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Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell); My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement

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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 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).


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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 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).

30 review for Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell); My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement

  1. 4 out of 5

    bianca guerrero

    WOW WHAT A BOOK. This book is about McAlevey’s decade Organizing hospital staff (nurses, techs, etc.) in Las Vegas. It is a book about what bringing democratic practices into the workplace really looks like, the failures of contemporary labor organizing, and the endless possibilities of worker power. this book has inspired me to learn more about labor history and different models of labor organizing and to work for a union in the future. In the middle of reading this book, I even emailed the aut WOW WHAT A BOOK. This book is about McAlevey’s decade Organizing hospital staff (nurses, techs, etc.) in Las Vegas. It is a book about what bringing democratic practices into the workplace really looks like, the failures of contemporary labor organizing, and the endless possibilities of worker power. this book has inspired me to learn more about labor history and different models of labor organizing and to work for a union in the future. In the middle of reading this book, I even emailed the author to see if she would start an organizing institute similar to Obama‘s 2018 organizer training institute — I want to learn the power of my being, communications, and other skills that make McAlevey described in this book from her directly. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs something Bright, exciting, and motivating in this political climate. I would also recommend to anyone who is curious/doesn’t know anything about unions or the labor movement in the United States since the author weaves crucial history into the book. lastly I would recommend anyone who is struggling to figure out what democracy looks like in practice, outside of the political/electoral sphere. The annoying part of the book is that the author dwells on petty cheese mi The annoying part of the book is that the author dwells on some interpersonal conflict she had that after reading so many of them come across as very petty. I recognize that she unveiled the conflicts to show some of the structural issues with contemporary labor organizing, it just gets a little irritating.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    It's hard to feel completely comfortable with a tell-all. It is hard to distinguish the pursuit of score-settling from honest critiques and assessments and since a large portion of this book is designed to illuminate worker successes in the labor movement - and how they are still possible in this day and age, the negativity about many well-known union players makes it feel all that more futile. That being said, as a former SEIU organizer myself, I agree with many of her points and her arguments a It's hard to feel completely comfortable with a tell-all. It is hard to distinguish the pursuit of score-settling from honest critiques and assessments and since a large portion of this book is designed to illuminate worker successes in the labor movement - and how they are still possible in this day and age, the negativity about many well-known union players makes it feel all that more futile. That being said, as a former SEIU organizer myself, I agree with many of her points and her arguments are compelling to an insider - from the need for more militancy and openness to strike to the sad churn of talented organizers who get turned off or directed away by the petty politics and egos in these locals. I would recommend this for all young people exploring working in the movement, though be prepared obviously for a bit more movement-veneer to be tarnished - it shows some ways forwards within a regressive system, yet is a reminder that this is a fight that never ends in victory...or in defeat, but perpetual struggle.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    After Michigan went “Right to Work” I realized I knew precious little about labor unions. All I’ve had to go on was my parents, grandparents and now in laws telling me that unions are absolutely essential while countless others told me about their waste and irrelevance. This well written account of a former SEIU organizer, predominately about her support of nurses in right to work Nevada, opened my eyes about why unions are still needed (on the shop floor and in the community) and where they can After Michigan went “Right to Work” I realized I knew precious little about labor unions. All I’ve had to go on was my parents, grandparents and now in laws telling me that unions are absolutely essential while countless others told me about their waste and irrelevance. This well written account of a former SEIU organizer, predominately about her support of nurses in right to work Nevada, opened my eyes about why unions are still needed (on the shop floor and in the community) and where they can so easily go wrong (locally and nationally). Predominately personal accounts of real activities with a little history/legal mixed in, I found it entertaining as well as informative.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Dymond

