Beyond Industrial Unionism

Beyond Industrial Unionism

American unions have traditionally responded to changing circumstances. If sometimes belatedly, they have transformed themselves over the past one hundred years from craft-centered organizations with guildlike characteristics to powerful enterprises for organizing mass-production and semiskilled workers into huge industrial unions. But now they seem to have stumbled. Faced with dramatic reductions in the proportion of workers who produce goods, union leaders are confronted with the task of organizing a new generation of service workers. So far, the results have not been auspicious. And public sympathy with trade unionism is at a low ebb.

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