A Life in Labor Law: The Memoirs of Benjamin Aaron

Benjamin Aaron

ISBN: 978-0-89215-003-8, Publication date: December 2007

A Life in Labor Law presents a remarkably readable and vibrant firsthand account of key events in labor relations in the second half of the twentieth century—from the War Labor Board, to the drafting of Japan’s labor laws during the U.S. occupation, to the development of California’s public employee collective bargaining law, and to the enforcement of international labor standards through the International Labour Organization. Aaron writes with insight, humor, and humility. He makes readers feel they are in the room beside him as he mediates the 1970 Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike, debates ethical issues inside the National Academy of Arbitrators, or campaigns to get the United States to ratify the ILO’s conventions on human rights. More than a simple memoir, this book, with its graceful style and harmonious blend of idealism and realism, illuminates the history of twentieth-century labor policy in the United States.
— Katherine V. W. Stone, UCLA Law School
Twelve presidents and some twenty secretaries of labor drew on the services of Benjamin Aaron when crises developed in the labor and employment relationship. He stood on his colleagues’ shoulders, reaching higher for the stars, wider for the implications, and deeper for the roots than others did. He found guiding values underlying what others viewed only as conflict. From his carefully kept notes, he distilled in immaculately effective English these memoirs—not just of one man’s story, but of the law and life of the labor relationship during sixtyfive years of the twentieth century. This is a priceless volume.
— W. Willard Wirtz
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor