Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law (2nd Edition)
Authors: Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross
Publisher: PM Press
Size: 5 x 8
Page count: 120
Subjects: Labor, Politics
Have you ever felt your blood boil at work but lacked the tools to fight back and win? Or have you acted together with your co-workers, made progress, but wondered what to do next? If you are in a union, do you find that it operates top-down just like the boss and ignores the will of its members?
Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law is a guerrilla legal handbook for workers in a precarious global economy. It demonstrates how a powerful model of organizing called “solidarity unionism” can help workers avoid the pitfalls of the legal system and use direct action to win. Blending cutting-edge legal strategies for winning justice at work with a theory of dramatic social change from below, Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross deliver a practical guide for making work better while reinvigorating the labor movement. The book examines specific cases concerning fundamental labor rights and includes a section on tactics and principles of practicing solidarity unionism. Illustrative stories of workers’ struggles make the legal principles come alive.
The New York Times has reported on the book’s importance in recent and ongoing labor organizing in the tech industry—for example among employees of Google, Kickstarter, and Uber, whose union campaigns were influenced by ideas gleaned from Labor Law for the Rank and Filer. Meredith Whittaker, a former Google research scientist who was one of the organizers of the 2018 Google employee walkout, said that the book has been “incredibly helpful in thinking through options for action, ways of building collective power, and giving workers who often aren’t familiar with labor law some working knowledge that can guide decision making.”
“Workers’ rights are under attack on every front. Bosses break the law every day. For decades Labor Law for the Rank and Filer has been arming workers with an introduction to their legal rights (and the limited means to enforce them) while reminding everyone that real power comes from workers’ solidarity.”—Alexis Buss, former general secretary-treasurer of the IWW
“As valuable to working persons as any hammer, drill, stapler, or copy machine, Labor Law for the Rank and Filer is a damn fine tool empowering workers who struggle to realize their basic dignity in the workplace while living through an era of unchecked corporate greed. Smart, tough, and optimistic, Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross provide nuts and bolts information to realize on-the-job rights while showing us that another world is not only possible but inevitable.”
—John Philo, legal director, Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice
“Some things are too important to leave to so called “experts”: our livelihoods, our dignity and our rights. In this book, Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross have provided us with a very necessary, empowering, and accessible tool for protecting our own rights as workers.”
—Nicole Schulman, coeditor of Wobblies! A Graphic History and World War 3 Illustrated.
“Lynd and Gross are to be commended for developing a useful resource not just for shop stewards, but for every wage-earner engaged in the struggle to improve the condition of working people.”
—Gordon Simmons, UE Local 170
“For those readers who want to strengthen workers rights and improve our overall quality of life, or for those who may see labor organizing as also a strategy to achieve not only the vision of a participatory economy but a participatory society as well then this book should definitely be in your arsenal.”
—Michael McGehee, Z Magazine
About Staughton Lynd:
Staughton Lynd taught American history at Spelman College and Yale University. He was director of Freedom Schools in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. An early leader of the movement against the Vietnam War, he was blacklisted and unable to continue as an academic. He then became a lawyer, and in this capacity has assisted rank-and-file workers and prisoners for the past thirty years. He has written, edited, or coedited with his wife Alice Lynd more than a dozen books.
About Daniel Gross:
Daniel Gross is an organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World and a cofounder of the first union in the United States at the Starbucks Coffee Co. Mr. Gross is also the founding director of Brandworkers International, a nonprofit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees across the supply chain. When it comes to workers’ rights, the New York Times has called Mr. Gross, “earnest, articulate, and dogmatic to a flaw.” He has been arrested for his activism and is currently involved in litigation against the New York Police Department and other governmental defendants for his unlawful arrest at a labor protest in front of the Starbucks store where he was a barista. He is quoted frequently in major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and National Public Radio and writes regularly for Counterpunch.org. Mr. Gross serves on the steering committee of the National Lawyers Guild Labor & Employment Committee.
See and hear author interviews, book reviews, and other news on Slaughton Lynd's page HERE
See and hear author interviews, book reviews, and other news on Daniel Gross's page HERE
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