Since the 1970s, American unions have shrunk dramatically, as has their economic clout. Labor in the Age of Finance traces the search for new sources of power, showing how unions turned financialization to their advantage.
Sanford Jacoby catalogs the array of allies and finance-based tactics labor deployed to stanch membership losses in the private sector. By leveraging pension capital, unions restructured corporate governance around issues like executive pay and accountability. In Congress, they drew on their political influence to press for corporate reforms in the wake of business scandals and the financial crisis. The effort restrained imperial CEOs but could not bridge the divide between workers and owners. Wages lagged behind investor returns, feeding the inequality identified by Occupy Wall Street. And labor’s slide continued.
A compelling blend of history, economics, and politics, Labor in the Age of Finance explores the paradox of capital bestowing power to labor in the tumultuous era of Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Dodd-Frank.