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Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right Paperback – March 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The Century Foundation (March 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870785230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870785238
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,168,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A significant conceptual and practical framework for protecting the rights of workers to organize and for advancing equal opportunity, economic fairness, and social justice."
--Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers


"Richard Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit's prescription is just what our nation needs. This book is a must read!!!" 
--Amy B. Dean, principal of ABD Ventures, LLC, and Former President and CEO, South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council


"This book couldn't come at a better time--just as America is beginning to discuss how to address our record high economic inequality. . . . The book should spark a needed conversation about how to best ensure that workers can join a union if they want."
--David Madland, Director, American Worker Project, Center for American Progress


"Kahlenberg and Marvit have done a great service by writing Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right, an important work with the potential to become the basis for a strong coalition on behalf of civil rights, racial equality and economic justice."
 
--Norman Hill (President Emeritus - A. Philip Randolph Institute) & Velma M. Hill

"This is the sort of huge rethinking that is needed if labor and progressive politics more generally are going to have a chance to advance in the decades ahead... This is a book worth reading and argument worth taking seriously."
 
Dean Baker, Co-Director of Center for Economic & Policy Research, The Huffington Post

"Richard Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit make a persuasive case for strengthening workers' rights in a time of rising inequality. They also offer a clear-eyed analysis of the linked destiny of the labor and civil rights movements in America. In these times when civil rights and workers rights are under simultaneous attack, this book is a must read." —Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO



"Organizing all too often under current law is "a right without a remedy." Kahlenberg and Marvit provide a persuasive roadmap for extending the protections of the Civil Rights Act to workers who want to organize a union. Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right provides a significant conceptual and practical framework for protecting the rights of workers to organize and for advancing equal opportunity, economic fairness, and social justice." —Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers



"The growing disconnect between productivity and wages in America is not the result of some set of economic physical laws of nature, as some would have us believe, but instead directly linked to the political attacks by the right to undermine the laws of collective bargaining. While today's labor laws and employment arrangements would benefit from an overhaul, it is unlikely that the political space and will for reform will result without a call to make economic justice the civil rights issue of our day. Richard Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit's prescription is just what our nation needs. This book is a must read!!!" —Amy B. Dean, principal of ABD Ventures, LLC, and Former President and CEO, South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council



"This book couldn't come at a better time —just as America is beginning to discuss how to address our record high economic inequality. The future of the American middle class depends upon rebuilding the labor movement. Kahlenberg and Marvit offer a provocative solution to address the failures with the law that have so weakened unions. The book should spark a needed conversation about how to best ensure that workers can join a union if they want." —David Madland, Director, American Worker Project, Center for American Progress

About the Author

Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and author, most recently, of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2007). He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Moshe Marvit practices both labor and employment discrimination law, and is pursuing a PhD in labor history at Carnegie Mellon University.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By craig williams on September 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is truly a very important work. The idea of labor rights being a civil right comes from Tom Geoghegan a labor lawyer , author and significant creative thinker.
Businesses are basically "blowing off" union organizing efforts,preferring to pay a minor fine than allow their employees to negotiate a piece of productivity gains. We are in a wage drought because of this. The give and take of sharing productivity gains has led to us dramatically increasing inequality. I came away from the book appreciating the almost organic nature of how as productivity gradually rises ,workers need to negotiate and share in that productivity , something which is important for individual workers and also for the economy. Almost like the seasons of the year we need give and take with regard to hourly compensation negotiations.
The authors argue that labor is in a box and unless they can get out of the box and increase union membership it is very unlikely that the country will be able to move a progressive agenda.A must read for progressives and union members.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By william j. stone on October 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Authors present an alternative approach to protecting the right of collective action. After failed efforts to reform the NLRA and related legislation, the civil rights approach may work. Unfortunately, years of strife between workers and management may be a necessary predicate to actualizing the theory. Book's only weakness is the authors' simplistic approach to drafting protective legislation.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By seemlessweb on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
First, the labor laws have been essentially unchanged since 1947. Yet union membership reached its peak density in the early 1950s when the same weak labor laws applied. More analysis is required to explain this fact. The relationship between weak labor law and decreasing union density is problematic. Second, the assumption that organizing would have more success under a different federal statutory regime is hard to accept. The new federal statute would be policed by the same conservative judges who refuse to apply existing labor law (as weak as it is) in an honest way. Further, the win rates of plaintiffs in federal civil rights cases is abysmal. Sure the remedies are better, but if no one ever wins and cases are routinely dismissed on summary judgment what difference does the theoretical remedial structure make? Would we not simply be exchanging one ineffective legal regime for another?
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