Solidarity for Sale by Robert Fitch
How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America's Promise

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Synopsis

American labor unions have been, it turns out, shot through with corruption from their very inception. They never really had a Golden Age. From "Big Jim" Colosimo, the patron saint of Chicago's Mafia, to Brooklyn's Sammy "The Bull" Gravano a century later, organized crime has controlled huge swaths of the mainline labor movement. It still does.

Impassioned, revelatory, prodigiously researched and reported, and thoroughly convincing, Solidarity for Sale shows how the American labor movement's decent ends are continually undermined by its tawdry means — a diet of daily corruption longer than the menu at a Long Island diner. By telling the untold histories, uncovering the covered-up scandals, and even recommending a way forward, Robert Fitch builds a devastating indictment and goes beyond it to show that union corruption, stagnation, and decline are not our national destiny. Labor could regain its needed place in American life. But it would require a set of reforms deeper than anything now being proposed; nothing less than a revolutionary overthrow of its culture of corruption and its replacement by a civic culture of accountability and consent.

 

About Robert Fitch

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Robert Fitch joined the Laborer's Union, Local 5 in Chicago Heights, Illinois when he was fifteen years old. He eventually traded his shovel for a briefcase and has since taught at Cornell and New York University, organized for the unions, and written for "The Baffler, Newsday, Village Voice, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times" and "The Nation," Still a union member, he lives in New York City.
 
Published January 23, 2006 by PublicAffairs. 432 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Such organizational structures, according to Fitch, have kept American unions inward-looking and ineffective when it comes to getting the kind of benefits available to all workers, union and non-union, one finds in Western Europe, where a more inclusive political unionism prevails.

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With this passionate but meandering call for reform, union member and journalist Fitch attempts to expose the systemic corruption—the "private use of public office"—that he deems central to the history of American labor and its current ineffectuality.

Oct 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Solidarity for Sale: How Corr...

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