In Their Own Words: Insurgents and the Limits of Reform in Organized Labor

Authors

  • Jane LaTour


Abstract

The legacy of union labor lawyer and rank-and-file democracy advocate Burton H. Hall carries on, now more than 20 years after his death. Hall represented dissidents who sought to expand representation and democracy in their unions. To break the bureaucratic stranglehold over unions, Hall advocated and promoted efforts at insurgency and insurrection. While we assess the last 22 years of neoliberal and financial reforms that have broken working class unions, Hall's advocacy reminds us that unions’ own failure to promote rank-and-file activism and democracy is also responsible for the decline in unions. Active and militant workers struggling within working class organizations is essential to resist the capitalist assault that has eroded wage standards, working class, and communities.

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