Solidarity Unionism is critical reading for all who care about the future of labor because its modesty lets it say so much. Short and plainly written, it is also deliberately tentative in its conclusions about where and how a new workers' movement can grow. It does not proclaim a program but instead reports on how small groups of workers and retirees have created new forms of democratic organization. It does not strike postures regarding the possibilities of instant victories or of quick fixes but argues that building solidarity today means nurturing tender shoots of resistance in the face of great corporate power. Solidarity Unionism takes no easy comfort from faith in an assured future but rather draws strength from the fact that working people learn solidarity from their jobs and even from their defeats. It seeks neither a strategy to capture the leadership of the existing AFL-CIO unions nor one to destroy them and build upon their ruins. Instead it looks for ways that labor organizations can be structured so that they are the incubators, and not the prisons, of the impulse toward solidarity. Drawing deeply on Lynd's experiences as a labor lawyer and activist in the Youngstown area, and on his profound understanding of the history of the CIO, Solidarity Unionism helps us begin to put not only movement, but also vision, back into the labor movement.
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