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In-Depth Interview: Prof. Cedric de Leon Details History of “Right to Work” Laws, and Offers Smart Criticism of Labor-Democrat Dysfunction

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Cedric de Leon, a former labor organizer, is professor of sociology at Providence College and author of The Origins of Right to Work.The book is subtitled: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Chicago, and gives a fascinating look at union busting strategies dressed up as freedom for workers.

As a grad student at University of Michigan, de Leon helped organize grad students to end their exploitation as unpaid or underpaid teaching assistants, and organized on other campuses for the American Federation of Teachers.  Now sociology chair at Providence, his new book, as Michigan and Indiana recently brought the total to 26 states with “right to work for less” regulations.

His most incisive comments are about the tortured relationship between organized labor and the Democratic Party, which de Leon says has held workers in a captive arrangement since FDR was president.  He notes Obama’s failures to challenge RTW in Michigan and to fight for “card check” rules to make organizing easier.

He also comments on Trump’s cabinet picks–the “wrecking crew” and the nomination of fast food CEO Andrew Puzder to Labor secretary.