Jane McAlevey has spent most of her life as organizer and negotiator. She’s fourth generation union, raised in an activist-union household. She spent the first half of her organizing life working in the community organizing and environmental justice movements and the second half in the union movement. She has led power structure analyses and strategic planning trainings for a wide range of union and community organizations and has had extensive involvement in globalization and global environmental issues. She worked at the Highlander Research and Education Center as an educator (and as Deputy Director) in her early 20’s.
More recently, Jane has added “author and scholar” to her bio. McAlevey earned a PhD in June, 2015, from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, studying with Frances Fox Piven. In September, 2015, she began a Post Doc at the Harvard Law School with the Labor & Worklife Program.
Her first book, Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell), published by Verso Press, was named the “most valuable book of 2012” by The Nation Magazine. The book chronicles her years organizing with unions, which included her serving as Executive Director and Chief Negotiator for a union local, as National Deputy Director for Strategic Campaigns of the Healthcare Division for SEIU, and she was the Campaign Director of the one of the only successful multi-union, multi-year, geographic organizing campaigns for the national AFL-CIO.
Her second book, No Shortcuts, Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age—basically her PhD dissertation—was published by Oxford University Press in the fall of 2016. The book is the subject of numerous reviews, and is generating considerable debate in and outside the labor movement in the USA and internationally.
Upon completing her two-year Post Doc at the Harvard Law School, she returned to consulting work with unions in and outside the USA. She is currently at work on two books. Slated for release in fall 2019 from Ecco/HarperCollins, the next book argues that despite, if not because of, the withering attacks on working people from the US Supreme Court, conservative state and local governments, and the corporate class, American democracy depends on rebuilding unions. STRIKING BACK, due for release in 2020 from Verso, explores organizing, power, and strategy.