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Three Strikes
Labor's Heartland Losses and What They Mean for Working Americans

Stephen Franklin

308 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Copyright Date: 2001
Paperback
September 2002
ISBN 978-1-57230-797-1
Cat. #0797
Price: $30.00 $25.50
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“Highly readable, well-researched....Stephen Franklin documents the twists and turns of three overlapping strikes in Decatur, IL, in the 1990s—at Caterpillar, A.E. Staley and Bridgestone/Firestone. ...For Franklin, the loss of union power and with it the decline of once-sturdy blue-collar livelihoods constitutes an 'American tragedy.'”

Chicago Tribune Internet Edition


“This heartbreaking account of blue-collar life in the new economy should be mandatory reading for all those who blithely dismiss the social costs of free trade and unregulated corporate power.”

Library Journal


“Stephen Franklin's immensely well-textured chronicle...[is] riveting.”

The Washington Post


Three Strikes' is probably best read, then, as a cautionary tale, for both labor and management, about the very real human costs of globalization.”

The Flint Journal


“Highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and management practitioners.”

Choice


Three Strikes is a good place to start learning about the War Zone struggles.”

Socialist Worker


“Franklin richly grasps the texture of a ragged, prairie town, whose hope was pinned to smokestacks that soured the dream. The everyday workers whose lives were on the line shine through as they wrestle with global imperatives far beyond Decatur's grasp, seeking to retain the dignity and self-respect their unions once helped them win.”

Union News


“Losers are hard to take. That is especially true if they are middle-age white guys with big bellies and bad teeth, the kind who rant, rave and fail to realize when their cause is hopeless. But sometimes their tragedy explodes in our face, which is one reason that 'Three Strikes,' Stephen Franklin's immensely well-textured chronicle of their lives, is so riveting.”

Washington Post.Com


“...highly readable, well-researched narratives of dramatic action....Stephen Franklin documents the twists and turns of three overlapping strikes in Decatur, IL., in the 1990s—at Caterpillar, A.E. Staley and Bridgestone/Firestone....For Franklin, the loss of union power and with it the decline of once-sturdy blue-collar livelihoods constitutes an 'American tragedy.' Despite positive recent changes in labor's national leadership, the labor movement has a long way to go to make an 'impact on today's global corporation,' he writes.”

Chicago Tribune Internet Edition


“...this heartbreaking account of blue-collar life in the new economy should be mandatory reading for all those who blithely dismiss the social costs of free trade and unregulated corporate power. Recommended for academic libraries and current events collections in public libraries.”

Library Journal


“This volume will interest general readers, as well as scholars and students of U.S. history, labor history, political science, sociology, and labor jounralism.”

The Carolina Times


“Compelling and compassionate, this chronicle of three strikes reflects the collision of global corporate interests with the interests of labor unions, government regulatory agencies, and, not least of all, workers themselves. The author, a seasoned labor writer, describes how the erosion of labor-management relations contributed to the deterioration of worker livelihoods and the human spirit in one heartland community. The book is distinguished by its attention to the constellation of individual biographies, historical events, and institutional actors that generated the strikes, and by its poignant depiction of the human consequences of labor-management conflict. It will serve as a text in undergraduate courses in sociology, social problems, labor-management relations, labor history, political science, American studies, and community studies.”

—Dan Cornfield, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University; Editor of the sociological quarterly, Work and Occupations


Three Strikes offers a heartwrenching portrait of the experiences of American blue-collar workers struggling with the realities of corporate restructuring and de-unionization. Franklin weaves a story full of insights about the destructive impact of unions' inability to preserve institutions that have protected workers from arbitrary management actions. This is ideal supplementary reading for courses in contemporary labor history, industrial relations, the sociology of work, and organizational change.”

—Richard W. Hurd, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations


“Stephen Franklin, in eloquence and heartbreak, has sprung forth three great dramas. It happened not in ancient Athens, but in America's heartland, Decatur, Illinois. The unsung heroes are our working men and women, who lost three grueling strikes to three faceless forces: Caterpillar, Firestone, and Staley, avatars of the 'New Economy.' Yet this superb report from the front is not a dirge—it is a call to arms. This is labor reportage at its best.”

—Studs Terkel, author of Working and Hard Times


“In these three Illinois strikes, the humble and the mighty fought a battle that would shape the future of America's middle class. Franklin's book is as satisfying to read as a great novel. Filled with character and incident, it illuminates the intersection of private lives and the forces of history.”

—Thomas H. Geoghegan, author of Which Side Are You On? Trying To Be For Labor When It's Flat On Its Back
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