LET OUR CITIES BURN by Ralph de Toledano

LET OUR CITIES BURN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The title comes from a remark supposedly made by Jerry Wurf, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union, during the 1974 Baltimore sanitation strike. Why or whether Wuff may have said this is unimportant; de Toledano proceeds to rail against municipal unions and unions in general. Although only one in five U.S. workers belongs to a union and the proportion continues to decline, de Toledano invokes ""monopolistic union power,"" charging that all strikes ""deprive the economy"" and ""settlements are damaging to the country and its people,"" in short, an ""assault on the American system."" It is the lawlessness of public employees and their lustful demands which have forced cities to cut essential services. The book makes no reference to city governments' abrogation of contracts, violation of pensions, illegal firings or abolition of tenure. De Toledano claims that Albert Shanker's dictatorship has forced innocent New York teachers into ""big unionism"" and moreover, some legislators even receive more than a tenth of their contributions from unions! The unreasonable. ness of these mammoth institutions is exemplified by the fact that in one county, a clerical worker makes $6,000 a year and demands a 5% wage increase, 18 sick days, three weeks' vacation, hospital insurance and overtime pay. Shocking. De Toledano, a former Newsweek editor, is not a classic conservative of the sort concerned about federal bureaucracy, international banking, or large corporations. In this book, he is a simple union-buster trying to convince the majority of the work force that the union label is the cause of urban collapse. The workers are unlikely to be quite so gullible.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Arlington House