Trade Union Democracy in Metal Industry
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In metal trade unions, there are two party system based upon the competition of the shop-floor militants’ organizations. These shop-floor militants’ organizations are divided by ideological difference or perception on direction of union movement. In metal industry, union democracy is not representative democracy that confines to elect only the union leaders, but delegation democracy which include the recalling delegates and final approval of the negotiation result by the rank and file. In the aspect of members' participation, the tendency toward 'instrumental collectivism' is strengthening. While members participate in the activities of union, it is limited on instrumental participation around the workplace issues for collective bargaining in enterprise level. The rank and file’s participation based upon blue-color workers' community or ideological commitment is weakening. Both the union officers and the rank and file regard lack of members’ participation as the most important problem for union vitality. While the union members of political class orientation tend to participate actively in the union activities, the members of economic interest orientation show the most low participation level. Many union members normatively agree to participate in the activities of the federation of enterprise unions beyond the enterprise level. However, they don't participate in the activities of metal union federation and didn’t support voting for the transition from enterprise union to industrial. These facts seem to agree with the thesis of 'instrumental collectivism'. Because the traditional practice of activities of enterprise union and employee consciousness of union members are strong, it seems that some institutional changes from the top should be ahead of transition to industrial union system.
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Korean title: 금속산업의 노동조합 민주주의: 민주노총 금속산업연맹 산하의 노조들을 중심으로 Paper not available in English.
trade union democracy; metal workers; South Korean labor movement
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