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The following links and downloads were contributed by UALE email list members in response to a request for good articles about "why we need unions and how they help everyone".

See also the page on "The Union Difference" for more materials in a similar vein.

Downloads

pdf Why Unions Matter
(26 KB)
Submitted by: Elaine Bernard pdf (26 KB)

Links

Union Blues by Hendrik Hertzberg
Submitted by: Ethan Snow (via Susan Winning)
Date: Mar 7, 2011
Description: I wanted to offer this article from the New Yorker as a more "up-to-date" glimpse at the general picture of the labor movement and the opposition it faces.

At the River I Stand
Submitted by: Ruth Needleman
Date: Mar 7, 2011
Description: I am with a big group of CWA staff and they suggested showing 'At the River I Stand'  which is not a reading but it does the trick!

ACTIVITY
Submitted by: Steve Schnapp
Date: Mar 7, 2011
Description: To accompany the article, hand out blank sheets of paper to participants (construction paper works best). Ask folks to take one sheet for themselves and another for each member of their household. Ask folks to write in large letters “worker” on their sheet, and “family” or “daughter” or “partner” etc, on each of the other sheets they took. Then ask a volunteer to come up to you who will be “the boss” for a minute or two. The boss takes the volunteers sheet and says something like “you spend too much time complaining to your co-workers about conditions here, you’re fired!” and tear her/his sheet in two. Now, ask the volunteer to collect all the sheets, put ‘em in a pile, and demonstrate how difficult it is to tear the sheets when they’re bundled together. That’s why we need unions."

Corporations, Unions and the Value of Opposition
Submitted by: Ellen Dannin
Date: January 21, 2011
Description: First of three short essays (on truthout.org) related to the value of unions and explaining what they do.

If Only Employees Enjoyed the Same Rights as Criminals
Submitted by: Ellen Dannin
Date: December 2011
Description: Second of three short essays (on truthout.org) related to the value of unions and explaining what they do.

Confronting the Myths About Tenure and Teachers' Unions
Submitted by: Ellen Dannin
Date: 23 January 2011
Description: Third of three short essays (on truthout.org) related to the value of unions and explaining what they do.

How Unions Help All Workers
Submitted by: Don Taylor and Donna Schulman
Date: August, 2003
Description: EPI published a Briefing Paper called "How Unions Help All Workers" by Lawrence Mishel Matthew Walters.

Unions Make the Middle Class”, April 2011 by David Madland, Karla Walter and Nick Bunker & "Unions Are Good for the American Economy" by David Madland and  Karla Walter, Feb. 2009, plus fact sheets for selected states
Submitted by: Joan Hill and Donna Schulman
Date: August, 2003
Description: Suggested articles available from the Center for American Progress.

Why Unions Matter
Submitted by: David Prosten, UCS
Description: Michael Yates in 2009 published (Monthly Review Press) a second edition of Why Unions Matter. We carry it in our catalog.

The Union Member's Complete Guide (UCS Books)
Submitted by: David Prosten, UCS
Description: Michael Mauer's The Union Member's Complete Guide (UCS Books), while just that, has a lot on the impact of unions in the community and broader issues, not just economics.  (But it also deals with a lot of basics you might not be interested in: explaining what a grievance is, how negotiations work etc.)  We carry it in our catalog.

Work, Money and Power:  Unions in the 21st Century
Submitted by: Fred Glass
Description: 24 page pamphlet distributed by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. It's currently out of print and being revised.

Unfair Advantage
Submitted by: Thandabantu Iverson
Description: The study entitled "Unfair Advantage,"by Human Rights Watch provides striking accounts of what is happening every day to U.S. workers precisely because they have been denied their human right(s) to freely associate with others and join in a union. The study is available as a PDF on the website for Human Rights Watch, and the document is very accessible, albeit lengthy. The summary alone, however, would be very useful--especially in light of the scrutiny it helps to focus on the contradictory role of the U.S state.

American Rights at Work
Submitted by: Kitty Conlan
Description: Fact sheets.

What Have The Unions Ever Done For Us?
Submitted by: Julien Minard and David Prosten
Description: Short videos.

Joe the dog tries to change the world
Submitted by: Johanne Deschamps
Description: Another video from ITUC.

Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal
Submitted by: Moshe Adler
Description: "At the risk of sounding self-serving, I want to respond to this discussion by mentioning my book, Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal. The question why we need unions must begin, I believe, with an explanation of how wages are determined. If they are determined by productivity, as economic theory claims, there is very little unions can do. Therefore, the first step must be an examination of the theory of wages. In my book I show that the economists' theory of wages does not hold empirically and that the reason for this is that it based on a model of the production process that is pure fiction. Wages are not, and cannot, be based on productivity because productivity of individuals is not measurable. Production is carried out by teams, and the contribution of each member cannot be separated from that of the rest. What does determine wages is bargaining power, hence the need for unions."

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titles, many of them hard to find. 

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