Union Democracy: Practice and Ideal: an Analysis of Four Large Local Unions

By Alice H. Cook | Go to book overview

† CHAPTER 3 †
Local 100: Government by Absolute Majority

IN LOCAL 100, the reliance on majority rule as the basis of democratic government has been carried to its logical consequence in rule by absolute majority. In this Local, no meeting is held without the participation of a majority of the members eligible to attend; stewards must be elected by a majority of their constituency; general officers are elected "by a majority of votes cast for all candidates for the office"; and decisions taken in meetings represent the will of the absolute majority.

The question which immediately arises is: How does the organization bring it off? How can such a standard be enforced? Most unions would regard the problem of the administration of such a law as insuperable. The answer is that Local 100 has instituted a control system which not only checks on the reality of the required majorities but which, in doing so, uses every union enterprise to strengthen the organization. Or, put another way, the control system is used, not simply to implement the principle of the absolute majority, but to give the officers of Local 100 information and instruments of control applicable to the whole system of administration. The result is a tight integration of the union's governmental, beneficial, financial, hiring, and educational functions in an administrative whole under the supervision of the four executive officers.

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