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DescriptionIn an age of widespread income inequality, and what many believe is an unfair distribution of profits, labor unions are an essential equalizer to ensure that workers will share in the prosperity of the nation. After all, it is labor that generates the bounty that we all enjoy. As the renowned political commentator Walter Lippmann observed, “It is labor organized that alone can stand between America and the creation of a permanent, servile class. The effort to build up unions is as much the work of pioneers as the extension of civilization into the wilderness … unions are an effort to conquer the industrial jungle for democratic life”. Thus, it is incumbent on EAPs to be present in labor settings, under union auspices, to serve the interests of workers and their families. By definition, unions represent workers and fight for their welfare, security and overall well-being, which are the very outcomes that a comprehensive labor-based EAP will pursue – in the interests of labor and management alike. While currently representing but a small portion of the American work force, members trust their unions, and their leadership takes pride in serving the needs of its members. Given the mutuality of their goals – workers need employment and employers need a stable work force – there is a latent symbiosis between labor and management that is embedded in their goals, which union EAPs are in a unique position to promote and to secure.
---- by Paul Kurzman Ph.D.ACSW. Professor & Chair, World of Work Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College ( CUNY)
The Reuther Library is home to the collections of numerous unions and labor-related organizations. Its collection strengths extend to the political and community life of urban and metropolitan Detroit, the civil rights movement in Michigan and nationally, and women's struggles in the workplace. The collection scope includes materials related to 20th century American labor history, urban Detroit history, women in the workplace, radical organizations, and dissident union movements.