Jane McAlevey, 1964-2024
July 9, 2024 4:56 AM   Subscribe

Jane McAlevey, the labor organizer whose No Shortcuts is one of the most beloved and most recommended books of our political era, has passed away. Below the fold, several reminiscences and other pieces on her life, work, and influence.

In The Nation (where she served as strike correspondent), D. D. Guttenplan, "From the Moment She Joined a Fight, Jane McAlevey Was in It to Win."

Also in The Nation, Katie Miles, "She Usually Won.” Remembering Jane McAlevey, 1964–2024

In Jacobin, Alex N. Press, We’re in a Class War. Jane McAlevey Actually Acted Like It.

In Common Dreams, Jon Queally, 'Go Forth and Win!' Labor Movement Celebrates Life of Jane McAlevey (1964-2024)

Reviews of No Shortcuts: In Harper's by Dayna Tortorici, in Jacobin by Sam Gindin.
posted by mittens (24 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
posted by trip and a half at 5:05 AM on July 9

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posted by adoarns at 5:48 AM on July 9

too young
posted by rikschell at 5:49 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]

posted by toodleydoodley at 5:56 AM on July 9

I found this a moving tribute from a friend and protege.

Like most people who got into unions after 2016 when No Shortcuts was published, I was enormously influenced by Jane McAlevey. Read several of her books, attended her Organizing for Power training, found her interviews and essays persuasive and inspiring.

She was forceful and opinionated in a way that women are often punished for. In my opinion she was sometimes wrong. Good on her for being opinionated enough to be wrong sometimes. And who am I to say; she was a fucking giant.
posted by latkes at 7:18 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


I attended the organizing for power training and it really left a bad taste in my mouth. They did a training sequence where they taught you to bully undocumented hotel workers into letting you take their picture and post it. Not taking no for an answer stuff.

That kind of strategy turned a ton of people off in my company, and was a major criterion cited for why people didn't like us.
posted by constraint at 8:24 AM on July 9

Thinking I likely would have a different framing from 'bully' but I imagine I know what you mean. IMHO ultimately per her theory of union wins (super-majority) everyone does have to put themselves at risk. It's a very different theory of change than what we often talk about now especially considering our relative differences in social power (privilege), but it's how lots of historic worker wins were won. But I can relate to finding her & her theory off putting at times.
posted by latkes at 9:22 AM on July 9

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posted by kensington314 at 12:12 PM on July 9


My union is literally using her books as textbooks for our negotiating, strike school, etc.
posted by honey badger at 12:43 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

We need more people of her caliber.
Fuck Cancer.
posted by theora55 at 3:37 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

posted by Token Meme at 7:47 PM on July 9

This is awful.

My union is hopeless, primary a vehicle for people's self interest; it was extremely evident at the convention we had in May(my first time as a delegate) when the retiring president wasted so much time on endless self congratulatory speeches that a brave, young delegate called her out for it.
I have a much more clear sense of what my union is thanks to No Shortcuts, and Jane McAlevey.
I am reading it very slowly, when I am in the right frame of mind, and I thank her for putting into words what I have seen in the 7 and half years I have had my current job.

What a legacy she leaves.

posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:43 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

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posted by allthinky at 5:25 PM on July 16

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