Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies

Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies

Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies

Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies

Synopsis

At a time when the American labor movement is mobilizing for a major resurgence through new organizing, here, at last, is a book about research on union organizing strategies. Previous studies have focused on factors contributing to union decline, devoting little attention to the organizing process itself. The twenty chapters in this volume dramatically increase understanding of the range and effectiveness of new organizing strategies and their potential contribution to the revitalization of the labor movement.

The introduction defines the context of the current organizing climate. Major sections of the book cover strategic initiatives in union organizing, overcoming barriers to worker support for unions, community-based organizing, building membership and public support for organizing, and organizing initiatives by industry or by sector. Individual chapters focus on topics such as organizing outside the NLRB process, the role of clergy, local labor councils, and rank-and-file volunteer organizers.

Excerpt

Kate Bronfenbrenner,Sheldon Friedman,Richard W Hurd ,Rudolph A. Oswald, andRonald L. Seeber

The American labor movement is at a watershed. For the first time since the early years of industrial unionism sixty years ago, there is near-universal agreement among union leaders that the future of the movement depends on massive new organizing. in October 1995, John Sweeney, Richard Trumka, and Linda Chavez-Thompson were swept into the top offices of the AFL-CIO, following a campaign that promised organizing "at an unprecedented pace and scale." Since taking office, the new AFL-CIO leadership team has created a separate organizing department and has committed $20 million to support coordinated large-scale industry-based organizing drives. in addition, in the summer of 1996, the AFL-CIO launched the "Union Summer" program, which placed more than a thousand college students and young workers in organizing campaigns across the country.

The events at the AFL-CIO are not happening in a vacuum. Simultaneously, some of the nation's other large unions, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the newly merged Union of Needle Trades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE), have made significant structural adjustments at local and national levels to shift resources into organizing. Other unions, such as the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers (OCAW), and the United Paperworkers International Union (UPIU), have filled voids by establishing national organizing departments, reflecting newfound commitment to organizing from the top leadership of these unions. Many other unions, at both national and local levels, have increased their organizing activities significantly.

This influx of resources and commitment comes at a time when union density levels are at their lowest point since the 1930s and many scholars . . .

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