If the American labor movement is to rise again, it will not be as a result of electing Democrats, the passage of legislation, or improved methods of union organizing. Rather, workers will need to rediscover the power of the strike. Not the ineffectual strike of today, where employees meekly sit on picket lines waiting for scabs to take their jobs, but the type of strike capable of grinding industries to a halt—the kind employed up until the 1960s.
In Reviving the Strike, union negotiator Joe Burns draws on labor economics, history, and current analysis to show how only a campaign of civil disobedience can overcome an illegitimate system of labor control that has been specifically constructed over the past thirty years to reign in the power of the American worker. The book challenges prevailing views within the labor movement that say that tactics such as organizing workers or amending labor law can resolve the crisis of the American worker. Instead, Reviving the Strike offers a fundamentally different solution to the current labor crisis, showing how collective bargaining backed by a strike capable of inflicting economic harm upon an employer is the only way for workers to break free of the repressive system that has been inflicted upon them for the past three decades.
Joe Burns is a veteran union negotiator and labor lawyer, and a former local union president. For the past decade, he has negotiated labor contracts in the airline and health care industries. He has a law degree from the New York University School of Law.
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