February 17, 2005: In January Labor Notes released A Troublemaker’s Handbook 2, edited by Jane Slaughter, the second edition of the popular manual on how to fight back at your workplace and win. Like the first edition, Troublemaker’s 2 is a strategy guide to organizing lessons, tactics, and strategies from the viewpoint of unionists on the front lines.
Labor Notes is a Detroit-based newsletter publisher and education center for reformers in all unions. Many Teamster activists have relied on the first edition of the book, published in 1991, for ideas on how to change things at their own workplaces and locals.
Tom Leedham, Local 206 secretary-treasurer, says, “In our local, the Troublemaker’s first edition is the most dog-eared, coffee-stained volume on our bookshelves. Troublemaker’s 2 is full of ideas and tools activists can use to build a stronger, democratic union and win more rights on the job.”
The book includes chapters on shop floor tactics, fighting discrimination, fighting lean production and outsourcing, running contract campaigns, developing new leaders, bringing immigrants into the movement, building reform caucuses, running for office and running your local right.
Hundreds of Stories
The oversize manual is a collaboration of over 70 authors and includes hundreds of first-person accounts. The stories run from how to ridicule a pompous boss to a years-long campaign against a multinational corporation. The workplaces represented include factory and white collar, public and private, U.S. and Canadian.
Several Teamster and TDU struggles are highlighted. The book includes the 1997 UPS strike and stories from meatpackers at Tyson Foods, members of Local 556, who built a member-to-member network, won the right to elect stewards, and took on aggressive supervisors.
A TDU member in Baltimore Local 355 tells his story of starting a shop newsletter, the “355 Informer.” Local 572’s work in stopping scab hiring in a southern California food warehouse is described, as are other lessons from the Teamsters and well beyond.
The book’s editor, Jane Slaughter, is a former auto worker and a veteran writer and educator for Labor Notes. She is also author of Working Smart: A Union Guide to Participaton Programs and Reengineering.
A Troublemaker’s Handbook 2 is available from Labor Notes for $24. For more information, phone (313) 842-6262 or visit www.labornotes.org.