Is Organizing Enough? Race, Gender, and Union Culture
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Fletcher, Bill Jr.; Hurd, Richard W.
[Excerpt] We argue that the quantitative interpretation of Changing to Organize is self-limiting, if not self-defeating. If unions hope to attract a mass influx of new members, they must first address seriously the internal transformation required to build a labor movement of all working people. The highest priority should be on creating a culture of inclusion. We envision a movement that embraces, attracts, and promotes women, people of color, immigrants, and lesbians and gays. We reach this conclusion in large part based on work with local unions that have endorsed the change to organizing. Although national unions play a central role in establishing the organizing priority and coordinating the organizing efforts, the changes that affect the day-to-day life of unionism occur at the local level. And the reality is that locals engaged in organizing face a host of substantial internal challenges. To the extent that these challenges relate to the organizing itself, they are well understood and are receiving attention at the national level (for example, the shortage of trained organizers and experienced lead organizers is widely recognized).
labor movement; unions; organization; labor rights; revitalization; AFL-CIO; race; gender
Required Publisher Statement: This article appeared in the Spring/Summer 2000 edition of New Labor Forum. Reprinted with permission.