Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

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KEY WORDS: Labor Unions; United States; Labor Union Members; Attitudes; Organizing.

Clark, P. F., Delaney, J. T., & Frost, A. C. (2002). Collective bargaining in the private sector. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Private-sector collective bargaining in the United States is under siege. Many factors have contributed to this situation, including the development of global markets, a continuing antipathy toward unions by managers, and the declining effectiveness of strikes. This volume examines collective bargaining in eight major industries; airlines, automobile manufacturing, health care, hotels and casinos, newspaper publishing, professional sports, telecommunications, and trucking; to gain insight into the challenges the parties face and how they have responded to those challenges. The authors suggest that collective bargaining is evolving differently across the industries studied. While the forces constraining bargaining have not abated, changes in the global environment, including new security considerations, may create opportunities for unions. Across the industries, one thing is clear: private-sector collective bargaining is rapidly changing.
KEY WORDS: Industrial and Labor Relations; Unions; Labor Studies; Collective Bargaining; Private Sector.

Clawson, D. (2003). The next upsurge: Labor and the new social movements. Ithaca: ILR Press.

The U.S. labor movement may be on the verge of massive growth, according to Dan Clawson. He argues that unions don't grow slowly and incrementally, but rather in bursts. Even if the AFL-CIO could organize twice as many members per year as it now does, it would take thirty years to return to the levels of union membership that existed when Ronald Reagan was elected president. In contrast, labor membership more than quadrupled in the years from 1934 to 1945. For there to be a new upsurge, Clawson asserts, labor must fuse with social movements concerned with race, gender, and global justice. The new forms may create a labor movement that breaks down the boundaries between ""union"" and "community" or between work and family issues. Clawson finds that this is already happening in some parts of the labor movement: labor has endorsed global justice and opposed war in Iraq, student activists combat sweatshops, unions struggle for immigrant rights. Innovative campaigns of this sort, Clawson shows, create new strategies, determined by workers rather than union organizers, that redefine the very meaning of the labor movement. The Next Upsurge presents a range of examples from attempts to replace "macho" unions with more feminist models to campaigns linking labor and community issues and attempts to establish cross-border solidarity and a living wage
KEY WORDS: Sociology; Industrial and Labor Relations; Labor Unions; Organizing; Social Movements; United States.

Clawson, D., & Clawson, M. A. (1999). What has happened to the US labor movement? Union decline and renewal. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 95-119.

For many years, US trade unions declined in density, organizing capacity, level of strike activity, & political effectiveness, a decline variously attributed to demographic factors, inaction by unions themselves, the state & legal system, globalization, neoliberalism, & the employer offensive that ended a labor-capital accord. The AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization) New Voice leadership elected in 1995, headed by John Sweeney, seeks to reverse these trends & transform the labor movement. Innovative organizing, emphasizing the use of rank-&-file intensive tactics, substantially increases union success; variants include union building, immigrant organizing, feminist approaches, & industry-wide non-National Labor Relations Board organizing. The labor movement must also deal with participatory management or employee involvement programs, while experimenting with new forms, including occupational unionism, community organizing, & strengthened alliances with other social movements
KEY WORDS: Unions; Membership; United States of America; Labor Relations; Labor Movements; Organizational Effectiveness; Organizational Development.

Cooper, B. S., & Sureau, J. (2008). Teacher unions and the politics of fear in labor relations. Educational Policy, 22(1), 86-105.

Union-management relationships have been filled with fear since the rise of capitalism; public education is no different. Workers fear exploitation by owners (profits depend on it) and capitalist/management has always worried that the working classes will organize and either take over the firm or strike and bring production to a screeching halt. In public education, teachers turned to collective bargaining in the 37 states that allow it to give them greater voice and power over their wages, benefits, and working conditions using collective actions through the American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO) and National Education Association, not unlike worker unionism in the private sector. Fear still resides beneath the surface but, since the 1990s, strikes are less common and teachers are well organized and earning better salaries and benefits than ever before. Whenever policies change, as under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or charter school laws, teacher unions take the lead and are now even opening charter schools to guarantee that these teachers remain union members.
KEY WORDS: Working Class; Charter Schools; Federal Legislation; Collective Bargaining; Labor Relations; Unions; Fear; Union Members; Public Education; Politics of Education; Teacher Associations; Teaching Conditions; Teacher Strikes.

Crowther, J. E., Martin, I. E., & Shaw, M. E. (1999). Popular education and social movements in Scotland today. Leicester, UK: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.

