Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Interview with R. M. Smith, Author of Union Hypocrisy

R. M. Smith started with the Teamsters in the Convention Industry. In 2000, she went into the Southern Nevada Teamsters’ Training Trust as a trainer and then advanced to Executive Director. While an Executive Director, she sat on negotiating committees, arbitrated cases for apprentices. Smith developed, implemented, and directed a registered apprenticeship program as well as wrote the training manuals. Those manuals were approved by the Department of Labor and Nevada State Industrial Education Department. They were also copyrighted by the Teamsters Training Trust.

Smith had several articles written in trade magazines and the newspaper regarding this apprenticeship program as well as an Innovation award for designing a new trade training program. She was elected by representatives of 26 union trade organizations as secretary treasurer of the Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association (WACA).

In 2006, she was asked to represent 26 trade unions in negotiating a contract with the Nevada State Secondary Education System. During her time with the Teamsters she was a speaker at several conferences and was the first and only union representative asked to sit on the Crystal Ball Panel for the hospitality industry. Smith has served as the union WACA representative on the selection committee for the new Business School President for Southern Nevada College.

In 2007, Smith started consulting in Labor Relations.

Her blog site unionhypocrisy.wordpress.com and she can be reached at

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Avon Lake, Ohio

When did you begin writing?

I have been writing things all my life including poetry. I have started many books, I just never completed them because I wasn’t happy with what I had done. This was the first one that made it to the finish line!

What is this book about?

Union Hypocrisy is divided into multiple sections, each providing a look inside the current union movement. Information includes how unions react when their own employees want union representation, unions that sell out their own employees, and the history of the ties between unions and the Democratic Party.

A major focus of Union Hypocrisy is how unions have transformed from a movement that fought for workers’ rights into an association that now puts other objectives in front of union workers. It also examines the relationship between organized labor and political parties.

"Nobody has written a book like this before. 'Union Hypocrisy' includes actual documents, along with an untold history that insiders usually do not talk about. It is in the nature of political authors Laura Ingraham and Michelle Malkin, Smith mixes political and business tones to give readers involved in labor unions, or interested in the labor movement, a creative outlook that is unique for a book of this subject matter."

What inspired you to write it?

My experience with the union, and I think the trigger point was when I had heard about some union organizers that were trying to organize their own union while working for one.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

I am not sure that this is similar to any book of its type. It concentrates mostly on how unions interact with their own staff and the political world. It also blends humorous sarcasm with fact, making it entertaining as wells as informative.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

I think the biggest take away from this book is that unions are corporations.  They are entities that are more concerned with their survival as a business and protecting their “executive board” than the membership they represent. It also takes a detour to what unions originally started as and how they ended up.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Currently readers can purchase the book on Amazon.com. In about 8 weeks it will be available through bookstores by order.

What is up next for you?

I am exploring two book ideas. One is the the relationship between George Meaney of the AFL-CIO and the CIA post WWII or the events that took place in Las Vegas at Local 631 when the Chicago Teamsters tried to move in. That one involved the Internal Review Board which is the arm of the Department of Justice that has oversight in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Both are very intriguing stories and I have already been doing the research.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I hope that people will give this book a read. It is not the dull dry reading that most readers attach to this type of genre. It is a good read and for those who are not familiar with unions or labor this is a great way to get acquainted!

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