Defending Union Democracy

Defending Union Democracy

Herman Benson’s Rebels, Reformers, and Racketeers

Rebels, Reformers, and Racketeers: How Insurgents Transformed the Labor Movement
by Herman Benson,
Association for Union Democracy, 2004, 195 pp., $22.00

In 1958, Herman Benson, a longtime socialist and labor editor of a weekly New York tabloid, Labor Action, received a call about three leaders in a Chicago Machinist union local. They had challenged the questionable financial practices of the union business agent, but the union’s international president was more upset about their distribution of handbills to members than any malfeasance by the business agent. He put the local under a trustee who promulgated rules banning distribution of ...

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