    Over the last few decades Australian unions, when they’ve thought about organising, have been strongly influenced by the American Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Many an official and organiser have been flown to the US to participate in industry wide campaigns on organising and growth, to return notionally with reports and recommendations about how it ought to be done. So it is bracing to read an account of the SEIU in which the heroic innovators: Andy Stern, Tom Woodruff, Anna Bur Over the last few decades Australian unions, when they’ve thought about organising, have been strongly influenced by the American Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Many an official and organiser have been flown to the US to participate in industry wide campaigns on organising and growth, to return notionally with reports and recommendations about how it ought to be done. So it is bracing to read an account of the SEIU in which the heroic innovators: Andy Stern, Tom Woodruff, Anna Burger, and Mary Kay Henry, are the villains. For that’s what former SEIU Nevada leader Jane McAlevey accuses them of being in her angry and egotistical book ‘Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell)’. Far from being interested in organising, McAlevey attacks these leaders for being narrow minded and self-interested - ignoring the possibilities for organising work-power in preference for merely growing union membership rolls as a means of gaining influence in Washington DC. McAlevey offers her own experience of rebuilding SEIU locals in the casinos and the hospitals of Las Vegas as a genuine effort to empower ordinary union members - only to be crushed by the SEIU national leadership. As is the way of these intra-union disputes, McAlevey has been accused of the same things of which she accuses others - notably by former organiser and labor journalist Steve Early. Certainly among the incidents McAlevey describes there is a clear case of her as a union staffer trying to overthrow rank and file elected officials. However, whatever the rights and wrongs of the internecine warfare she describes, it is hard to fault her overall bleak diagnosis of the US labor movement: besieged by hostile laws and a viscous ‘union-busting’ corporate culture, while being undermined by internal craft/industry, and national/local divisions. At its best, this book gives a tremendous sense of what it is like to be inside a fast moving industrial campaign - with the race between organising and contract deadlines, spiced with the excitement of workers, often for the first time, realising that they can stand up for their own interests and win. At its worst, McAlevey trips over her own ego as she uses every action she takes, including the dubious ones, to justify her own awesomeness and centrality to every important action. For unionists, the take-home lesson from this book is in a moment of self-reflection on McAlevey’s part as she contemplates (what she says is) the ruin of her work in Nevada ‘In the final analysis, I think my single-minded focus on organizing, to the detriment of organization-building, was wrong.’ The tension between organising and organisation is both creative and destructive for unions. Creative, in that organised worker power needs to be sustained over time for gains to be protected and built upon - hence the need for organisation. Destructive, because as your organisation becomes sufficiently large and complex - fractures between interests will appear which undermine both the organising and the organisation particularly as external circumstances change. There’s not really an answer in this book, except perhaps in the title ‘Raising Expectations’. Workers should expect more from their unions, and from their working lives. Without that nothing else happens.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    McAlevey has written a must-read for anyone beginning their journey into labor organizing. Raising Expectations is an indictment on the old-guard of labor, an exposé of the union-busting tactics employed throughout the country, and an inspiring look at what New Labor could become.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This book was incredible and inspiring. First of all, it read like a suspenseful thriller while showing the effectiveness of building power through whole-worker organizing and worker-led, democratic processes in a labour organization. This is the third book I have read by Jane this year and is my favourite one (though the others do not fall short). Thank you Jane.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    As someone new to organizing who has only organized in a few spaces, I really appreciated two things from this book: 1) Each chapter is the story of a big, high-stakes struggle in union organizing (and McAlevey, the author has so many stories!), but she breaks it down into her strategy and the tactics, often to the level of detail of "at the first meeting we had to figure out what were all the relationships that each worker had in the town" and "the boss sent email A and we immediately printed fl As someone new to organizing who has only organized in a few spaces, I really appreciated two things from this book: 1) Each chapter is the story of a big, high-stakes struggle in union organizing (and McAlevey, the author has so many stories!), but she breaks it down into her strategy and the tactics, often to the level of detail of "at the first meeting we had to figure out what were all the relationships that each worker had in the town" and "the boss sent email A and we immediately printed fliers of it and passed them out to every worker." I am looking forward to using some of the tactics she uses in my organizing work. 2) The over-arching story is about a philosophy of organizing, where the goal is to empower individual workers to participate, to be invested, to realize their own collective power -- instead of being protected by leaders or being spectators. The story in each chapter gives an example of how she helped workers take power, and usually, how they were able to win even more than they expected. But also throughout, her grassroots philosophy of organizing is at odds with that of some of her peers in union leadership, who believe that e.g., the greatest power of unions is in leadership endorsing politicians who will act on behalf of workers. McAlevey's philosophy is what I agree with more, and what I want to happen, so she is serving as a role model for how to fight for it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sean Estelle

