Rebuilding Labor: Organizing and Organizers in the New Union Movement

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Ruth Milkman, Kim Voss
Cornell University Press, 2004 - Political Science - 309 pages
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"In order to recruit new members on a scale that would be required to significantly rebuild union power, unions must fundamentally alter their internal organizational practices. This means creating more organizer positions on the staff; developing programs to teach current members how to handle the tasks involved in resolving shop-floor grievances; and building programs that train members to participate fully in the work of external organizing. Such a reorientation entails redefining the very meaning of union membership from a relatively passive stance toward one of continuous active engagement."—from the Introduction In Rebuilding Labor Ruth Milkman and Kim Voss bring together established researchers and a new generation of labor scholars to assess the current state of labor organizing and its relationship to union revitalization. Throughout this collection, the focus is on the formidable challenges unions face today and on how they may be overcome. Rebuilding Labor begins with a comprehensive overview of recent union organizing in the United States; goes on to present a series of richly detailed case studies of such topics as union leadership, organizer recruitment and retention, union democracy, and the dynamics of anti-unionism among rank-and-file workers; and concludes with a quantitative chapter on the relationship between union victories and establishment survival. This interdisciplinary collection of original scholarship on New Labor offers a window into an otherwise invisible emergent social movement.

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About the author (2004)

Ruth Milkman is Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Academic Director of CUNY's Murphy Labor Institute. She is the author of several books, including the prizewinning Gender at Work and L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement . She is the coauthor of Unfinished Business , editor of Organizing Immigrants , and coeditor of New Labor in New York: Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement , Rebuilding Labor , and Working for Justice , all from Cornell.

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