American unions are weaker now than at any time in the past hundred years, with fewer than one in ten private-sector workers currently organized. In "Labor Embattled", David Brody says this is a problem not only for the unions but also a disaster for American democracy and social justice. In a... read more series of historically informed chapters, Brody explores recent developments affecting American workers in light of labor's past. Of special concern to him is the erosion of the rights of workers under the modern labor law, which he argues is rooted in the original formulation of the Wagner Act.Brody explains how the ideals of free labor, free speech, freedom of association, and freedom of contract have been interpreted and canonized in ways that unfailingly reduce the capacity for workers' collective action while silently removing impediments to employers coercion of workers. His lucid and passionate essays combine legal and labor history to reveal how laws designed to undergird workers' rights now essentially hamstring them. David Brody is professor emeritus of history at the University of California at Davis and Berkeley.
He is the author of "Workers in Industrial America: Essays on the Twentieth-Century Struggle" and many other books. This is a volume in "The Working Class in American History" series, edited by James Barrett, Alice Kessler-Harris, David Montgomery, and Nelson Lichtenstein.