Reviving the Strike

Reviving the Strike

How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America

  • 208 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25 inches
  • ISBN: 978-19354392-4-0
  • 2011-05-01


Reviving the Strike is a primer for every trade unionist tired of being the victim.”–In These Times

“An effective and provocative historical approach to a complex problem: How do working Americans and their unions reverse the decline in living standards and employment security in the global economy?”–Larry Cohen, International President of the Communication Workers of America

“American employers think that the strike is pretty much dead. On our side of the bargaining table, too many unions seem to agree. Joe Burn’s new book explains why this traditional tool of worker struggle is still relevant and how it can be used effectively in the 21st century. Reviving The Strike deserves a wide labor audience. Union members should not go into bargaining without it!”–Steve Early, author of The Civil Wars in US Labor.

If the American labor movement is to rise again, it will not be as a result of electing Democrats, the passage of legislation, or improved methods of union organizing. Rather, workers will need to rediscover the power of the strike. Not the ineffectual strike of today, where employees meekly sit on picket lines waiting for scabs to take their jobs, but the type of strike capable of grinding industries to a halt—the kind employed up until the 1960s.

In Reviving the Strike, labor lawyer Joe Burns draws on economics, history and current analysis in arguing that the labor movement must redevelop an effective strike based on the now outlawed traditional labor tactics of stopping production and workplace-based solidarity. The book challenges the prevailing view that tactics such as organizing workers or amending labor law can save trade unionism in this country. Instead, Reviving the Strike offers a fundamentally different solution to the current labor crisis, showing how collective bargaining backed by a strike capable of inflicting economic harm upon an employer is the only way for workers to break free of the repressive system of labor control that has been imposed upon them by corporations and the government for the past seventy-five years.

Joe Burns is a veteran union negotiator and labor lawyer, and a former local union president. For the past decade, he has negotiated labor contracts in the airline and health care industries. He graduated from the New York University School of Law.