Papers included in this review of contemporary popular education and social movements in Scotland adders issues related to adult education and learning; community education; consciousness and social movements as well as general issues related to educational policy and scientific methodology.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Community Education; Consciousness Raising; Cultural Context; Cultural Differences; Democracy; Disabilities; Educational Change; Educational Objectives; Educational Theories; Educational Trends; Empowerment; Essays; Foreign Countries; Instruction; Labor Education; Minority Groups; Muslims; Politics of Education; Popular Education; Racial Discrimination; Religion; Social Action; Social Change; Teaching Methods; Trend Analysis; Unions; Women's Education; Latin America; Scotland; Social Movements.

Delp, L. (Ed.). (2002). Teaching for change. Los Angeles: UCLA Labor Center. Retrieved December 29, 2003, from

These 28 essays recount popular education's history and its multiple uses in the labor movement today: to organize the unorganized, to develop new leaders and activists, and to strengthen labor and community alliances. They explore its other facets: theater and culture, economics education, workplace safety and health, and classroom use and address experiences from Canada and the United States (US)-Mexico border.
KEY WORDS: Activism; Adult Education; Collective Bargaining; Community Involvement; Consciousness Raising; Economics Education; Employer Employee Relationship; Empowerment; Labor Education; Labor Relations; Leadership Training; Literacy Education; Nonschool Educational Programs; Occupational Safety and Health; Popular Education; Social Change; Theater Arts; Union Members; Unions; Workplace Literacy.

Diamond, W., & Freeman, R. B. (2001). What workers want from workplace organisations. London: Trade Union Congress.

A report to the TUC’s Promoting Trade Unionism Task Group, written by two distinguished research academics. This report is the first analysis of data from the British Workplace Representation and Participation Survey - the most extensive poll of workers and their attitudes to their job, trade unions and their employer, that has been conducted in the UK for many years. Presented to Congress 2001.
KEY WORDS: Labor unions; Great Britain; Industrial relations; Management; Employee participation; Works Councils.

Ewer, P. (2000). Trade unions and vocational education and training: Questions of strategy and identity. Labour & Industry, 10(3), 37-56.

Australian unions entered the national training reform agenda in the late 1980s, promising themselves a high-skill, high-wage economy in which lifetime learning was an integral part of paid employment. Here, data obtained via interviews with workers & trainers & national statistics indicate that the regulatory arrangements that the union movement used to realize these goals have instead been used to promote the marketization of vocational training, in which the business community has gained increased leverage over training design, delivery, & assessment. As a result, unions have seen one of their traditional strongholds - the male-dominated apprenticeship system - cut back, while training access remains sharply defined by class & gender. Unions now face questions of how best to participate in the training market in ways that promote union identity.
KEY WORDS: Vocational Education; Job Training; Unions; Australia; Business; Regulation; Markets; Commodification; Apprenticeships.

Fairbrother, P., & Yates, C. (Eds.). (2002). Trade unions in renewal: A comparative study. London/New York: Continuum.

For years, unions in Anglo-American countries have suffered stagnant or declining memberships. They have experienced diminishing political and economic influence and many are going through crises in the representation of members. During the 1990s a number of unions and labour federations began to debate these problems, and as a result have experimented with a host of new ideas and practices aimed at rebuilding membership and restoring their political and economic strength.

Trade Unions in Renewal brings together a series of studies of union renewal from five different countries - the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada. Although unions in the five countries have all been influenced by recent debates surrounding the organizing model, several unions and the five national federations have charted their own course of renewal. These range from internal union democratization and membership mobilization to new partnership models with employers and governments.

The contributors to this volume are among the leading researchers and commentators on trade unionism in their countries. The introduction offers a rare comparative analysis of convergence and divergence in union renewal strategies across these five countries, while the separate chapters offer a penetrating, critical analysis of union renewal strategies and pose some difficult questions about the likely success of unions as they try to regroup.
KEY WORDS: Trade Unions; Renewal; United States; Australia; New Zealand; United Kingdom; Canada.

Fenwick, T. (2008). Women learning in garment work: Solidarity and sociality. Adult Education Quarterly, 58(2), 110-128.

This article explores processes and possibilities for critical learning in the workplace, with a focus on workers labouring in what are often exploitive and dehumanizing conditions. The argument is based on a study of work-life learning of women, mostly new immigrants, employed long-term at an Alberta garment manufacturing plant. It is argued that their negotiations of work conditions are nested in various areas of learning associated with everyday practices, small communities, labor organizing processes, and English learning classes. These are argued to have generated solidarity through learning about sociality, resistance, and personal worth. These solidarities appear to be configured by energies of both transformation and reproduction that are threaded together and generated simultaneously as women learned to survive within the system while supporting one another in a vital interdependent social network. The discussion explores how these dynamics unfolded, and their effects on how different women positioned themselves and their knowledge.
KEY WORDS: Unions and Learning; Garment Work; Immigrant Women Workers; Solidarity; Critical Workplace Learning.

