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Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movementby Jane Mcalevey
Synopses & Reviews
In 1995, in the first contested election in the history of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney won the presidency of the nation’s largest labor federation, promising renewal and resurgence. Today, less than 7 percent of American private-sector workers belong to a union, the lowest percentage since the beginning of the twentieth century, and public employee collective bargaining has been dealt devastating blows in Wisconsin and elsewhere. What happened?
Jane McAlevey is famous—and notorious—in the American labor movement as the hard-charging organizer who racked up a string of victories at a time when union leaders said winning wasn’t possible. Then she was bounced from the movement, a victim of the high-level internecine warfare that has torn apart organized labor. In this engrossing and funny narrative—that reflects the personality of its charismatic, wisecracking author—McAlevey tells the story of a number of dramatic organizing and contract victories, and the unconventional strategies that helped achieve them.
Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell) argues that labor can be revived, but only if the movement acknowledges its mistakes and fully commits to deep organizing, participatory education, militancy, and an approach to workers and their communities that more resembles the campaigns of the 1930s—in short, social movement unionism that involves raising workers’ expectations (while raising hell).
A real-life Norma Rae on the catastrophic state of the American union movement.
How one militant union organizer fought the bosses—and national labor leaders.
Only about 7.5 percent of American private-sector workers belong to a union, the lowest percentage since the beginning of the twentieth century,and public employee collective bargaining is under fire in Wisconsin,Ohio, and elsewhere. What happened to the US labor movement?
Jane McAlevey swept to fame—and notoriety—as the hard-charging “Hurricane Jane” who helped make Las Vegas one of the few labor success stories of recent years. Then she was bounced from the movement, a victim of the high-level internecine warfare that has torn apart organized labor. In an engrossing, suspenseful and funny narrative—that reflects the personality of its charismatic, intense and wise-cracking author—McAlevey tells the story of her amazing organizing victories and lifts the lid on the civil wars inside organized labor. Labor’s Last Stand unearths the reasons for the movement’s downfall and emphatically argues that labor can be revived.
About the Author
Jane McAlevey has been an organizer in the labor and environmental justice movements for the last twenty years. She is a PhD candidate at CUNY Graduate Center and lives in New York.
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