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"They're Bankrupting Us!": And 20 Other Myths about Unions Paperback – August 28, 2012


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"They're Bankrupting Us!": And 20 Other Myths about Unions + Why Unions Matter + There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807003328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807003329
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Coming from a union family helped shape who I am today. Unions have been critical for African Americans, and for all working people, and are essential for social justice. Read Bill Fletcher's important and timely book so we can reassert the humanity of working people and help them stand against the larger societal forces that are trying to crush them.”—Danny Glover, actor/activist

“As someone who has written about the daily lives and struggles of working people I am constantly impressed and enlightened by Bill Fletcher's work. In “They’re Bankrupting Us!” he answers the question of why unions are so essential—not just for economic uplift, but for democracy itself. Fletcher is one of our leading labor intellectuals, and once again, he has the last word on a subject of central importance to all Americans.”—Barbara Ehrenreich

“It’s amazing how much nonsense about unions is believed, and how little is really known about their purpose and proud history. Bill Fletcher sets the record straight, and he tells us a thrilling story while doing it. A thriving union movement is crucial to the well-being of working men and women and to the overall health of our democratic way of life. This book – better than any other I’ve read – explains why.”—Bob Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and former Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times

"Isn't it curious that the loudest, most venomous voices against unions are the CEOs and Wall Streeters who profit by keeping America's working families down and unions out? In this powerful book, Bill Fletcher exposes their self-serving lies, and points out the obvious: unions work. Not only do they advance our economy, but also our democracy and our nation's historic pursuit of social justice."—Jim Hightower, author, radio commentator, public speaker, and editor of The Hightower Lowdown

"Even before I read Bill Fletcher's new book, I knew it was a 'must read.' Having read it now, my instincts have been confirmed. Bill Fletcher is a brilliant thinker in Ella Baker's tradition. He is an organizer extraordinaire who writes from thirty years experience in labor and freedom movements. “They’re Bankrupting Us!” speaks to a very broad audience about the diversity, complexity and vitality of the United States labor movement. And who better to tell that story and teach that lesson, than this amazing intellectual, committed activist and tireless movement teacher."—Barbara Ransby, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago and author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement
 
"Bill Fletcher's new book is a must read for every worker in America. Full of surprising stories and useful facts, "They're Bankrupting Us!" uncovers everything we ever wanted to know about how unions work, and the true role that unions have played in shaping the nature of our work today."—Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

About the Author

Bill Fletcher Jr. is a long-time racial-justice, labor, and international activist, scholar, and author.  He has been involved in the labor movement for decades, and is a widely known speaker and writer in print and on radio, television, and the Web. He has served in leadership positions with many prominent union and labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union. Fletcher is currently the director of field services for the American Federation of Government Employees.

More About the Author

Bill Fletcher Jr., the author of "They're Bankrupting Us!" (Beacon Press, 2012) is a long-time racial-justice, labor, and international activist, scholar, and author. He has been involved in the labor movement for decades, and is a widely known speaker and writer in print and on radio, television, and the Web. He has served in leadership positions with many prominent union and labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union. Fletcher is currently the director of field services for the American Federation of Government Employees.

Photographer Copyright Credit Name: Arlene Holt-Baker, 2011

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Erin on November 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Being a resident of a state where unions have become a focus for folks far and wide I really wanted to read this book so I could have some good solid facts that I could use when discussing unions with others. It certainly does have a lot of great information in it, but there are some things I think could have been done better. Although, I do acknowledge that the complicated nature of the subject matter probably had a lot to do with my issues with this book.

My first issue with this book is that the chapters are titled for the myths Fletcher intends to discuss, but I often found myself needing to refer back to try to remember what myth I was supposed to be reading about. The purpose of the chapters gets lost sometimes in Fletcher's efforts to provide as much information as possible about the history of unions. Perhaps a different format would have suited his writing style better.

My second issue with this book is that I could frequently think of arguments against what Fletcher was saying, and not because I disagree with unions. With books/articles/documentaries etc. like this I always like to try to think about what someone with the opposing viewpoint might think, or arguments they might make, and I found I often had many questions. There were a lot of gaps Fletcher left unfilled.

Overall I think this book has some great content for people who want to know more about unions. If someone just wants a good overview, this would probably do it. However, if someone wanted to be able to have a really in-depth debate about them then they would probably want to also read some other things.

In the spirit of full disclosure I received this book as part of the Goodreads.com First Reads program. This has not influenced my review in any way. This review was re-posted from goodreads.com
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By thevoyager on November 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is instrumental in explaining how the lack of organized workers leads to a totalitarian workplace, where workers are simply used to satisfy the whims of management and the CEOs, and have no real say in their benefits, wages, schedules, etc. The right to work statutes are an outrageous example of the triumph of business greed in so much of America, particularly the South and Midwest, and it is crucial that we fight to maintain our rights and dignity else we become lower and lower until we have nothing left to lose. -Travis Hyll
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ijpearson on March 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you know nothing about unions, then this is a great book to start off.

At the same time, if you are somewhat acquainted with them, then there is really no information here that you would need.

The author is a "union man" and is obviously completely pro-union. Some of his "myths" he admits that they have been true in history and only offers a few examples to the contrary. More information (and possibly citations) would be helpful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By paul on August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The center-piece of the Neoliberalism agenda is the maximization of corporate profits. Worker solidarity hinders this objective. Within this context, we are witness to war of ideas in which disciples and followers of the neoliberal program promote a fictitious assault on labor unionism. The attack is based on myth, lies, and intentional misinformation meant to sway the public away from supporting labor solidarity. This attack is as old as the story of labor's struggle. Fletcher soundly repels the attack, providing clarity and truth in an easy to follow narrative. This book should be read by anyone interested in the plight of the declining American middle-class working family.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Heron on November 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a tremendous book to serve as a guide to people who are unfamiliar with the labor movement. It is a very easy read. Fletcher is methodical in dismantling the widely held misperceptions and myths that many uneducated people hold regarding labor unions.

If you are looking for a beginner's guide to the labor movement, this book is a perfect starting point. It will arm you with the right talking points for you to rebut your anti-union friend the next time he goes on one of his rants about "big labor" destroying our economy.

If you are already familiar with labor, this book may not be for you. It is rather basic in it's arguments. I found that I did not learn much new from the book. It was telling me things I already knew, preaching to the choir, so to speak.

Here's a great idea: Would make a perfect Christmas gift for that person on your list that watches too much Fox News.
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By kelly stillwell on August 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
super grat book to learn about unions
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