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“Deeply inspiring and profoundly important”: Sweeping new history of US labor debuts to stellar reviews…

“Beaten Down, Worked Up,” by former New York Times labor correspondent Steven Greenhouse, called a “riveting account of the rise and fall of organized labor,” by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

Greenhouse devotes entire chapter to the history of the CIW, from the early strikes in the 1990s to the Campaign for Fair Food today, including a detailed look at the ground-breaking success of the Fair Food Program!

Steven Greenhouse, the award-wining reporter who spent nearly two decades covering labor for the New York Times, has published his second book, titled “Beaten Down, Worked Up,” a thoroughgoing history and analysis of the US labor movement that examines “the roots of [labor’s] problems and what we as individuals and as a nation can do to address and hopefully fix them.”  The book, which debuted just last week, is a must-read, and has already received several excellent reviews from newspapers like the Washington Post and the LA Times, as well as from many key labor and progressive voices, including former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and publisher of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.  

Greenhouse’s first book, “The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker,” was a comprehensive look at the many challenges facing workers across the US economy in the 21st century.  His new book widens the lens, taking a look back in time at the history of the US labor movement and highlighting several current, successful efforts by workers – union and non-union alike – to improve their working conditions and defend their dignity on the job.  It is toward this latter objective that Greenhouse dedicates an entire chapter to the CIW, from the early days of immigrant workers from Haiti, Guatemala and Mexico coming together in Immokalee to confront the extreme exploitation they faced in the fields – including widespread sexual violence and modern-day slavery – to the unprecedented success of the CIW’s Fair Food Program and the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model to which it gave birth. 

The opening paragraphs of the Washington Post review provide an excellent sense of the book’s trajectory, and of the place of the CIW’s story in Greenhouse’s analysis. (Click here to read the Washington Post review dated Aug 9 2019). 

Greenhouse’s book is a truly significant contribution to the conversation on the state of labor in the 21st century, and will surely be an important part of the curriculum for students of economics, political science, and social change for years to come.  To encourage you to take the plunge and check out Greenhouse’s important new book yourself, we will close with the words of Alissa Quart, author of “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America”:

Steven Greenhouse has been a paragon of labor reporting for decades. This crucial book—comprehensive, deeply informed and empathic—is something of a culmination of his efforts, capturing both the outrage of exploitation and the excitement of new movements. It’s an inspiring, richly-sourced account of what American work and workers really mean today.

You can find “Beaten Down, Worked Up” online or at a bookstore near you.