To celebrate Labor Day, this week's review examines how to reform labor policies to further democracy

Re-Union: How Bold Labor Reforms Can Repair, Revitalize, and Reunite the United States

Madland, David. ILR Press, 2021
240p, 9781501755378 $29.95, 9781501755385 $14.99

Re-Union: How Bold Labor Reforms Can Repair, Revitalize, and Reunite the United States book cover. Navy background with white text. Red circle around text in center of page.

This is a valuable book on the need for aggressive policies to rebuild the labor movement, combat inequality, and sustain democracy. Madland, the strategic director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress, provides an excellent summary of the largely positive role unions have played in raising wages, fighting discrimination, advancing equality, and enhancing democracy. He carefully surveys various labor policies in the US and abroad in order to outline a synthesis that US institutions might adopt. Among other reforms, he recommends a broad application of sectoral bargaining, greatly strengthened organizing rights, union participation in the provision of social benefits, and the arbitration of first agreements. Madland makes an effort to explain how the US might enact new labor policies and concedes the need for popular mobilization, durable supermajorities in Congress, and a strategy for the courts. It is a tall order but a necessary struggle. One might quibble that Madland gives short shrift to the traditional union role of enterprise-based industrial democracy. All in all, however, this book is a very important contribution to the US labor policy debate.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty and general readers.
Reviewer: D. C. Jacobs, American University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Political Science – U.S. Politics
Choice Issue: Sep 2022

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