Overcoming Obstacles to Transformation: Challenges on the Way to a New Unionism
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[Excerpt] The change to organizing requires more than a shift in resources. It is difficult to imagine a sustained commitment to organizing at the grass roots unless locals have the tools, skills, and strategic perspective necessary to mount successful organizing campaigns. Ultimately the commitment to building the labor movement inherent in the organizing priority challenges unions to alter organizational cultures that are often deeply imbued with traditional and conservative approaches to trade unionism. The struggle to succeed at organizing, to maintain representation, and to alter union culture is forcing national unions to define their role in this process and to reassess their relationships with locals. A key objective of the research reported here is to help clarify the issues at stake in the process of the change to organizing at the local level. Although there are few definitive answers, the experiences of locals struggling with the realities of juggling organizing and representational responsibilities should guide the search for sustainable conversion.
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labor movement; unions; organization; labor rights; revitalization; AFL-CIO; organizational change
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