by Joe Burns
First Tuesday Political Series, hosted by Mark Crispin Miller
McNally Jackson Bookstore
52 Prince St. (b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)
June 7, 2011
Mark Crispin Miller hosts Joe Burns, author of Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America. Joe Burns is a veteran union negotiator, 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 of Law.
Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America
If the American labor movement is to rise again, it will not be as a result of electing different politicians, 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, labor lawyer Joe Burns draws on economics, history and current analysis in arguing that the labor movement must redevelop an effective strike based on the now outlawed traditional labor tactics of stopping production and workplace-based solidarity. The book challenges the prevailing view that tactics such as organizing workers or amending labor law can save trade unionism in this country. 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 of labor control that has been imposed upon them by corporations and the government for the past seventy-five years.