    Wow, what an amazing book! So glad I finally picked it up. Riveting narrative, so many gems about organizing, strategy, and power - and I feel like I understand the unique pieces of labor organizing more than before I read the book too. HIGHLY recommend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    It is hard to know where to start this review. Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement, by Jane McAlevey, is an absolute organising weapon. It's hopeful. It brings us back to what unions once were, what they could be and what they can be again, and there isn't much rocket science to it. Unions today will have us believe that the day of the strike is over, that workers are too apathetic to fight, the world and industry has moved on from militant unionism, It is hard to know where to start this review. Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement, by Jane McAlevey, is an absolute organising weapon. It's hopeful. It brings us back to what unions once were, what they could be and what they can be again, and there isn't much rocket science to it. Unions today will have us believe that the day of the strike is over, that workers are too apathetic to fight, the world and industry has moved on from militant unionism, and other such charges. Bosses and their associations all but echo the same arguments. And yet, in the middle of the 2000s, in the right-to-work state of Nevada with a corrupt local union, McAlevey's organising strategies and principles turned this local into one of the toughest and most successful in the country. Who were these fearless union activists? Nurses. Technicians. Ancillary hospital staff. Women-dominated, and with no history of fighting the multinational healthcare corporations. They won, time after time with methods that by and large are not of McAlevey's creation, but they are uniquely McAlevey's in a sea of unions entirely incapable of organising workers — if they want to in the first place. McAlevey trusts workers. In fact, she knows and makes it known that workers will win when they are united, and when they fight, and they and only they can make that happen. When they are intricately involved in bargaining and drawing up a log of claims, when they are driving what they want to see in new contracts, when they tell the bosses, one after the other, what they feel like they deserve and why, that is a fire that has long been extinguished elsewhere in the union movement. McAlevey work with the Nevada nurses and healthcare workers shows us that neither service model nor 'organising' model unionism is what the union movement needs: it's the whole worker organising model. Workers becoming leaders, workers themselves organising, being proactive and taking ownership over their union campaigns and workplace fights, these are the things can go some way to turning the labour movement around. And yet, McAlevey was eventually shafted from the union and the labour movement. Rusted on union bosses don't care about labour for labour's sake, and they will use their members as bargaining chips in whatever political games they want to play. The power of union, exemplified in this book, is undeniable. It has stood the test of time, election cycles, changing Industrial Relations laws and shifting industries, ever present as a solution to the helplessness so many workers are stuck in today. The question is this: how do we broaden what McAlevey succeeded in doing in Nevada, across the entirety of the working class? How do we build our strength deep and wide within the working class? Looking at the great upsurges in union history, one would be hard-pressed to not find a radical buried deep within those struggles, at the heart of the fight. If we want a return to rock-solid unionism, to throw out Hedderman-style, corrupt leaders and fight our fights as workers in union, we need the politics which puts workers at the centre of social change, of everything that moves against the grain, away from the trajectory of unchecked capitalism. Those politics of workers putting workers first, being of themselves and for themselves, are the politics that believe another world is possible, and want to fight tirelessly to make that happen. These are the politics of revolutionary socialism.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brenden Gallagher

    I am working on a project about unions (keeping it close to vest because it's a good idea), and I've been searching for contemporary books about the organizing experience. If you want to learn about union organizing, this is a great starting point. McAlevey delivers exactly what she promises in "Raising Expectations," walking the reader through her journey from wide-eyed radical doing volunteer work in Central America to becoming one of the most influential figures in Nevada union life to leaving I am working on a project about unions (keeping it close to vest because it's a good idea), and I've been searching for contemporary books about the organizing experience. If you want to learn about union organizing, this is a great starting point. McAlevey delivers exactly what she promises in "Raising Expectations," walking the reader through her journey from wide-eyed radical doing volunteer work in Central America to becoming one of the most influential figures in Nevada union life to leaving the union world disgusted by the politicization of the organizing process. Her no-nonsense, no-bullshit attitude shines through on the page, and both in terms of tactics and entertainment, this is a useful and fun book. The meat of the book details McAlevey's experience organizing nurses in Las Vegas. This is especially interesting in our current moment because nurses' unions have seen renewed political power and Las Vegas has become a de facto hub for union resurgence thanks to the Culinary Union. McAlevey had a first-hand view of what brought us to this resurgent moment in labor, and offers her unvarnished perspective, warts and all. McAlevey is not a writer first: she is an organizer, an agitator, a radical. Though you can't help but appreciate the passion she brings to the page, her prose style can sometimes read as scattered, manic, and unfocused. At other times, she gets bogged down in the internecine struggles and procedural minutiae of union organizing. If you work for a union, this stuff might be a page-turner, but for rank and file civilians like myself, it can get a little bogged down. Of course, if you want the real perspective of a union organizer, it is rare that such a person will also be a perfect prose stylist. It's hard to imagine a better version of this book with its unflinching access, dauntless confidence, and inspiring dedication to building worker power. The writerly shortcomings are almost charming and what really matters is the skill, experience, and passion behind the words.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jonathon Murphy

    Maybe more like 3.5. I wish more of the book was as constructive as the afterward chapter. But this book is genuinely very motivating between all the personal feuds inserted into it. Some of these feuds were super valid, some felt unnecessary to include. That’s besides the point though; this book is a powerful argument for the potential of effectively fighting capital through effective organizing that puts workers at the forefront of these efforts. Empowering workers to use their collective powe Maybe more like 3.5. I wish more of the book was as constructive as the afterward chapter. But this book is genuinely very motivating between all the personal feuds inserted into it. Some of these feuds were super valid, some felt unnecessary to include. That’s besides the point though; this book is a powerful argument for the potential of effectively fighting capital through effective organizing that puts workers at the forefront of these efforts. Empowering workers to use their collective power is the best way to ensure a better quality of life for the workers and for those who benefit from their labor (more so nurses to patients as is outlined here, rather than the bosses. Tho McCalevey argues that a strong union can be beneficial to to a business insomuch as the workers will provide better labor.) I haven’t read enough about unions, don’t really know exactly what state they’re in nowadays other than generally bad. If McCalevey is to be believed, and I’m inclined to believe her, it’s a pretty sorry state that doesn’t put workers first. I think folks should read this if they’re interested in learning more about labor organizing and the like. It’s got a pretty conversational tone that guides you nicely through the more complex pieces of info. It definitely got me pretty jazzed about the topic of organized labor and worker’s rights.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Jane provided me with the language, history and framework to understand my jumbled mix of joy, pain, frustration and disappointment that was my three years in union organizing in Canada. Her stories are funny and charming but at their core always about her vision of worker-centred labour organizing. The book would have benefitted from a good editor and I did get lost in all the names and acronyms at times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Lu

    I've never read a book about labor/community organizing OR unions and it was really fascinating! Lots of battle stories from the author's pov, lots of history + context about various labor unions, and overall and interesting read! I've never read a book about labor/community organizing OR unions and it was really fascinating! Lots of battle stories from the author's pov, lots of history + context about various labor unions, and overall and interesting read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Bjorknas

    This is a very compelling & interesting read. Inspired!

  15. 4 out of 5

    George

    Interesting book providing some great insights in how labor organizing and operations work.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cate

    A must-read for everyone who cares about a better present and future

  17. 4 out of 5

    Devin Bryant-Bosshold

    Jane Mcalevey is a genius organizer. She reveals revolutionary methods she organized labor to win with and the politics of big unions that works to undermine its own movement

  18. 5 out of 5

    Grace Doran

    Not having hardly any knowledge on organizing, this book was really insightful to learn from a fourth generation organizer. Focusing primarily on her work in Nevada with nurses unions, she goes through the process of how to create successful labor movements and what lead to the ultimate demise. It also reaffirmed to me that unions are essential, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. I would recommend her interview with Ezra Klein on his podcast for an abridged version of this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jo Hiley

    Jane McAlevey gets the balance between being community-led and strategically uncompromising spot on. She's so tuned into facilitation being key at every step that it warms my little heart (and did when I was trained by her a few weeks ago. <3) The case studies in this are brilliant. Her approach permeating every decision she makes, and her analysis of how unions (and other campaigning groups) need to change are brilliant. But: the writing itself isn't amazing. It's a classic case of an organising Jane McAlevey gets the balance between being community-led and strategically uncompromising spot on. She's so tuned into facilitation being key at every step that it warms my little heart (and did when I was trained by her a few weeks ago. <3) The case studies in this are brilliant. Her approach permeating every decision she makes, and her analysis of how unions (and other campaigning groups) need to change are brilliant. But: the writing itself isn't amazing. It's a classic case of an organising 'history' featuring a lot of names you don't know, and minor details of legal processes you don't understand - but I get why it's done that way, and it's very much worth it. However it did make this take a good while to read, and I'm hoping that when her new book comes out it'll be structured as a series of arguments backed up by examples. That should make her irreproachable instincts a little easier to apply practically to others' (/my) work.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Jane McAlevey is my hero. She writes a fascinating account of how she kicked ass in organizing workers across the country, and at no point does she sound egotistical about it. And although her story involves politics, power, money, and backstabbing, her story ultimately is about the power America's workers have when they unite. It is also a lesson in the inner workings of today's labor unions (or at least one union--the SEIU). You will be blown away by what was won and lost during McAlevey's tim Jane McAlevey is my hero. She writes a fascinating account of how she kicked ass in organizing workers across the country, and at no point does she sound egotistical about it. And although her story involves politics, power, money, and backstabbing, her story ultimately is about the power America's workers have when they unite. It is also a lesson in the inner workings of today's labor unions (or at least one union--the SEIU). You will be blown away by what was won and lost during McAlevey's time in Las Vegas. You will walk away from this being angry--and possibly ready to raise hell.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    Fantastic account of union organising in the USA. McAlevey writes in a lively and engaging manner, and details the important organising campaigns she led throughout the decade. We can learn a lot of lessons from her style of 'whole of worker organising', as she calls it. Unfortunately, most of her hardwork - and the hardwork of the members - was undone by labour bureaucracy and political infighting. This was an extremely engaging book that contains many important lessons for union movements in d Fantastic account of union organising in the USA. McAlevey writes in a lively and engaging manner, and details the important organising campaigns she led throughout the decade. We can learn a lot of lessons from her style of 'whole of worker organising', as she calls it. Unfortunately, most of her hardwork - and the hardwork of the members - was undone by labour bureaucracy and political infighting. This was an extremely engaging book that contains many important lessons for union movements in developed countries - highly recommended for workplace activists and union organisers.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Micah

