Chelsea Green Publishing

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor

Pages:540 pages
Book Art:8 pages of black and white photos
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781933392646
Pub. Date November 14, 2007

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor

The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
November 14, 2007

$39.95

A CIA-connected labor union, an assassination attempt, a mysterious car crash, listening devices, and stolen documents--everything you'd expect from the latest thriller. Yet, this was the reality of Tony Mazzocchi, the Rachel Carson of the U.S. workplace; a dynamic labor leader whose legacy lives on in today's workplaces and ongoing alliances between labor activists and environmentalists, and those who believe in the promise of America.

In The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi, author and labor expert Les Leopold recounts the life of the late Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union leader. Mazzocchi's struggle to address the unconscionable toxic exposure of tens of thousands of workers led to the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and included work alongside nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood. His noble, high-profile efforts forever changed working conditions in American industry--and made him enemy number one to a powerful few.

As early as the 1950s, when the term "environment" was nowhere on the political radar, Mazzocchi learned about nuclear fallout and began integrating environmental concerns into his critique of capitalism and his union work. An early believer in global warming, he believed that the struggle of capital against nature was the irreconcilable contradiction that would force systemic change.

Mazzocchi's story of non-stop activism parallels the rise and fall of industrial unionism. From his roots in a pro-FDR, immigrant family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, through McCarthyism, the Sixties, and the surge of the environmental movement, Mazzocchi took on Corporate America, the labor establishment and a complacent Democratic Party.

This profound biography should be required reading for those who believe in taking risks and making the world a better place. While Mazzocchi's story is so full of peril and deception that it seems almost a work of fiction, Leopold proves that the most provocative and lasting stories in life are those of real people.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor crackles with life--and it's hard to imagine a life better spent than Tony Mazzocchi's. He was a friend and an inspiration to me, as he will be to anyone who reads this riveting biography."--Barbara Ehrenreich, author, Nickel and Dimed

"Les Leopold has vividly brought to life an extraordinary man--an incorruptible fighter for the rights of labor--an historic figure who should never be forgotten. Whether leading the charge for the Occupational Safety and Health Act, protecting workers from toxic exposures, traveling the country to argue for health insurance, testifying before Congress, or inspiring a generation of student activists, Mazzocchi's fiery passion for social and economic justice was revealed in every action he took. And in Leopold he has found an equally passionate and dedicated biographer. This is an important work in the annals of labor history."--Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize Winning historian

"Tony Mazzocchi is one of the unsung, unnoticed heroes of the American working class, and Les Leopold's biography gives us the gift of his extraordinary life--from the battlefields of World War II to the present-day struggle for workers' rights. In that struggle, Tony Mazzocchi was brilliant, bold, imaginative, and fearless. He loved life, food, fun, and children, and I believe his story can inspire a new generation of activists to work for peace and economic justice."--Howard Zinn, author, A People's History of the United States

"Tony Mazzocchi expressed the highest purposes of the labor movement. He constantly reminded us why we needed to build a broad social movement to bring justice and equality to our society--a movement that could unite unions, environmentalists, and social justice organizations in the global struggle to tame corporate power. His commitment to single-payer health care and free higher education for all continues to inspire our work today. We hope his story will help fuel a new generation of movement activists."--Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO

"Tony Mazzocchi was one of the most visionary trade unionist in America. He wrote the book on building alliances between workers and environmentalists."--Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers of America

"Tony Mazzocchi formed my understanding of the fundamental relationship between work and our environment. He always reminded me, 'Carl, companies don't eliminate jobs because of environmental standards. They fight environmental standards so they can degrade and eliminate jobs. It's a skilled, motivated work-force they want to get away from, not clean air and clean water. Workers are the environment's first line of defense.'"--Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club

"The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi by Les Leopold, (Chelsea Green) is the story of whom I consider to be the greatest labor leader of our generation. It was Mazzocchi who connected the labor movement with environmental group and scientists specializing in occupational diseases, with a broad humane agenda for working people so that they had a decent living standard and plenty of time for other pursuits. This World War II combat veteran probably traveled more miles, spoke with more blue collar workers and championed "just health care" more than any other American before his passing from cancer in 2002."--Ralph Nader

Library Journal-
Leopold (cofounder & director, Labor Inst. & Public Health Inst.) tells the story of radical unionist Tony Mazzocchi (1926-2002), who grew up in left-wing New York. In 1953, Mazzocchi, a World War II veteran, followed his employer, Helena Rubinstein, from New York City to Long Island and rebuilt his union, Local 149, United Gas, Coke and Chemical Workers, which became the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW) International Union in 1955. The author shows how Mazzocchi thus strengthened America's labor movement, not to mention the local Democratic Party, mixing radical politics with union fights for better wages and better work conditions. The result: a militant and popular union local. Mazzocchi used his national position at OCAW to work with scientists and environmentalists to improve workplace safety, environmental laws, and economic equality. His radicalism angered conventional unionists, especially those assisting the CIA abroad. He irritated corporations, and was considered a threat to and by the FBI. Leopold's admiring biography shows Mazzocchi as that rare radical who escaped the Red Scare and continued through old age to weave together leftist politics and strong unionism with the goal of improving life for all Americans. Highly recommended for medium to large public libraries and all academic libraries.

