Book - Building Unions

Building Unions: Past, Present and Future by Peter Kellman, Illustrated by Matt Wuerker. Paperback Book. Apex Press. 2001.

Your union local or activist community group is doing good work against one corporate assault after another. But your successes aren't making the next campaigns easier. Or challenging public officials who enable corporate usurpations.You're itching to take action.

Whether your passion is organizing unions, ending clear cutting, stopping genetic engineering or nurturing sane industrial transitions, this booklet is for you. Learn how to leave your favorite regulatory agency in the dust; contest corporate denial of people's self-governing authority; re-frame single issues as struggles for constitutional rights.


An unflinching picture of workers fighting against overwhelming odds for justice in the workplace. As Peter Kellman tells it in these pages, workers even have to fight to keep the knowledge of their own struggles alive. This book is a milestone in preserving and sharing that knowledge.

--Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

The story of the Paperworkers' Union with all of its ups and downs set forth in this book provides the backdrop for Peter Kellman to pose the question: 'What is it about organized labor that keeps workers from building a working class movement?' His answer is uncompromisingly honest and will not please many pro-labor people, but tells us what we must do if we are ever to build a truly democratic society.

--Ray Rogers, founder of Corporate Campaign, Inc.

Peter Kellman is an activist and a scholar. He played a key role in the Jay Paperworkers' great battle against International Paper in the late 80s, and since then he has learned a great deal about the Paperworkers and the National Labor Relations Act. In this book, he shows how the strike was shaped by labor history and law. It is a fascinating story, well told.

--Jack Getman, Earl E. Sheffield Regents Professor at the University of Texas Law School and author of The Betrayal of Local 14: Paperworkers, Politics & Permanent Replacements.