(Taylor E. Dark, III)
PERSONAL: Education: University of California—Berkeley, B.A, 1983, M.A., 1986, Ph.D., 1993; London School of Economics, M.Sc., 1984.
CAREER: Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, research fellow, 1989-90; University of California, Berkeley, lecturer, 1990-93; Kuban State University, Krasnodar, Russia, faculty fellow, 1993-95; Chernivtsi State University, Civic Education Project, Ukraine, faculty fellow, 1993-95; University of California, Irvine, visiting lecturer, 1995-96; Doshisha University, Graduate School of American Studies, Kyoto, Japan, associate professor of American politics, 1996-2004, associate dean, 1998-2004; California State University, Los Angeles, began as instructor, currently assistant professor, 2005—.
AWARDS, HONORS: University fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 1991-92.
The Unions and the Democrats: An Enduring Alliance (political science), ILR Press (Ithaca, NY), 1999, updated edition, 2001.
Contributor of scholarly articles to journals, including Party Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Polity, Presidential Studies Quarterly, National Interest, Journal of Labor Research, Labor History, International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, and PS: Political Science and Politics. Member of editorial board, Doshisha American Studies, 1998-2004, Labor History, 2003—.
SIDELIGHTS: In The Unions and the Democrats: An Enduring Alliance, political scientist Taylor Dark looks at the continually changing relationship between the Democratic Party and organized labor on the American political scene. The Democratic Party has historically received support from organized labor unions since the 1930s. However, some pundits have suggested that the conservative trend in American politics since Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency in 1981 damaged or even destroyed the relationship. Dark suggests in his study that, despite declining union membership, the relationship between labor unions and the Democrats is as strong as ever. “While private sector union membership has dwindled to less than 10 percent of the private sector labor force,” declared Myron Lieberman in a review of the volume published on the Education Policy Institute’s Web site, “membership in public sector unions has increased dramatically.” “Public sector unions are opposed to tax limits, budgetary restraints, and anti-inflation measures that call for limits on union wage demands,” Lieberman concluded. “As the book makes clear, Democratic candidates who do not support AFL-CIO positions face major difficulties in winning primary victories over union-endorsed candidates.”
Dark concludes that unions and unionism still remain in the forefront of the political debate in American society. “The peculiarities of American unionism,” Stephen Amberg declared in his American Political Science Review assessment of the book, “are at the heart of debates about American exceptionalism, the New Deal, the welfare state, interest group liberalism, and the transformations of the party system since the 1960s.” “When labor operates in sync with the tide of decision-making forces, its potential influence is enlarged, but [it is] still institutionally constrained by natural barriers to translating popular will into legislative reality,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review contributor Marick F. Masters explained. “When unions are out of sync, their power lapses, until they muster the internal change needed to achieve realignment.” “Dark conceives unions as interest groups of an especially potent type, namely, those with the ability to shut down significant parts of the economy,” wrote Amberg, “and his study focuses on how the leaders of the AFL-CIO plus the dozen most active federation member unions have adapted to changes in the political, economic, and ideological environment in the last 35 years.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
American Political Science Review, March, 2000, Stephen Amberg, review of The Unions and the Democrats: An Enduring Alliance, p. 187.
Booklist, January 1, 1999, David Rouse, review of The Unions and the Democrats, p. 804.
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, April, 2000, Marick F. Masters, review of The Unions and the Democrats, p. 539.
Journal of Labor Research, winter, 2001, Joseph P. McGarrity, review of The Unions and the Democrats, p. 217.
Labor Studies Journal, fall, 2000, Robert Bruno, review of The Unions and the Democrats, p. 113.
Political Science Quarterly, winter, 1999, John C. Gerring, review of The Unions and the Democrats, p. 704.
Education Policy Institute, http://www.educationpolicy.org/ (January 19, 2007), Myron Lieberman, review of The Unions and the Democrats.