Publishers Weekly, starred review-
A formidable labor organizer and longtime leader of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, Mazzocchi (1926-2002), had an exceptional career that belies much received wisdom about American labor after WWII. In prose that unabashedly reflects the upbeat, streetwise world view of its subject, Mazzocchi's friend and associate Leopold shows how Mazzocchi's earliest experiences--from a Bensonhurst childhood among a politically engaged Italian-American working-class family, to underage entry into WWII as an army grunt--informed his shrewd strategies for a militant labor agenda from the 1950s onward. That agenda embraced civil rights, anti-nuclear testing, antiwar and environmental causes, often years ahead of the liberal mainstream, while deftly negotiating such obstacles as employer antagonism, Cold War red-baiting, mob racketeering, union corruption and government intrigue. Balancing a wealth of firsthand interviews with astute judgments, Leopold delivers a vivid picture of Mazzocchi as a practical visionary whose milestones include passage of 1970's Occupational Safety and Health Act. Those undeterred by a sometimes earthy and partisan tone will find a wealth of practical lessons as well as an excellent introduction to American left and labor history.

AWARDS

  • Winner - Independent Publisher Book Award, Gold Medal Winner (Biography)
  • Runner-up - Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Honorable Mention

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Les Leopold

After attending Oberlin College and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (MPA 1975), Les cofounded and currently directs two non-profit educational organizations: The Labor Institute (1976) and the Public Health Institute (1986). He designs research and educational programs on occupational safety and health, the environment and economics. He is now helping to form an alliance between the United Steel Workers Union and the Sierra Club. He is the author of The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor (2007), and The Looting of America (2009).


ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Runaway Inequality

Runaway Inequality

By Les Leopold

Revised, Updated Edition

Runaway inequality is now America’s most critical economic fact of life. In 1970, the ratio of pay between the top 100 CEOs and the average worker was 45 to 1. Today it is a shocking 829 to one! During that time a new economic philosophy set in that cut taxes, deregulated finance, and trimmed social spending. Those policies set in motion a process that greatly expanded the power of financial interests to accelerate inequality. But how exactly does that happen?

Using easy-to-understand charts and graphs, Runaway Inequality explains the process by which corporation after corporation falls victim to systematic wealth extraction by banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds. It reveals how financial strip-mining puts enormous downward pressure on jobs, wages, benefits, and working conditions, while boosting the incomes of financial elites.

But Runaway Inequality does more than make sense of our economic plight. It also shows why virtually all the key issues that we face—from climate change to the exploding prison population—are intimately connected to rising economic inequality.

Most importantly, Runaway Inequality calls upon us to build a common movement to tackle the sources of increasing income and wealth inequality. As the author makes clear, the problem will not cure itself. It will take enormous energy and dedication to bring economic justice and fairness back to American society.

The book is divided into four parts:

  • Part I: What is the fundamental cause of runaway economic inequality? What has made our economy less fair and left most of us less secure?
  • Part II: How does the United States really compare with other major developed countries?  How do we stack up on quality of life, health, and well-being?
  • Part III:  What does economic inequality have to do with so many of the critical issues we face, including taxes, debt, education, criminal justice, racism, climate change, foreign trade, and war?
  • Part IV: What concrete steps can we take to begin building a fair and just society?   

From the book: “There is nothing in the economic universe that will automatically rescue us from runaway inequality. There is no pendulum, no invisible political force that ‘naturally’ will swing back towards economic fairness. Either we wage a large-scale battle for economic, social, and environmental justice, or we will witness the continued deterioration of the world we inhabit. The arc of capitalism does not bend towards justice. We must bend it.”

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Runaway Inequality

Les Leopold

Paperback $19.95

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Les Leopold, author of The Looting of America, Explains the Financial Collapse (Longer Version)

Les Leopold, author of The Looting of America, Explains the Financial Collapse and Bailout

Tony Mazzocchi, A Video Tribute

Les Leopold speaks in Portland--with video

Thom Hartmann: Conversations with Great Minds with Les Leopold - The Looting of America, Pt 1

Thom Hartmann: Conversations with Great Minds with Les Leopold - The Looting of America, Pt 1

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Cheesemonger

Cheesemonger

By Gordon Edgar

Witty and irreverent, informative and provocative, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge is the highly readable story of Gordon Edgar's unlikely career as a cheesemonger at San Francisco's worker-owned Rainbow Grocery Cooperative. A former punk-rock political activist, Edgar bluffed his way into his cheese job knowing almost nothing, but quickly discovered a whole world of amazing artisan cheeses. There he developed a deep understanding and respect for the styles, producers, animals, and techniques that go into making great cheese.

With a refreshingly unpretentious sensibility, Edgar intertwines his own life story with his ongoing love affair with cheese, and offers readers an unflinching, highly entertaining on-the-ground look at America's growing cheese movement. From problem customers to animal rights, business ethics to taste epiphanies, this book offers something for everyone, including cheese profiles and recommendations for selecting the very best-not just the most expensive-cheeses from the United States and around the world and a look at the struggles dairy farmers face in their attempts to stay on and make their living from the land.

Edgar-a smart, progressive cheese man with an activist's edge-enlightens and delights with his view of the world from behind the cheese counter and his appreciation for the skill and tradition that go into a good wedge of Morbier.

Cheesemonger is the first book of its kind-a cheese memoir with attitude and information that will appeal to everyone from serious foodies to urban food activists.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Cheesemonger

Gordon Edgar

Paperback $17.95

This Organic Life

This Organic Life

By Joan Dye Gussow

Joan Dye Gussow is an extraordinarily ordinary woman. She lives in a home not unlike the average home in a neighborhood that is, more or less, typically suburban. What sets her apart from the rest of us is that she thinks more deeply--and in more eloquent detail--about food. In sharing her ponderings, she sets a delightful example for those of us who seek the healthiest, most pleasurable lifestyle within an environment determined to propel us in the opposite direction. Joan is a suburbanite with a green thumb, with a feisty, defiant spirit and a relentlessly positive outlook.

At the heart of This Organic Life is the premise that locally grown food eaten in season makes sense economically, ecologically, and gastronomically. Transporting produce to New York from California--not to mention Central and South America, Australia, or Europe--consumes more energy in transit than it yields in calories. (It costs 435 fossil fuel calories to fly a 5-calorie strawberry from California to New York.) Add in the deleterious effects of agribusiness, such as the endless cycle of pesticide, herbicide, and chemical fertilizers; the loss of topsoil from erosion of over-tilled croplands; depleted aquifers and soil salinization from over-irrigation; and the arguments in favor of "this organic life" become overwhelmingly convincing.

Joan's story is funny and fiery as she points out the absurdities we have unthinkingly come to accept. You won't find an electric can opener in this woman's house. In fact, you probably won't find many cans, as Joan has discovered ways to nourish herself, literally and spiritually, from her own backyard. If you are looking for a tale of courage and independence in a setting that is entirely familiar, read her story.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

This Organic Life

Joan Dye Gussow

Paperback $24.95

Fasting and Feasting

Fasting and Feasting

By Adam Federman

AVAILABLE IN THE UK IN JUNE - COMING TO THE US THIS FALL

For more than thirty years, Patience Gray—author of the celebrated cookbook Honey from a Weed—lived in a remote area of Puglia in southernmost Italy. She lived without electricity, modern plumbing, or a telephone, grew much of her own food, and gathered and ate wild plants alongside her neighbors in this economically impoverished region. She was fond of saying that she wrote only for herself and her friends, yet her growing reputation brought a steady stream of international visitors to her door. This simple and isolated life she chose for herself may help explain her relative obscurity when compared to the other great food writers of her time: M. F. K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, and Julia Child.

So it is not surprising that when Gray died in 2005, the BBC described her as an “almost forgotten culinary star.” Yet her influence, particularly among chefs and other food writers, has had a lasting and profound effect on the way we view and celebrate good food and regional cuisines. Gray’s prescience was unrivaled: She wrote about what today we would call the Slow Food movement—from foraging to eating locally—long before it became part of the cultural mainstream. Imagine if Michael Pollan or Barbara Kingsolver had spent several decades living among Italian, Greek, and Catalan peasants, recording their recipes and the significance of food and food gathering to their way of life.

In Fasting and Feasting, biographer Adam Federman tells the remarkable—and until now untold—life story of Patience Gray: from her privileged and intellectual upbringing in England, to her trials as a single mother during World War II, to her career working as a designer, editor, translator, and author, and describing her travels and culinary adventures in later years. A fascinating and spirited woman, Patience Gray was very much a part of her times but very clearly ahead of them.

What people say about Patience Gray and Honey From a Weed:

“[There are] food people whom you tend to ‘believe’ rather than simply admire. In this . . . noble lineage is Patience Gray, a wandering Bruce Chatwin of food.”—Jim Harrison, author

“Patience was a woman of strong emotions and opinions, her prose muscular and full of character. So, too, was her cookery.”—Tom Jaine, The Guardian

“Like M.F.K. Fisher, Patience Gray was one of the earliest writers to realize that you could write as well about cooking as you could about art and music . . . . [A] remarkable woman.”—William Boyd, author

“[She] gives you that nice sense of being present and alongside her, visiting these places like Tuscany and Catalonia, and cooking with her.”—April Bloomfield, chef, on Honey From a Weed

“Remarkably ahead of its time, Honey From a Weed is scrupulous in its knowledge of local and seasonal cooking. . . . A book that encourages taking the time to read quietly, passages that inspire and inform equally of a life and foods quite unique, far removed from the urgencies and furies of modern life.”—Jeremy Lee, The Guardian

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Fasting and Feasting

Adam Federman

Hardcover $28.00

A Handmade Life

A Handmade Life

By William Coperthwaite and John Saltmarsh

William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years hasexplored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness-buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being.

A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite's ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

A Handmade Life

William Coperthwaite, Peter Forbes, John Saltmarsh

Paperback $30.00