An examination of the direction of labor unions today.
The new leadership in the AFL-CIO is committed to putting the ?movement? back into the ?labor movement,? and there is now an opportunity for reflection on the role and strategy of organized labor in our society. This paper questions whether unions really matter anymore, and if they do, what their mission should be. Specifically, it asks whether there is a need to build a movement simply to represent our own members, or whether this movement have a wider role in society as a whole. Does the fate of the labor movement and workers? rights in the workplace concern more than the ranks of organized labor?
“For too long, there has been an irrational and self-defeating division of duties among progressives in the US Union workplaces, while other groups – the so-called social movements and identity groups – organize in the community. Even the term “labor movement” has been reduced to mean simply trade unions, which are supposed to focus on narrowly defined bread-and-butter workplace issues – wages and benefits. This topical and organizational division of turf misleadingly implies that there is an easy division between workplace issues and other social struggles. Furthermore, it suggests that wages and benefits are somehow unifying and other social issues are divisive (Blanton 2003). These separate spheres of influence have resulted in the sad fact that US progressives have often marched in solidarity with labor movements and workers around the world, but often fail to consider the working majority here at home.”