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

By Alice H. Cook | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Local 400: Government by Benevolent Bureaucracy: The Union as a Service Institution

Setting

LOCAL 400 is the largest of the group of local unions studied, having a membership of some 37,000.1 The Local has a clear trade jurisdiction in a service industry, and adheres to it.2 No great variations in occupation or skill exist among the members. The chief distinctions are in the number of employees per employer unit. In the larger enterprises, such as the one in which 1,500 workers are employed, considerable division of labor with consequent specialization in function occurs. In the small units-- many are one-man operations--no differentiation of occupation of any kind is possible.

Local 400 deals with over 2,600 employers who are nearly all grouped in two large associations, leaving only some twenty-one independents, all in one branch of the industry. Hence bargaining takes place with a maximum of twenty-three employers.

A high proportion of the membership is Negro and Puerto

____________________
1
In 1961, after this study was completed, an amalgamation with another local of the same international covering an adjoining geographic jurisdiction brought the membership of Local 400 to 40,000 and added a new District 9 to the Local's structure.
2
Its jurisdictional problems have been mainly with other locals of its own international, and a number of these have been solved by amalgamations. Districts I and 9 represent two such mergers.

-144-

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