Union Made

“An awesome read with fascinating twists and turns” Philly Labor

Catherine Campbell is a union organizer. She wants to raise wages and form a union at the Pac Shoppe retail chain in Virginia.

Nathaniel Hawley is an accountant. He works for the company that’s planning a corporate takeover of Pac Shoppe.

Nate develops more than a professional interest in Catherine. When he finds his company using illegal tricks against the union he faces a choice. Can he interest her by sharing this information? Will it help the union? Will he lose his job, his license and his self-respect? Find out in this sweet love story wrapped in a fierce labor battle.

2021 release by Hardball Press.

Buy direct from Hardball Press or your local independent bookstore … but it’s here on Amazon. Let me know if you want me to zoom into your book group (makingmanna@gmail.com).


Union Made is recognized 2021

Metro Washington Labor Council: “Organizing Comes Alive in Union Made. Union Made captures the blood, sweat, tears, as well as the courage, love, and solidarity that animates a union organizing drive.”

Labor Studies Journal: “Union Made is an engagingly written book for a broad, popular audience. It would be
well suited for undergraduate courses in labor studies, economics, sociology, history, or ethics. It would also be a great read for all union activists.”

Labor Press Review: “Collective bargaining and romance mix in the pages of Union Made… a charming and suspenseful story… a must-read for fans of both unions and romance.” 

Midwest Book Review: “A deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for the kind of narrative storytelling style that immediately engages the reader’s full and entertained attention from first page to last. Union Made by Eric Lotke is a truly gripping, impressive fast-paced, and compelling love story emerging from a fierce contested labor union vs. company battle for supremacy. The stuff of which Oscar-winning movies are made, “Union Made” is highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.

OpEdNews: “Stories make the world go ’round, and you tell them well.” This is a long personal interview in which I get to explain why I wrote the book and what it means to me.

Portside: We’re All in it Together: Why Workers Organize and How. “Lotke’s novel emphasizes the connection between dignity gained by economic security and dignity gained through rights won by collective action.” (CONFESSION: this is my favorite overall review).

PhillyLabor, “An awesome read with fascinating twists and turns featuring the unlikeliest of romantic interests further demonstrating that love and relationships can develop under any conditions. All you need is a heart and a little solidarity! Highly Recommended!”

World Wide Work: “This novel makes an important contribution by skillfully bringing alive what actually happens when low-wage workers decide they need a union, how big corporations fight back, and how unions must find creative points of leverage to win.”

OSM Magazine: “…captures the blood, sweat, tears, courage, love, and solidarity that animates a union organizing drive.”

Pride and a Paycheck: “Union Made will give you an education in labor and the heart”


Ask Sharifa, Round Table Talk Show, January 17, 2022

Book event: Eat Local, Read Local, Loudoun county library, October 16, 2021

Humanity Chats with Marjy Marj, September 23, 7pm.

Interview on News Talk Radio 1210 WPHT in Philadelphia, July 10

Book Event: East Side Freedom Library, June 1

Interview on the KKFI Heartland Labor Forum, May 27

Book event: THE NOVEL – Imaginary Solutions to Real Social Problems, UALE conference, May 25

Book event: DO UNIONS MATTER? Telling Labor’s Story, ​April 5, 2021
Millions of workers want a union, and organizers and policymakers are working hard to help them win a voice on the job. Lawyer-activist and author Eric Lotke explores how labor arts – from stories to songs to visual art – are also important tools to tell the essential stories of worker struggles.
— Hosted by the DC Labor Fest
— Moderated by Joe Manisclco, Editor, Labor Press
— With music from The Pandemics’ Songs For Essential Workers

Interview with Deborah Kalb, April 25, 2021. I like this quick read on why I wrote the book.

Interview with Ken Volante, Something rather than Nothing, April 21, 2021

Rick Smith radio show, March 9, 2021

Interview with Evan Papp on the Empathy Media Lab, March 8, 2021


Pre-publication reviews

Eric Lotke has written an immensely likeable book, a modern, believable romance between two entirely believable characters. There’s a bit of Nathaniel Hawley in all men confused by their roles in a changing world. Catherine Campbell is the woman they’d like to meet, even though her drive and beliefs might be greater than their own.  Set in the rough and tumble world of labor union negotiations, Union Made teaches, amuses, and amazes. A must read!
Thierry Sagnier, author of Pulitzer nominated novel, Montparnasse

Another fine book by Eric Lotke. UNION MADE is a wise and compassionate tale about economic hardship and paths to redemption. Lotke takes the classic boy-meets-girl love story, and weaves in a gentle and ultimately rousing call for organizing the American workforce. A delightful story, and uplifting guide to remaking America.
Andy Norman, author of Mental Immunity

There are reports and investigations and documentaries about labor unions and their members, but Union Made puts flesh and bone to the people inside a movement.  Union activists never start out as activists.  They are always simple people who simply decide one day to do something to make their lives better.  And it always involves ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  This is a story about family and fearlessness, love and lengths that solidarity can go.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President, National Education Association

Union Made is like a first date, offering the tantalizing possibility of different worlds coming together. It’s a wonderful story about people who want and need a union, and people who are suspicious of them. Union Made is proof that fiction sometimes shows the world better than nonfiction.
— Donald Cohen, Founder of In the Public Interest

Lotke weaves together romance and politics in this timely story of two people drawn together across daunting barriers. An organizer and an accountant on opposite sides of a hard-fought union campaign discover new truths – both personal and political – that challenge their world views and assumptions. Union Maid brings to life the mundane details, the sacrifices, and the passion underneath the struggle to build worker power on the frontlines of the U.S. economy.
Thea Lee, President of Economic Policy Institute