Wisconsin Uprising


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Labor Fights Back

By Michael D. Yates
Monthly Review Press

In early 2011, the nation was stunned to watch Wisconsin’s state capitol in Madison come under sudden and unexpected occupation by union members and their allies. The protests to defend collective bargaining rights were militant and practically unheard of in this era of declining union power. Nearly forty years of neoliberalism and the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression have battered the labor movement, and workers have been largely complacent in the face of stagnant wages, slashed benefits and services, widening unemployment, and growing inequality.

That is, until now. Under pressure from a union-busting governor and his supporters in the legislature, and inspired by the massive uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, workers in Wisconsin shook the nation with their colossal display of solidarity and outrage. Their struggle is still ongoing, but there are lessons to be learned from the Wisconsin revolt. This timely book brings together some of the best labor journalists and scholars in the United States, many of whom were on the ground at the time, to examine the causes and impact of events, and suggest how the labor movement might proceed in this new era of union militancy.

“A still-breathing draft of history. With contributions by participants and observers steeped in the labor movement’s long struggle for revival, this volume is in turns celebratory, tough-minded, and anguished … a vital examination of a pivotal moment when workers decided the billionaires shouldn’t be the only ones fighting a class war.”

—Mischa Gaus, editor, Labor Notes

Additional information

Dimensions 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 in


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