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Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics Hardcover – June 8, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
America's labor unions pour money into the Democratic Party in pursuit of a "socialist," big government political agenda and have abandoned their mission of collective bargaining, contend Fox pundit Chavez (An Unlikely Conservative) and Gray, a consultant for Stop Union Political Abuse. What makes this worse than corporate bosses funding Republicans, they note, is that labor's pelf comes from the "forced dues" of workers who don't individually consent to union political donations. Chavez, a former union official and Bush labor secretary nominee, and Gray, a former National Right to Work Committee official, make some charges stick. They show that unions do give a lot of money to, and wield a lot of clout with, Democrats, with the usual problems of corruption and favoritism that big money special-interest politics entails. But by the authors' own accounting, unions spend less than 5% of their money on politics—a percentage that, they concede, workers can get refunded from their dues, albeit with some difficulty. And when Chavez and Gray show unions sticking to winning better pay, better benefits and lighter workloads for their members, they damn them for bankrupting companies and driving jobs abroad. At that point, the book's critique of unions' excesses shades into a one-sided attack on their very existence.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chavez, conservative political analyst and former union professional, and coauthor Gray describe what they consider the betrayal of American workers by union leaders. Rather than representing the needs of their members, union leaders are focused on politics and self-serving government policy. This is a strongly worded tome with such chapter titles as "Putting the Public at Risk," "An Affair to Remember: Bill Clinton and the Unions," "Teachers' Unions: Deep-Pocketed Protectors of Mediocrity," and "Money, Mansions, and Mobsters: Union Corruption." The authors' reform proposals include stopping labor from spending members' dues on politics without their permission, giving workers flexibility and options outside of unions, and opening up union books. They tell us, "Union bosses have been successful to date largely because most Americans are oblivious to the corruption, influence-peddling, and power-brokering that goes on in labor unions today." While academics and think tanks will be the audience to ponder the authors' claims the most, it is certain that their views will resonate with a defined segment of the voting public this election year. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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Everyone should read this book especially if you are a union member. The extent to which union bosses are using members's dues to corrupt the political system are very disturbing.
Contrary to what one reviewer posted, Linda Chavez cites a variety of sources including union publications.
This is an extremely well-written and documented book, presented in the smooth, readable style that characterizes Linda Chavez's works. It is a must read for all who are concerned with the underhanded political abuse that is corrupting the selection process for our elected officials. Buy it today, you will enjoy it.
Although there are extensive footnotes, most are secondary sources such as newspaper articles which tend to sensationalize news.
Over and over in the book, there is mention that unions do not report their finances. They do, including their payrolls. How many businesses would make their payrolls public information? At best, public corporations list the five highest paid executives in their proxy statements. Large unions have independent auditors and publish financial statements annually in their journals.
It may be true that some politicians are beholden to unions for their political contributions, but the same goes for corporations and their PAC's. Other misconceptions in the book are the job creation statistics in RTW states. No mention is made of what types of jobs these are.
The entire book is heavily biased. All one needs to do is try to recall when someone else went to bat for them to get a raise or fight a wrongful discharge. Unions have their place in our society.
In another memorable quote, Thomas Jefferson once said something along the lines that "To force a man to pay for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical." "Betrayal," by Linda Chavez and Daniel Gray, is the story of how this sin and tyranny has come to be visited on us through the government-granted power of forced unionism, and how all of American politics has been twisted as a result. Indeed, from the presidency to local school boards, it's hard to find any political arena where the forced-dues-fueled Big Labor political machine isn't a -- or *the* -- most significant power.
In fact, Big Labor's political power dwarfs that of corporations, the various "special interests," and even the political parties themselves. The authors give us chapter and verse, figures, footnotes, and lots of disturbing stories. The special legal privileges enjoyed by Big Labor, up to and including immunity from prosecution for committing acts of violence, should be especially disturbing to anyone who believes in a level playing field.
It's a shame that this book probably won't get the attention it deserves. Anyone who doubts that the political game is by and large a fixed one needs to open these pages and discover that far more than Big Oil, Skull and Bones, or various other alleged Illuminati "running the country," the hands really pulling the strings belong to the labor union bosses.
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