PLAYING AGAINST THE HOUSE: The Dramatic World of an Undercover Union Organizer, an incisive account from talented young journalist, James Walsh, of his experience working in casinos in staunchly, anti-union southern Florida. Relating his time as a “salt” (an undercover labor-union organizer in a non-unionized job setting) alongside startling statistics and the history of the labor movement in the United States, Walsh exposes the tenuous state of the U.S. service industry worker, whose fate often rests in the outcome of desperate battles waged between unions and corporations. With the Supreme Court currently set to decide a major case over mandatory union fees, Walsh’s story and perspective are particularly relevant.
A gutsy reporter, Walsh went undercover in many senses to tackle the largely unexplored world of salting. Even as he was working to organize his coworkers, his bosses at the casinos imagined he was loyal to their vigorously anti-union interests. Yet, although PLAYING AGAINST THE HOUSE shines a spotlight on the shocking practices of large service corporations, Walsh’s book is not a one-sided account that uncritically supports unions. His is a warts-and-all rendering of labor-organizing, and an honest chronicle of the subversive (and sometimes manipulative) tactics of salts.
In the class warfare tradition of Nickel and Dimed, PLAYING AGAINST THE HOUSE vibrantly captures the working poor and depicts casino culture with sharp humor. Walsh’s perspective not only reveals the often intolerable, sometimes deplorable conditions of the low wage worker, but also paints a compelling narrative of vividly realized, flawed individuals relentlessly fighting for their economic survival.
Stop by to meet the author and purchase a signed copy!