Fine, J. (2006). Worker centers: Organizing communities at the edge of the dream. Ithaca: ILR Press/Cornell University Press.

Low-wage workers in the United States face obstacles including racial and ethnic discrimination, a pervasive lack of wage enforcement, misclassification of their employment, and for some, their status as undocumented immigrants. In the past, political parties, unions, and fraternal and mutual-aid societies served as important vehicles for workers who hoped to achieve political and economic integration. As these traditional civic institutions have weakened, low-wage workers must seek new structures for mutual support. Worker centers are among the institutions to which workers turn as they strive to build vibrant communities and attain economic and political visibility. Community-based worker centers help low-wage workers gain access to social services; advocate for their own civil and human rights; and organize to improve wages, working conditions, neighborhoods, and public schools. In this path breaking book, Janice Fine identifies 137 worker centers in more than eighty cities, suburbs, and rural areas in thirty-one states. These centers, which attract workers in industries that are difficult to organize, have emerged as especially useful components of any program intended to assist immigrants and low-wage workers of color. Worker centers serve not only as organizing laboratories but also as places where immigrants and other low-wage workers can participate in civil society, tell their stories to the larger community, resist racism and anti-immigrant sentiment, and work to improve their political and economic standing.
KEY WORDS: Sociology: Industrial and Labor Relations; Political Science; Unite States; Canada; Alien Labor; Immigrants Services; Employment Agencies; Community Centers; Community Organization; United States.

Forrester, K. (2001). Modernised learning: An emerging lifelong agenda by British trade unions. Journal of Workplace Learning, 13(7/8), 318-325.

Argues that trade union education has tended to mirror the wider fortunes and complexities both within the particular union (or unions) and within the wider socio-economic environment. The present period is, arguably, one such "moment" where the conceptions and practices informing trade union education are strongly informed by wider societal considerations. This paper examines this "moment".
KEY WORDS: Trade Unions; Education; Workplace Learning.

Forrester, K. (2002). Work-related learning and the struggle for employee commitment. Studies in the Education of Adults, 34(1), 42-55.

Recent policy developments have involved adult educators and unions in work-related learning. However, an uncritical analysis of learning in the workplace risks aligning these activities with new forms of oppression and managerial control.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Employee Attitudes; Lifelong Learning; Public Policy; Research and Development; Unions.

Forrester, K. (2005). Learning for revival; British trade unions and workplace learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 27(3), 257-270.

Against a background of declining union significance and falling membership, this article reviews the recent development of trade union workplace learning in Britain. It is argued that the dominant framework within which this learning is currently undertaken is one of "employability". Instead of an employability framework, it is suggested that an educational framework informed by "democratic citizenship" better serves the need for unions and their members to engage with changes within the workplace and within the wider societal context. The first section of the article will provide a brief descriptive overview of these union learning activities in recent years. It will be argued that the focus on learning has represented an important and dynamic new area of trade union organisation and activity at workplace level. The second section of this paper will examine the dominant conceptual framework underpinning this development of learning opportunities and services for union members. It will be argued that the notion of 'employability', with its uncritical focus on skill formation, has resulted in an undue narrowness of the learning agenda. This has resulted in marginalising important aspects of trade union activity in pursuit of their wider societal objectives and aspirations.
KEY WORDS: Learning for Revival; Unions; Citizenship Education; Foreign Countries; Employment Potential; Work Environment; Experiential Learning; Job Skills; Learning Activities; Democracy; Union Members.

Forrester, K., & Payne, J. (2000). Trade union modernisation and lifelong learning. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 5(2), 153-171.

A review of labor education in Britain examines the role of expert systems and an environment characterized by risk and reflexivity. Concludes that union education is hampered by the emphasis in lifelong learning rhetoric and policy on individuals and full-time, younger learners as well as by employer reluctance to participate.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Lifelong Learning; Modernization; Public Policy; Unions; United Kingdom.

Foster, J. (2003). Class action: Building political activism among union activists. Just Labour, 4(1), 13-22.

New research into the political attitudes and behaviours of union activists challenges traditional beliefs about the prospects for politicizing unionists in Canada. This study of union activists in Alberta finds two significant results. First union activists are more politically active than the average Canadian. This challenges conventional wisdom about union activists. Second, unions can play a direct and important role in fostering political participation among their activists, a finding that has the potential to extend to the general membership. However, to be effective in mobilizing unionists politically, unions need to approach the project differently than they do at present. It is a project of action, not words, and it must be grounded in the lived experience of union workers. In particular, perceptions of class play a central role in shaping the political decisions of unionists. Relational articulations of class lead to political mobilization, and thus union actions must reflect the lived experience of being working class in Canada.
KEY WORDS: Unions; Activism; Political Mobilization; Alberta; Canada; Labour Movement; Work and Learning.

