Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law

Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law (2nd Edition)

by Jamie Sanderson
November 18th, 2012

Have you ever felt your blood boil at work but lacked the tools to fight back and win? Or have you acted together with your co-workers, made progress, but wondered what to do next? If you are in a union, do you find that the union operates top-down just like the boss and ignores the will of its members?

Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law is a guerrilla legal handbook for workers in a precarious global economy.

Blending cutting-edge legal strategies for winning justice at work with a theory of dramatic social change from below, Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross deliver a practical guide for making work better while re-invigorating the labor movement.

 Labor Law for the Rank and Filer demonstrates how a powerful model of organizing called “Solidarity Unionism” can help workers avoid the pitfalls of the legal system and utilize direct action to win. This new revised and expanded edition includes new cases governing fundamental labor rights as well as an added section on Practicing Solidarity Unionism. This new section includes chapters discussing the hard-hitting tactic of working to rule; organizing under the principle that no one is illegal, and building grassroots solidarity across borders to challenge neoliberalism, among several other new topics. Illustrative stories of workers’ struggles make the legal principles come alive.


“Workers’ rights are under attack on every front. Bosses break the law every day. For 30 years Labor Law for the Rank and Filer has been arming workers with an introduction to their legal rights (and the limited means to enforce them) while reminding everyone that real power comes from workers’ solidarity.” –Alexis Buss, former general secretary-treasurer of the IWW

“As valuable to working persons as any hammer, drill, stapler, or copy machine, Labor Law for the Rank and Filer is a damn fine tool empowering workers who struggle to realize their basic dignity in the workplace while living through an era of unchecked corporate greed. Smart, tough, and optimistic, Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross provide nuts and bolts information to realize on-the-job rights while showing us that another world is not only possible but inevitable.” –John Philo, legal director, Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice

“Some things are too important to leave to so called “experts”: our livelihoods, our dignity and our rights. In this book, Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross have provided us with a very necessary, empowering, and accessible tool for protecting our own rights as workers.”  –Nicole Schulman, co-editor Wobblies! A Graphic History and World War 3 Illustrated.

“Lynd and Gross are to be commended for developing a useful resource not just for shop stewards, but for every wage-earner engaged in the struggle to improve the condition of working people.” —Gordon Simmons, UE Local 170

“For those readers who want to strengthen workers rights and improve our overall quality of life, or for those who may see labor organizing as also a strategy to achieve not only the vision of a participatory economy but a participatory society as well then this book should definitely be in your arsenal.” —Michael McGehee, Z Magazine

“This book is essential for beginning organizers and those who are continually in the trenches. From the perspective of working people for working people, this beautiful, fact-filled read is truly a hands-on guide for gaining and protecting labor rights.”  — Jamie Sanderson, FreakOutNation

About Staughton Lynd:

Staughton Lynd taught American history at Spelman College and Yale University. He was director of Freedom Schools in the 1964 Mississpppi Freedom Summer. An early leader of the movement against the Vietnam War, he was blacklisted and unable to continue as an academic. He then became a lawyer, and in this capacity has assisted rank-and-file workers and prisoners for the past thirty years. He has written, edited, or co-edited with his wife Alice Lynd more than a dozen books.

About Daniel Gross:

Daniel Gross is an organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World and a co-founder of the first union in the United States at the Starbucks Coffee Co. Mr. Gross is also the founding director of Brandworkers International, a new non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees across the supply chain.  When it comes to workers’ rights, the New York Times has called Mr. Gross, “earnest, articulate, and dogmatic to a flaw.”

He has been arrested for his activism and is currently involved in litigation against the New York Police Department and other governmental defendants for his unlawful arrest at a labor protest in front of the Starbucks store where he was a barista. He is quoted frequently in major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and National Public Radio and writes regularly for Mr. Gross serves on the steering committee of the
National Lawyers Guild Labor & Employment Committee.

Back to Staughton Lynd’s Author Page | Back to Daniel Gross’s Author Page