About The Book
Martin Jay Levitt was a union buster who planned and executed customized anti-union campaigns at more then 250 businesses across America, from coal mines and factories to airlines and nursing homes. Levitt reached the pinnacle of his profession by demolishing friendships, shattering families, and turning worker against worker; he routinely spied on the police records, personnel files, credit histories, medical records, and family lives of union activists in efforts to discredit them.
After a twenty year career that destroyed the lives of potentially ten of thousands of people, Levitt decided to clear his conscience and expose the dirty tricks of the trade. The result was Confessions of a Union Buster, in which he lays out in agonizing detail the disgusting tactics he he employed anytime workers sought to improve their lives by organizing a union. He also spoke to auditoriums full of union workers, often beginning his speeches with the words, "I come from a very dirty business..."
Now, 28 years after the publication of Confessions, this "New Activist Edition" couldn't be more relevant as the gap between the worker and executive classes has only gotten wider, reaching epidemic proportions.
A new Foreword by legendary organizer Bob Muehlenkamp, a man who fought his share of campaigns against Marty Levitt and later encouraged Levitt to write this book, outlines in shocking detail why Confessions of a Union Buster: New Activist Edition couldn't come at a better time. Also new to this edition is Muehlenkamp's "17 Elements of the Union Busting System", a perfect tool for organizers that draws from Muehlenkamp's more than forty years campaigning for workers and fighting union busters.
I read this book in 1994 or 95. I was shocked. At the time i was working for a major overnight package delivery company (yes, that one) and we were trying to get the Teamsters in. Well, the company used every single tactic of the playbook Levitt outlines in his book. The hairs on my arms raised, and I could only read one chapter at a time, it was so upsetting. Hell, just reading the books jacket cover would grab you. Needless to say, the dirty, evil, and sometimes outright illegal tactics used against workers who are just trying to gain an equal footing and a seat at the table is sickening, not to mention the amount of money these companies are willing to spent to shaft their workers. Doubly sickening. I have kept my book for over 20 years, and whenever the subject of unions come up, I urge my compatriots to read it. Please do yourself and your family a favor, and read it. Learn what you are up against. You cannot fight an enemy you don't know about. And yes, they are your enemy. Their interests are diametrically opposed to you, the worker's interests. Anything they say otherwise is a lie. An employer makes money off you. But how much they profit is the subject of unions, and the reason why workers fight for a fairer share of what they have helped to create. Was disappointed this didn't yet come in a Kindle version.
Bob Muehlenkamp, who writes a brilliant new Foreword, is one of the great organizers of our generation, and his cogent comments give important context. It is important for people to read [Confessions of a Union Buster] in order to understand why inequality has skyrocketed and workers have lost all power in recent decades. The industry of 'union avoidance' consultants came to dominate the NLRB election process and gave corporations the tools and techniques to terrorize, intimidate, and terminate union supporters without facing any meaningful legal consequences. Because of this calculated union-busting, workers lost their right to organize and bargain collectively. Wages dropped, pensions were eliminated, workplace conditions deteriorated, and corporate elites partied like in the Gilded Age amassing obscene fortunes. In essence, people like Marty Levitt destroyed our middle class, while politicians in both parties stood by and let it happen.
Former AFL-CIO Organizing Director; Founder, The Organizing Institute