WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? by Thomas Geoghegan


Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back
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 A heartfelt and worthy study by labor-attorney Geoghegan of what it means to be on the side of organized labor at a time when labor is written off as an ancient relic. This is not simply a rhetorical plea that Americans need strong unions if the divide between rich and poor that began to grow again in the 1980's is not to grow wider. Geoghegan also believes that a strong labor movement would serve to democratize American politics and life. From his experience as an observer for the dissident faction in a United Mine Workers election in the 1970's to his defense of steelworkers who were stripped of their pension rights in the 1980's, Geoghegan explores the reality of present day industrial relations from his perch as an independent labor lawyer. What he finds is a stale and fearful trade-union leadership that has succumbed to the lawyers it hired to navigate the nation's labor laws and that has refused to allow its own members to vote for their leadership. The author forcefully depicts the devastation of the American working class caused by the captains of finance, who through leveraged takeovers and buyouts hastened the decline of American industry in the 1980's. Throughout, Geoghegan's skepticism about his own career is tempered by the dignity of rank-and-file workers who seek to have a say in their own lives. Geoghegan has managed to take a little discussed subject--the role of a vital labor movement in American society--and place it at th

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-374-28919-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991


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