Eric Lotke has worked for, with and against labor unions. Early in his career he did advocacy in the criminal legal system, researching problems and proposing solutions that all reached the same conclusion – we lock up too many people (especially people of color) and don’t do enough to keep people safe. His work includes the book, The Real War on Crime, and the studies such as Hobbling a Generation, The Tipping Point and Prisoners of the Census. An attorney, Lotke sued private prison companies and departments of corrections over the excessive price of prison phone calls and other conditions of confinement. During this time, police and corrections unions were usually on the opposing side.
Lotke spent the next several years as research director of a think tank, the Campaign for America’s Future in Washington DC, researching and writing about kitchen table economics – including health care, manufacturing and clean energy. Now he often found himself on the union side – the folks who brought us the weekend. Eventually he decided to join the union team. He worked first for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU, “Justice for Janitors”) and most recently the National Education Association. He spends most of his time fighting against the privatization of public education and in favor of higher pay for educators everywhere.
Lotke is the author of three novels, Union Made, Making Manna and 2044: The Problem isn’t Big Brother, it’s Big Brother, Inc. Before any of that, as readers of Making Manna may guess, Lotke earned his living as a chef.