Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (Hardcover)

Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor Cover Image
$27.95
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now

Description


From the longtime New York Times labor correspondent, an in-depth look at working men and women in America, the challenges they face, and how they can be re-empowered

In an era when corporate profits have soared while wages have flatlined, millions of Americans are searching for ways to improve their lives, and they're often turning to labor unions and worker action, whether #RedforEd teachers' strikes or the Fight for $15. Wage stagnation, low-wage work, and blighted blue-collar communities have become an all-too-common part of modern-day America, and behind these trends is a little-discussed problem: the decades-long decline in worker power.

Steven Greenhouse sees this decline reflected in some of the most pressing problems facing our nation today, including income inequality, declining social mobility, the gender pay gap, and the concentration of political power in the hands of the wealthy. He rebuts the often-stated view that labor unions are outmoded--or even harmful--by recounting some of labor's victories, and the efforts of several of today's most innovative and successful worker groups. He shows us the modern labor landscape through the stories of dozens of American workers, from G.M. workers to Uber drivers, and we see how unions historically have empowered--and lifted--the most marginalized, including young women garment workers in New York in 1909, black sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968, and hotel housekeepers today. Greenhouse proposes concrete, feasible ways in which workers' collective power can be--and is being--rekindled and reimagined in the twenty-first century.

About the Author


STEVEN GREENHOUSE was a reporter for The New York Times from 1983 to 2014 and covered labor and the workplace for nineteen years there. He also served as a business and economics reporter and a diplomatic and foreign correspondent. He has been honored with the Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Club award, a New York Press Club award, a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Reporting, and the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism for his last book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.

Praise For…


“Powerful . . . A combination of labor union history in America, investigative reporting about how rapacious employers and Republican governance have diminished labor unions, and an agenda for the revitalization of unions across the country. . .  A clearly written, impressively researched, and accomplished follow-up to The Big Squeeze.” Kirkus (starred review)

“In this riveting account of the rise and fall of organized labor, Steven Greenhouse tells the stories of courageous men and women who put their jobs and often their lives on the line to help American workers gain the income and the dignity they deserve. After World War II, when more than a third of American workers in the private sector belonged to labor unions, workers had enough power to demand that wages keep up with productivity gains. The consequence was the greatest middle class in the history of the world. But over the past forty years, as union membership has declined, America’s middle class has waned. Greenhouse outlines how a worker’s movement could be rekindled, and why it must be. Deeply inspiring and profoundly important.” —Robert B. Reich, former Secretary of Labor and author of The Common Good

“Excellent. . . a searing indictment of how labor’s decline magnified inequality and injustice in the U.S. Much recommended.” —Nicholas D. Kristof

“Greenhouse . . . has provided a human dimension to the tale of income inequality, wage stagnation, and employer disrespect for workers . . . Informative.” —Mark Levine, Booklist

Beaten Down, Worked Up should be read by every American concerned about our nation’s rising inequality and what should be done about it. This timely book brings to life the stories and struggles of American workers and examines the root causes of the problems pulling down so many of them. Greenhouse tells inspiring stories of workers fighting back and gives clear prescriptions on how to increase their power to help make sure the nation’s economy works for every American." —Cristina Tzintzún, co-founder of the Workers Defense Project and founder of Jolt

“A timely and important book that explores how labor unions and worker power have made the U.S. a fairer, more democratic country. In these times of renewed labor insurgency, Steven Greenhouse’s riveting reporting and storytelling reminds a new generation why workers’ and unions’ concerns must be restored to the center of our politics and workplaces.” —Katrina vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher, The Nation 

"In Beaten Down, Worked Up, Steve Greenhouse tells how unions are starting to win again by using innovative new tactics and forming new alliances, and most crucially, by demonstrating to a new generation of workers that alone they are powerless but once they join together they are mighty indeed. This is the one book you should read if you want to understand why so many American workers say they would vote to join a union if they could." —Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers

“Steven Greenhouse has been a paragon of labor reporting for decades. This crucial book—comprehensive, deeply informed and empathic—is something of a culmination of his efforts, capturing both the outrage of exploitation and the excitement of new movements. It's an inspiring, richly-sourced account of what American work and workers really mean today.” —Alissa Quart, author of Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America

“Steve Greenhouse is himself an integral part of labor union history. He covered the work place for The New York Times for nearly twenty years, and set a masterful standard for his field. Greenhouse well knows that organized labor had a major part in turning America into a middle-class nation, and once it lost influence, income inequality soared. In this exceptional book, he tells us the story of labor in America by highlighting the key victories and defeats of labor unions from its high point of influence in the 1950s to its depths since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Can a reinvigorated union movement reverse inequality?  He finds green shoots of hope today, such as the movement for a $15 minimum wage.” —Jeff Madrick, author of Age of Greed
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101874431
ISBN-10: 1101874430
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: August 6th, 2019
Pages: 416