Labor's Heartland Losses and What They Mean for Working Americans
Foreword by William Serrin
"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
"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."
"Stephen Franklin's immensely well-textured chronicle...[is] riveting."
—The Washington Post
"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?
"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 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."
—Dan Cornfield, Vanderbilt University; editor of Work and Occupations quarterly
"Three Strikes offers a heartwrenching portrait of the experiences of American blue-collar workers struggling with the realities of corporate restructuring and de-unionization....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