Confessions of a Union Buster

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( 69 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780517583302: Confessions of a Union Buster

A former union buster exposes the dirty tricks that elevated him to the top of his profession and that have transformed the war on organized labor into a billion-dollars-per-year industry. This book is the story of a man who has decided to come in out of the cold, to clear his conscience, and to share the hard lessons he has learned. Line drawings.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A tough-minded memoir of a clever, driven operator in a nasty profession. When the 17-year-old Levitt found Teamster goons knocking his uncle around in his father's Cleveland comic-book distributorship, he fetched his father's gun and held it on four of the hoodlums until the cops arrived. Later, as Cleveland mobsters became dominant union figures, Levitt became a resourceful opponent. Restless and with a knack for business, he began a successful executive recruitment business, but an ad placed by John Sheridan, acknowledged ``King of the Union Busters,'' drew him to higher stakes. Levitt worked not as muscle but as a computer-oriented organizer and propagandist who directed company efforts to frustrate union organizers. Working in industries from coal mines to airlines and restaurants, he refined his sense of how to remain technically within the law while demoralizing less sophisticated opponents. His picture of his cynical, hard-drinking world is hard to forget, and the despotic owners are well drawn--splenetic, insulting Ed Daly of World Airways, with his huge, exotic office (liquor bottles open on the desk) and terrifying rages, is particularly memorable. An effective huckster, Levitt distributed disinformation, blackmailed key employees with the consequences of noncooperation, and used a grimly comedic creative streak to distract workers from their vital interests (at one point, he persuaded an employee to streak an aircraft hanger stark-naked in return for ballots). Levitt tells of his personal life as well--of his climb to a six-figure income, and of his descent into alcoholism, defeated by guilt and inner turmoil about a way of life he couldn't bear to think about. An ugly mea culpa--but a useful corrective to the vast negative publicity routinely accorded unions. (Film rights sold to HBO) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

With compelling vigor and rich detail, Levitt, writing with freelancer Conrow, tells the tale of his rise to union-busting fame from 1969-1988 and his equally dramatic change of heart. Now a consultant advising unions on how to bust the union busters, Levitt says that he is baring his sins both for personal reasons and so that former colleagues will have nothing further with which to discredit him. He portrays himself and his fellow union busters as cynical and contemptuous of workers who try to organize. Using manipulation and propaganda, the busters wear down the union organizers. Levitt's union busters are repulsively slick, preying on the fears and purses of the companies that hire them. The details of Levitt's descent into alcoholism seem prosaic compared to the descriptions of the many union avoidance campaigns he masterminded, even if it was 12-step remorse and humility that provided the motivation for this confessional. His bold story is timely, given current national efforts to reform labor laws.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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