Over at Washington Monthly, the editors asked a few Famous Names to describe the book they think President Obama should read. But they did not ask the rest of us.
So I’d like to submit a suggestion. In fact, I’ll go easy on the new president and offer up a report rather than an entire book.
Consultants, Lawyers and the "Union Free" Movement in the USA since the 1970s, by British economist John Logan, analyzes the emergence of professional "union-busters," providing case studies of each of the main groups comprising the industry: law firms, consultants, industry psychologists and strike management firms.
At 18 pages, it’s an easy read for a president who holds his books right-side-up. But the information is crucial for an understanding of why the nation needs passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Big Business lobbyists are all over the new administration and Congress trying to convince lawmakers that corporations are even-handed and open-minded—and therefore no change is needed to current labor laws because the laws are so fair now. NOT.
As Logan makes clear, corporations in this country have declared war on workers and their efforts to join unions:
During the past three decades, militant employer opposition to unionization in the U.S. has effectively turned organizing campaigns into "war," a war in which unions have frequently been on the losing side and one in which anti-union consultants and law firms have often played a central role.
The report details the extent to which anti-unionism is institutionally entrenched in this country—philosophically and structurally—making it clear the situation will not change unless labor laws are updated. That is, the corporate war on workers will continue unless the Employee Free Choice Act is passed. As the worker advocacy group American Rights at Work points out, some 82 percent of employers hire high-priced union-busting consultants.
Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act isn’t just about unions: It would give workers the power to bargain for better pay, better benefits and job security—all crucial to restoring a fair economy that works for everyone and rebuilding our middle class.
So, what’s your suggestion for Obama’s reading list?