Real World Labor

Edited by Ben Beckett, Kari Lydersen, Robert Ovetz, Kevin Van Meter, and the Dollars & Sense Collective

Real World Labor cover
Date of publication:
March 2024

The fourth edition of Real World Labor is thoroughly revised and updated and provides up-to-date, accessible, and penetrating analysis of the most significant issues confronting workers and unions today, both nationally and globally.

With contributions from leading writers and scholars of the labor movement, this essential anthology introduces students and workers to current labor struggles and the challenges of forming a robust labor movement within a capitalist system. This edition also explains the role of unions and how to organize one, as well as what workers are fighting for and visions for the future.

As Kevin Van Meter, one of the editors of this book, notes in this edition’s introduction (“How to Use This Book,” available online here), “[t]hroughout this volume, you will find materials to help workers and students develop economic literacy and critical thinking, discover ways to organize, and envision the future. The book’s approach is an ecumenical one, based in real-world economics, and grounded in the mission to provide economic news and analysis to union members and workers in the United States and across the planet.”

Contributors include: Barry Eidlin, Alex N. Press, Jayati Ghosh, David Bacon, Nick French, and many more.

Praise for earlier editions of Real World Labor:

“For any labor studies course, Real World Labor is the most comprehensive and accessible book available today. Written by authoritative scholars of the labor movement in the United States and worldwide, no book compares to this work in its breadth of coverage and scope of analysis. This is the only collection that provides an in–depth overview of labor issues in an accessible manner to anyone interested in understanding the most significant issues facing workers and the contemporary labor movement. I highly recommend this book to all!”
THOMAS J. KRIGER, former provost, National Labor College

Real World Labor, like decades of Dollars & Sense books, is bound to be a great guide to labor issues with a wide range of perspectives for both union members and students.”
LARRY COHEN, former president, Communications Workers of America

Real World Labor is an antidote to the misinformation, false arguments, and faulty analysis so common in the mainstream media and among orthodox economists. An excellent classroom resource.”
MICHAEL YATES, author of Why Unions Matter and Associate Editor, Monthly Review

Real World Labor is an ideal text both for newcomers to labor studies and to old hands. In one volume, it provides students with invaluable historical background, up-to-the-minute analysis of current labor politics, and many compelling stories about both workers being exploited and workers fighting back. Equally important, it provides an analytical framework for understanding the assault on labor over the past generation and how this has impacted the American economy as a whole.”
THAD WILLIAMSON, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond