workers' action at the global level, and he turned heads three years ago with the somewhat heretical suggestion that US labor reconsider its monogamous relationship with the Democratic Party, a frequently unfaithful partner. For those who favor social change, A Country That Works provides a thoughtful overview and myriad leads toward a better future for all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No surprises...Stern's game plan for communist world domination and a new world order. Workers of the world united and all that nonsense. Another union organizer with pink soft hands and a pocket full of cash. Can't believe it took all those trips to the White House to shred the Constitution. Guys like this make me ashamed to be a union man. Destroying America bit by bit.
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Format: Hardcover
This book spells out in a clear and compelling fashion the challenges that American workers face in our global economy, and what can be done to stop the American dream from disintegrating any further.

You may think of unions as a quaint, irrelevant relic of a bygone era, or perhaps you see them as a blight on business. After you read this book, you'll understand how Stern's progressive union, the SEIU, has the potential to be a real force for good, not just for workers, but for employers and the country as a whole.

The best thing about Stern's book is that it doesn't just describe all the problems plaguing American workers, it offers innovative solutions from a union leader who is, on the one hand, willing to reach out to CEO's and conservatives, while also taking on Wal-Mart and other corporations who shortchange their own employees to boost their bottom line. Stern's even traveled to China five times to get a handle on our competition and how best to handle it.

I got to hear Stern speak at a book party for A Country That Works the other night, and he spoke so passionately and persuasively that I decided I really had to get a second copy of his book to give my dad, who's always held an anti-union bias. Unfortunately, Stern did such a great job pitching his ideas that they sold the forty copies of A Country That Works his publisher had provided before I could get my hands on one. Looks like my dad will have to settle for an unsigned copy!
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Format: Hardcover
After a long period of corruption, arrogance and distain for American values and American working people, a new generation of leaders is beginning to emerge...fresh voices with solid ideas and much to say to the Amerian people. The author of this book is one of them and he is inspriring the younger generations. Read this to understand how and why! A must read! Those who favor the status quo won't like it at all..those who are more optimistic will love it.
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Format: Hardcover
Finally, a book that tells the truth about what is really happening to the middle class in this country -- and more importantly, gives common sense solutions that could really turn America around. That's probably because it is written -- not by someone who has spent his life in academia or in politics or talking on TV or radio -- but on the front lines actually fighting to make work pay for working families. He's looked both employers and working people in the eye, and that makes all the difference. This book is interesting, personal, and visionary.
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Format: Hardcover
Informative, visionary, yet personal. This book is the work of a brilliant individual who is passionate about his subject. His views cover not only the story of labor,then, now and in the future, but its interconnection with governments and economies throughout the world.
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