From Blackjacks to Briefcases
By Robert Michael Smith
This is the first book to document the systematic and extensive use by American corporations of professional unionbusters, an ugly profession that surfaced after the Civil War and has grown bolder and more sophisticated with the passage of time. Since the 1980s, hundreds of firms -- including the Detroit News, Caterpillar and Pittston Coal, to name but three -- have paid out millions of dollars to hired thugs. Some have been in uniforms and carried nightsticks and guns, others have worn three-piece suits and carried attaché cases, but all had one simple mission: to break the backs of workers struggling for decency and fair treatment on the job.
This well-illustrated, vital book is rich with subpoenaed documents of strikebound companies and their mercenary strikebreakers. It contains revealing testimony of executives and hired guns who appeared before private, state and federal government inquiries. The author describes incidents over the last century, often bloody, involving strikebreakers in industrial, transportation and mining disputes in 12 states. This is a particularly American calling, and national shame. From the Pinkertons of old to the Special Response Corporation and Vance International’s Assets Protection Team of today, you’ll see just how low some employers will sink in their quest for unchecked profit and control. 179 pages paperback
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