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A return to their social movement roots union organizing efforts in the late twentieth century /

by Martin, Andrew William.

Abstract (Summary)
The objective of the following thesis is to explore organizing efforts in the 1990s by drawing upon social movement and organizational theory to analyze the organizing activities of a sample of local labor unions from 1990-2001. I begin by placing the 1990s in historical context, demonstrating that recent efforts to revitalize the movement are similar to other periods of debate in the history of the movement. It appears that certain processes, notably existing leadership’s desire to remain in control of the movement, have prevented significant change in organizing. I then explore the mechanisms unions have at their disposal to recruit new members in the 1990s, which include the National Labor Relations Board certification election and the corporate campaign. As unions move towards an increasingly conflictual relationship with firms, they have adopted the corporate campaign to overcome the weaknesses of the certification election. Data from the 70 unions indicates that although the NLRB is used much more frequently by unions, nearly as many workers are organized through corporate campaigns. The reason for this is twofold: 1) corporate campaigns have a much higher success rate, and 2) the typical corporate campaign involves significantly more workers than the average NLRB election. To examine various organizing processes, including repertoire choice and success, I first draw upon resource mobilization theory, using the unique circumstances surrounding union organizing to expand this perspective. I find that the sources of endogenous resources, including the parent organization, and, to a lesser extent, membership, affect the type of tactic used, but not the outcomes. Human resources devoted to organizing have a strong effect on the rate of corporate campaigns and their outcomes, but no effect on NLRB elections, except for unions that use both tactics. Leadership indicators were also employed to analyze resources devoted to organizing, repertoire use, and outcomes. In general, bureaucratic structures had lower rates of organizing, as did unions with large staff. The results indicate the importance of the local union in the organizing process. iii
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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