Stewart Acuff

Nov 15

Organized Labor

Two days after its publication as an electronic book, Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing became the #1  FREE book in the LABOR category in the Kindle Store. We, of course, are very happy. I wrote the book to talk about many of the fights, struggles, campaigns I’ve been involved with since 1977. In the boo, I archived many of the lessons learned I’ve learned in what has been a rich life of helping people learn to work together in an individualistic society and confront those who abuse too much power and money. I sincerely hope you will get the book either as an e-book by CLICKING HERE or traditional paperback by CLICKING HERE. My longtime close friend Stephen Windwalker has published the electronic version and is guiding our marketing.
I’m in the Bay Area this week talking about the book and what I think we all ought to be thinking about and doing now that we’ve won another historic election in America’s long march to a more perfect union. I’m staying with another longtime, close friend, Peter Olney and his family in San Francisco, and soaking in their hospitality. Peter is the great organizing director of the west coast longshoremen. It is about 4 am as I write this. Peter will take me to breakfast with Fred Ross, Jr, the son of the organizer who discovered and trained Cesar Chavez to become one of America’s greatest labor and human rights leaders. Tonight Peter has organized a meeting of west coast organizing directors and leaders to talk about what organized labor should, or must be doing in this moment of opportunity after our national elections.

I will suggest three things:

1) Everything we do must relate to and resonate with workers who aren’t in unions.

2) That it is organized labor’s traditional role and responsibility to take on some of America’s most intractable problems such as our historic inequality and the determination by some on Wall St. and in the Capitol to have workers and the middle class pay for the financial meltdown that we had nothing to do with.

3) That all our struggle – defensive and offensive – are a way for unions to show other workers what can be done by working together to determine the course of our lives and the lives of our families.

Yesterday I did a great interview on Pacifica radio station KPFA. We will send you the link when it airs or has aired. Afterwards, my friend Katie Quan hosted a Playing Bigger Than You Are book reading at UC Berkeley. I was so happy that America’s preeminent labor historian, David Brody, was there participating in the discussion. For about 90 minutes, academics and organizers asked questions, talked about the book, and thought about the lessons I’ve tried to share.

Please keep following us on twitter @StewartAcuff and facebook and my website and I’ll do my best to share with you what’s going on to make our country a more perfect union.
It has been a wonderful and blessed week and I am one very grateful aging organizer. Please get the book either an e-book by CLICKING HERE or traditional paperback by CLICKING HERE.

Be well. Be happy. Love all God’s children.


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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.

Playing Bigger Than You Are - A Life in OrganizingGet the e-book edition of Playing Bigger Than You Are by clicking here!

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