The Rise and Fall of the Organizing Model in the U.S.
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[Excerpt] Much of the strategic debate in the U.S. has revolved around the organizing model, which is associated with more activist, grassroots methods of organizing and member mobilization. In spite of widespread endorsement of this model, the reality is that rhetoric has far outpaced action and mobilization is still a relatively isolated phenomenon. Furthermore, with only occasional pauses union density has continued its downward trend, especially in the private sector. This chapter reviews the evolution of recent union strategy in the U.S., with particular attention to organizational change initiated to promote the organizing priority. It also assesses the failure of organizing to halt contraction in spite of isolated successes, and evaluates future prospects.
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labor movement; organizing; union; worker rights; unionization
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Required Publisher Statement: Reprinted with permission of Manchester University Press. Final version published as Hurd, R. W. (2004). The rise and fall of the organizing model in the U.S. In M. Harcourt & G. Wood (Eds.), Trade unions and democracy: Strategies and perspectives (pp. 191-210). Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.