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Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement Hardcover – December 19, 2014
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"From his first, magnificent book straight through to this one, Tom Geoghegan has written about the labor movement in America with truly unmatched eloquence, self-reflection, and even wit (not easy, that last one). All that andhe is right. I hope the right people listen."
"Tom Geoghegan has now spent four decades in one of America’s most unusual dual careers. On the one hand, he is a labor lawyer (on the side of the good guys), fighting to protect workers’ rights in a severely antiunion era. On the other hand, he is a skilled essayist and memoirist, who has chronicled the lives of baby-boomers with elegance and wistful humor. In Only One Thing Can Save Us, he argues for a new kind of labor movement.’ But argues’ is really the wrong word, as he makes his case in his usual manner and distinctive voice."
"Which Side Are You On? is one of the finest nonfiction books by a contemporary author I’ve ever read. It’s incredibly informative, frequently moving, loaded with fresh insights, and often laugh-out-loud funny. A delightful book about the labor movement: it sounds like an oxymoron, but in Geoghegan’s case it’s an accomplishment."
Hendrik Hertzberg, NewYorker.com
"Most diverting [Geoghegan] has the great virtue of being witty and ironicand to the point A necessary primer."
Jurek Martin, Financial Times
"Clever and immensely appealing."
Katha Pollitt, The Nation
"Quirky, brilliant Inspiring unparalleled in the literature of American labor."
The New York Times
"A brilliant book."
The Washington Post
"So skillfully written, so wittyand so scathingthat it seems bound to grip even those who find the labor movement boring."
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr G gets the preliminary duty out of the way in Ch. One, in effect saying: "Things are bad and getting worse, but if you are reading this book, you already know that, so lets examine what we can do to halt the decline and fall." For the remaining 11 chapters he offers solutions, many derived, contrary to the "no foreign country can teach America anything" myth, from Germany's solutions.
Mr G the thinker is truly impressive. He offers specific solutions, some drawn from short NLRB phrases, cultural trends and fears explaining how each might improve the lot of labor - or not - his view is laden with cautious pessimism rooted in decades of experience. To explain his approach I want to turn to the 70's TV series "CONNECTIONS" in which James Burke followed one pattern: "So, you think this tiny device is insignificant? Watch as I trace the lines from it to thousands of things, good and evil, that sprang from it...Read more ›
We need to “start a parallel labor movement, one that exists inside the companies. I am referring to European-style works councils and co-determined boards. I don’t mean to say that is labor movement inside the company can replace the labor movement outside the company: it can’t. But, the labor movement inside the company can prop up the labor movement outside the company.
How? Well, except for wages, it can handle just about every workplace issue – firing, start times, etc. – since that is what works council do. If nothing else, corporate democracy saves labor’s cash; which can go toward lobbying rather than paying lawyers like me to defend workers in contract arbitrations. Let the works councils decide.
And here’s another big plus about corporate democracy: it’s free. No union has to pay for it…”
But first, “we have to lay out an argument that the case for labor is not just a sentimental bread-and-roses thing or even simple justice. It is also instrument of public policy. It is a way of managing the economy. It is a way of preserving a standard of living.”
It’s high time we stopped demoralizing those without a college education. “Put another way, there has to be something for them – a meaningful life, happiness and a pay raise …
If a revived labor movement pushes up the wages for high school graduates, then it should increase the return for a college degree as well. I understand the argument that there is no such thing as unified labor market. But there is still spillover …”
At the present, “we have it backward: getting more college is not the way to increase income equality, rather income equality is the way to get more college.”
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As the influence of the labor movement declines, proponents of labor are naturally interested in how to reverse this course. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Charles O. R. Trainer
Everyone who is worried about economic inequality, the disappearance of the middle class, and the future of democracy in a country with a political system dominated by the wealthy... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kenneth L. Matheny
The author has written a number of books in the same general style, conversational, sometimes stream of consciousness. Read morePublished 6 months ago by doug k
Innovative solutions from a man who has been slugging it out for labor during his entire career. Especially good for Chicago unionists.Published 8 months ago by Michael Dusik
I loved this book. I look for books that enhance my understanding of our current social/political/economic conditions and that give me hope and a strategy for change. Read morePublished 11 months ago by linda f..
Georgetown shows how revived and transformed labor movement is vital for America's future economy, democracy, and for a decent society. Solidarity forever!Published 12 months ago by Gerald Friedman
Labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan has written a feisty and cogent book titled, Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Stephen T. Hopkins
After devouring Geoghegan's labor classic 'Which Side Are You On?' in the mid-1990s it was always with much anticipation that one pined for his next offering. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Drew Hunkins
Among other things, I am a retired union lawyer whose career was not real different from Mr. Geohegan's. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Joe McCray