Union members have been described as overpaid and enjoying cushy benefits, and that have been blamed for budget deficits and the weakening economy.
The only way to reverse the trend, some pundits claim, is to weaken the labor movement, strip workers of collective bargaining rights, and champion private industry.
Bill Fletcher Jr. provides a counterargument in a discussion of his book "They're Bankrupting Us!": And 20 Other Myths about Unions on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Drawing on his experiences as a longtime labor leader and organizer, Fletcher traces the historical roots of anti-union myths. While giving an honest assessment of the movement's missteps, he also reveals many of labor's significant contributions, such as establishing the 40-hour work week and minimum wage, guaranteeing safe workplaces, and fighting for equity within the workforce.
His "warts and all" book argues that ultimately unions are necessary for democracy and to ensure economic and social justice for all people.
Fletcher is a racial-justice, labor, and international activist, scholar, and author. He has served with many prominent union and labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. Fletcher is currently director of field services for the American Federation of Government Employees.
The event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1336, the American Postal Workers Local 67, SEIU Healthcare Missouri-Kansas, United Steelworkers Western Missouri-Eastern Kansas Steel Advisory Council, the International Association of Firefighters Local 42
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.