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Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement
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The New Press 2014
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Description

Is labor's day over or is labor the only real answer for our time? In this new book, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan argues that even as organized labor seems to be crumbling, a revived—but different—labor movement is now more relevant than ever in our increasingly unequal society.
The inequality reshaping the country goes beyond money and income: the workplace is more authoritarian than ever, and we have even less of a say over our conditions at work. He tells us stories, sometimes humorous but more often chilling, about problems working people like his own clients—cabdrivers, cashiers, even Chicago public school teachers—now face in our largely union-free economy. He then explains why a new kind of labor movement (and not just more higher education) will be crucial for saving what is left of the middle class; pushing Keynes's original, sometimes forgotten ideas for getting the rich to invest and reduce our balance of trade; and promoting John Dewey's "democratic way of life"—one that would start in the schools and continue in our places of work.
A "public policy" book that is compulsively readable, Only One Thing Can Save Us is vintage Geoghegan, blending acerbic and witty commentary with unparalleled insight into the real dynamics (and human experience) of working in America today.

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Street Date:
12/02/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781595588654
ASIN:
B00AUZS1LU
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APA Citation (style guide)

Thomas Geoghegan. (2014). Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement. The New Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Thomas Geoghegan. 2014. Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement. The New Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Thomas Geoghegan, Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement. The New Press, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Thomas Geoghegan. Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement. The New Press, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Thomas Geoghegan is a Chicago labor lawyer and the author of books including the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Which Side Are You On?, In America's Court, See You in Court, and Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? (all available from The New Press).

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Is labor's day over or is labor the only real answer for our time? In this new book, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan argues that even as organized labor seems to be crumbling, a revived—but different—labor movement is now more relevant than ever in our increasingly unequal society.
The inequality reshaping the country goes beyond money and income: the workplace is more authoritarian than ever, and we have even less of a say over our conditions at work. He tells us stories, sometimes humorous but more often chilling, about problems working people like his own clients—cabdrivers, cashiers, even Chicago public school teachers—now face in our largely union-free economy. He then explains why a new kind of labor movement (and not just more higher education) will be crucial for saving what is left of the middle class; pushing Keynes's original, sometimes forgotten ideas for getting the rich to invest and reduce...

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title
Only One Thing Can Save Us
fullDescription

Is labor's day over or is labor the only real answer for our time? In this new book, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan argues that even as organized labor seems to be crumbling, a revived—but different—labor movement is now more relevant than ever in our increasingly unequal society.
The inequality reshaping the country goes beyond money and income: the workplace is more authoritarian than ever, and we have even less of a say over our conditions at work. He tells us stories, sometimes humorous but more often chilling, about problems working people like his own clients—cabdrivers, cashiers, even Chicago public school teachers—now face in our largely union-free economy. He then explains why a new kind of labor movement (and not just more higher education) will be crucial for saving what is left of the middle class; pushing Keynes's original, sometimes forgotten ideas for getting the rich to invest and reduce our balance of trade; and promoting John Dewey's "democratic way of life"—one that would start in the schools and continue in our places of work.
A "public policy" book that is compulsively readable, Only One Thing Can Save Us is vintage Geoghegan, blending acerbic and witty commentary with unparalleled insight into the real dynamics (and human experience) of working in America today.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Hendrik Hertzberg, NewYorker.com
      • content: "Which Side Are You On? is one of the finest nonfiction books by a contemporary author I've ever read. It's incredibly informative, frequently moving, loaded with fresh insights, and often laugh-out-loud funny. A delightful book about the labor movement: it sounds like an oxymoron, but in Geoghegan's case it's an accomplishment."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jurek Martin, Financial Times
      • content: "Most diverting...[Geoghegan] has the great virtue of being witty and ironic--and to the point...A necessary primer."
      • premium: False
      • source: Katha Pollitt, The Nation
      • content: "Clever and immensely appealing."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times
      • content: "Quirky, brilliant...Inspiring...unparalleled in the literature of American labor."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Washington Post
      • content: "A brilliant book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Barbara Ehrenreich
      • content: "Delightful reading."
      • premium: False
      • source: Businessweek
      • content: "So skillfully written, so witty--and so scathing--that it seems bound to grip even those who find the labor movement boring."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 27, 2014
        This unsettling cri de coeur from a veteran labor lawyer laments the extent to which unions have vanished from the American workforce and political consciousness. Geohegan, who explored modern Germany’s social democracy in Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?, spotlights that country’s principle of “co-determination,” in which blue-collar workers share power with executives, as an alternative to the U.S. economy’s low-skill, low-wage blueprint. But his prescriptions for finding our way back to a union-backed middle class are tough to see as feasible: bolstering unions to raise wages, and backing away from four-year college education as a panacea in lieu of more high-skills vocational education and mentorship opportunities. Similarly, creating a constitutional right to union membership sounds good, but Geohegan’s own experience makes it clear how much of an uphill fight such an amendment would require. Even for those who agree on the need to create a new labor movement in principle, his closing exhortation that “unless we do so, you and I are done” will seem less inspiring than intended.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        October 15, 2014
        A union lawyer offers radical prescriptions to resuscitate a moribund labor movement.In a book that suggests that a revival of labor is necessary to the survival of democracy, Geoghegan (Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life, 2010, etc.) admits from the outset that prospects look grim in a country that seems to regard Big Labor as an anachronism. But with the "drop-by-drop disappearance of the middle class," with wages slashed and job security replaced by contract work, desperate times require desperate measures: "Some say that our current income inequality is no longer like the Roaring Twenties or even the Gilded Age: we're reaching inequality that we haven't known since feudalism. Charlemagne, not J.P. Morgan, is the relevant comparison." The author suggests moving the battle lines from union-corporation (where the latter has won) to the political arena, where the Democratic Party has failed to represent the interests of its longtime constituents, and to the government, where the Civil Rights Act should be extended to encompass union busting. He finds hope in service professions such as nursing and teaching, where battles are fought over conditions that can benefit the community at large (greater resources, smaller class size) beyond narrower concerns such as salary and security, and where public opinion is the ultimate arbiter. Some of Geoghegan's suggestions might seem counterintuitive: that globalization can save American labor rather than simply deport jobs, that unions would be better off representing those who join enthusiastically rather than representing all, and that the Democratic Party's emphasis on education is misplaced (resulting in greater student debt rather than necessarily higher salaries). However, he insists that since the stakes are so high, a new labor resurgence cannot succeed with the old game plan. A manifesto that provokes even when it doesn't convince and tempers its broadsides with humor and a conversational style.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement
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