The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century


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In The Future We Need, Erica Smiley and Sarita Gupta bring a novel perspective to building worker power and what labor organizing could look like in the future, suggesting ways to evolve collective bargaining to match the needs of modern people—not only changing their wages and working conditions, but being able to govern over more aspects of their lives.

Weaving together stories of real working people, Smiley and Gupta position the struggle to build collective bargaining power as a central element in the effort to build a healthy democracy and explore both existing levers of power and new ones we must build for workers to have the ability to negotiate in today and tomorrow's contexts. The Future We Need illustrates the necessity of centralizing the fight against white supremacy and gender discrimination, while offering paths forward to harness the power of collective bargaining in every area for a new era.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501764813
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2022
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Erica Smiley is the executive director of Jobs With Justice.

Sarita Gupta is director of the Ford Foundation's Future of Work(ers) program.

What People are Saying About This

Janice R. Fine

This is a powerful, well-conceived, well written and organized contribution to several fields including union renewal, collective bargaining, social movements, racial justice and women's studies. It will have appeal well beyond the academy to the broad audience of those interested in social justice.

Thomas Anton Kochan

A really thoughtful and creative mix of labor history, analysis of current policies and institutions, and wonderful personal stories—including their own. I can't recall ever seeing a book like this in our field. The Future We Need is a powerful statement about what we need to do, and can do, to shape a better future for all.

Dave Zirin

Unions are vital for a functioning democracy. They are also critical for correcting the historic inequality currently ripping this country apart. The Future We Need gives us a roadmap out of this morass. I hope we have the courage to read it and follow its prescription for a more just world.

Fatima Goss Graves

Finally, a book that centers the struggle against race and gender discrimination in the effort to build power for all workers, not simply as an act of solidarity but as a necessity to achieve economic democracy. The Future We Need is the book we all need right now.

Sally Kohn

When we look back on how we were finally able to build a multiracial democracy—politically and economically—one clear seed will be this book. It points the way to our better future and how to get there.

Saru Jayaraman

Anchored in the fundamental fissures that plagued the American democracy experiment from day one, The Future We Need outlines straightforward approaches today's workers are testing to build power and shared governance in ways that will get us back on the path towards building a true multiracial democracy.

Nancy MacLean

How does the worsening state of American workers relate to the escalating assault on democracy? Read this vital book to find out. Filled with first-hand stories shared with two veteran and visionary organizers, The Future We Need offers an illuminating and urgent explanation. A must-read for anyone who wants to know how to build the power to achieve a fair economy and a dignified future for all.

Ai-jen Poo

A refreshing call-to-action, The Future We Need helps us understand both the challenges facing workers today and what must happen to change our economy for the better, with clarity and insight. The narratives and case studies in this book offer strategies that go beyond outdated, more traditional frameworks that left key groups of workers, like domestic workers, behind. A blueprint for the way forward, it's a must read!

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