    I can't think of another book I would consider more essential reading on the American labor movement that has been written in the past decade. If you've got one, direct me to it. (Kim Moody's book U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition might be close.) But seriously. This is a fantastic, highly-readable book that you should read. I can't think of another book I would consider more essential reading on the American labor movement that has been written in the past decade. If you've got one, direct me to it. (Kim Moody's book U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition might be close.) But seriously. This is a fantastic, highly-readable book that you should read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Caeser Pink

    A great book for anyone interested in labor relations. Jane has great insights from the trenches. For those who side with the working class, the stories are inspirational. She also has insights into problems within labor unions that holds back their success.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    As a social worker who organizes, I found myself very drawn in by the description of whole worker organizing. We need a movement more than ever, and empowering workers (and keeping them empowered) is where we must begin!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    This is a shit book written by a someone with a giant ego who was never rank-and-file labor and who got busted for illegally interfering with union elections. Read this much more in-depth critique: https://monthlyreview.org/2013/05/01/... This is a shit book written by a someone with a giant ego who was never rank-and-file labor and who got busted for illegally interfering with union elections. Read this much more in-depth critique: https://monthlyreview.org/2013/05/01/...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marylee Raymond

    This woman is what Saul Alinsky was to the 60's. SHE IS THE BEST. This is an amazing journey -- 10 years organizing. Labor Unions take note -- labor needs a new attitude!! This woman is what Saul Alinsky was to the 60's. SHE IS THE BEST. This is an amazing journey -- 10 years organizing. Labor Unions take note -- labor needs a new attitude!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas Brannon

    A gripping narrative; informative and inspiring.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    A very important work on strategic thinking for union organizing. Looking forward to her book on teacher's unions. A very important work on strategic thinking for union organizing. Looking forward to her book on teacher's unions.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joel D

    Beautiful and tragic. A hell of a story about some incredible labor organising and some excruciating political and personal pettiness.

  30. 5 out of 5

    b bb bbbb bbbbbbbb

    There are a couple different things going on in this book. First, it's an on the ground story of community based labor organizing, why it works, is more just and can achieve better outcomes. It also covers hierarchical, entrenched labor unions and problems with their current strategies. That's interesting and the community approach to organizing is heartening. Another aspect is the author's personal history, narrative and experience in organized labor. Which helps bind the narrative together. Th There are a couple different things going on in this book. First, it's an on the ground story of community based labor organizing, why it works, is more just and can achieve better outcomes. It also covers hierarchical, entrenched labor unions and problems with their current strategies. That's interesting and the community approach to organizing is heartening. Another aspect is the author's personal history, narrative and experience in organized labor. Which helps bind the narrative together. That's ok too, if a bit name-dropy and self congratulatory at times. Lastly, there is just a ton of rather direct, bitter, personal attacks and score settling that are not particularly discreet. It feels slightly awkward to read the author directly naming people and making both professional and semi-personal character attacks. For large union leaders who are semi-public figures making power plays against each other it's sort of understandable given the context. It's less so when the author mentions employees they had who were not terrible, just unsatisfactory, by first-name. Overall, the style, presence and treatment of this stuff in the book just left a bad taste. The author also generally glosses over their own mistakes while decrying and seriously railing against those of others. For what it's worth, I'd love to see a more humble and mature version of this book.

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