Frost, A. C. (2001). Creating and sustaining local union capabilities: The role of the national union. Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations, 56(2), 307-335.

Drawing on case study evidence from the automotive, steel, & glassmaking industries, this article examines the role played by the national union in shaping local unions' abilities to develop & sustain the capabilities critical to managing ongoing workplace restructuring. The author presents evidence suggesting the importance of five national union characteristics. These characteristics are the breadth of the national union's representational coverage; the extent of its education & training focus on new workplace issues; the resources it devotes to research on the implications of new workplace practices; the presence of multiple communication channels; & its structuring of local union representation.
KEY WORDS: Manufacturing Industries; Unions; Workplaces; Organizational Change; Employment Changes.

Fung, A., Hebb, T., Rogers, J., & Gerard, L. W. (2001). Working capital: The power of labor's pensions. Ithaca: ILR Press.

U.S. pension funds are now worth more than $7 trillion, and many people believe that the most important task for the labor movement is to harness their share of this capital and develop strategies that will help, rather than hurt, workers and unions. Working Capital challenges money managers and today's labor movement by asking how workers' hard-earned savings can be put to use in socially and economically progressive ways. Responsible management of pensions will create greater growth and prosperity in America, and the authors of Working Capital show that the long-term interests of pension plan beneficiaries are well served through a ""worker-owners"" view of the economy. This book builds on the work of the Heartland Forum supported by the United Steelworkers of America, the AFL-CIO's Center for Working Capital, and several foundations, including the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, to draw together the wisdom of a number of experts on labor's next best moves in the pension market.
KEY WORDS: Pension trusts; Investments; United States; Labor unions; Economics & Finance; Industrial and Labor Relations.

Gall, G. (Ed.). (2003). Union organizing: Campaigning for trade union recognition. London: Routledge.

After many years of indifferent decline, trade union membership is now being revitalized; strategies known as ‘union organizing’ are being used to recruit and re-energize unions around the globe. This book considers exactly how trade unions are working to do this and provides a much-needed evaluation of these rebuilding strategies. By comparing historical and contemporary case studies to assess the impact of various organizing campaigns, this book assesses the progress of unions across Europe and America. It raises key debates about the organizing culture and considers the impact of recent union recognition laws on employers and the government's Fairness at Work policy. A topical and in-depth study into the experiences of trade unions across Europe and America, this is a comprehensive and thought provoking book which is essential reading for those in the industrial relations field.
KEY WORDS: Labor Unions; United States; Great Britain.

Gereluk, W., Briton, D., & Spencer, B. (1999). Learning about labour in Canada. NALL Working Paper No. 7. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

The questions of what and how working people learn about labor organization and activity in Canada were explored through a review of available literature and face-to-face interviews with more than 30 education officers and union leaders. Unions continue to be the principal source of labor education. Of the many courses and educational experiences that unions offer their membership, steward-training courses tend to be the best developed and documented. However, steward-training courses constitute only a small portion of the labor education that is currently being made available to trade union members and staff. Many unions are offering a sophisticated and integrated educational experience that is allowing union members to learn a variety of skills and knowledge that could be recognized by the formal education system. Special events and schools range from modest 1-day affairs to week-long functions. The measure of the various courses/programs is their success in preparing union members and activists to deal with the concrete demands they face in the workplace, their union, and their community. Some unions insist that labor education be provided primarily by rank-and-file members, others deliver courses through an educational officer, and yet others have "specialists" deliver courses.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Educational Needs; Educational Opportunities; Educational Practices; Educational Quality; Educational Supply; Educational Trends; Employee Attitudes; Employees; Information Sources; Labor Demands; Labor Education; Needs Assessment; Nonformal Education; Participation; Training; Union Members; Unions.

Gereluk, W. (2001). Labour education in Canada today: A PLAR report. NALL Working Paper No. 47. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

This report provides information on the content and nature of labor education in Canada. Section A outlines the study's purposes to explain why labor education should be considered for prior learning assessment and recognition purposes. Section B describes the theoretical framework and methodology and explains the attempt to canvass a reasonably representative sample of labor education provided by and for trade unions. Section C highlights the aims and objectives of labor education, with particular reference to differing objectives of the host trade unions. Section D describes steward training and relates details of this education to functions and expectations unions typically assign to these worksite representatives. Section E completes the descriptions with an overview of content of labor education programs provided by and for Canada's unions. Section F identifies other events and learning activities provided by and for Canada's unions. Section G provides a sample of approaches taken by unions in selecting labor education participants. Section H describes procedures for choosing trainers who deliver labor education and their roles. Section I discusses delivery methods trade unions use for their labor education courses and activities and the rationale for these practices. Section J examines aspects of the labor education program of the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers' Union of Canada. Section K provides conclusions and observations.

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