Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

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Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

Principal Investigator: David W. Livingstone
Team Members:
M. Raykov, K. Pollock, F. Antonelli

CHAPTER 4: Work and Learning [PDF]


4.7. Work and Learning and the Labour


1. Bacon, N. (1999). Union derecognition and the new human relations: A steel industry case study. Work, Employment and Society, 13(1), 1-17.


            This article provides a detailed case study of a nonunion steel company in England that adopted a comprehensive human resource management approach. Similar records of such workplaces identify benefits for employees, e.g., a perceived lack of need for union membership. A rather different picture is revealed here in a case where some gains for employees proved deceptive. The strategies taken by managers were geared toward attitudinal compliance, work intensification, & suppression of any counterbalancing trade union activity. Non-compliance was punished & management was exceptionally harsh on individuals who could not or would not fit in.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Human Relations Movement; Metal Industry; Management Styles; Personnel Policy; Compliance; England.


2. Ball, M. (2002). Engaging non-participants in formal education: Considering a contribution from trade union education. Studies in Continuing Education, 24(2), 119-131.


            A study of 66 British participants at the beginning of and 2 years into labor education revealed that 80% had left school at age 16 and had negative schooling experiences. However, continual engagement in union activities and education, opportunities to see connections between work and learning activities, and the mutual reinforcement of these activities contributed to new perspectives on learning for these formerly disaffected adults.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Educational Experience; Enrollment Influences; Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Learning Motivation; Negative Attitudes; Participation.


3. Berik, G., & Bilginsoy, C. (2000). Do unions help or hinder women in training? Apprenticeship programs in the United States. Industrial Relations, 39(4), 600-624.


            Trade unions are frequently criticized for excluding women from skilled crafts by denying them training. This article examines this argument by estimating the retention & attrition probabilities of men & women in the joint union-management & the unilateral employer-sponsored apprenticeship programs. While men, on average, have higher retention & lower attrition rates than women, joint sponsorship raises women's graduation probability above (& lowers their quit probability below) those of men or women apprentices in unilateral programs.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Females; Job Training; Apprenticeships; Vocational Education; Attrition; United States of America.


4. Berik, G., & Bilginsoy, C. (2002). Unions and women's training for the skilled trades in the U.S. The Review of Black Political Economy, 29(4), 97-122.


            Trade unions in the US have a track record of exclusionary behavior toward women & people of color who seek to enter the skilled trades via apprenticeship. This study evaluates this argument by comparing women's representation in apprenticeship programs organized with & without union participation. Using a national-level dataset on new apprentices over 1989-1995, it finds that women's share in training is higher in the union programs & that this result holds for white women, black women, & Latinas. Moreover, compared to their respective shares in the labor force, black women are better represented among new apprentices than white women.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Working Women; Apprenticeships; Job Training; Affirmative Action; Black Americans; Latin American Cultural Groups; Whites; United States of America.


5. Berik, G., & Bilginsoy, C. (2006). Still a wedge in the door: Women training for the construction trades in the U.S. International Journal of Manpower, 27(4), 321-341.


            Used are individual-level data on registered apprenticeship for 10 largest construction occupations from 31 states in the U.S. to evaluate the variations in the entry and exit of women apprentices, overall and by race/ethnicity, over the 1995-2003 period. Examined are how women's are represented among new apprentices, and their attrition and retention rates varies with individual, training program, and occupational characteristics. Women's representation among new trainees is very low and deteriorating. Findings confirm previous findings based on data for the early 1990s that program sponsorship has significant impact on women's representation and retention. Women have better chances of joining the high-skill construction workforce if they enroll in union-contractor joint programs. Joint programs feature higher shares of women in the incoming classes and higher odds of graduation in comparison with the unilateral contractor programs. The union impact on shares of enrollees is the largest for Black women and the lowest for White women, while White women have higher completion rates than Latinas and Black women. In conclusion, union sponsorship enhances women's integration into the skilled trades, but it is not sufficient. Increasing participation of women in apprenticeship and skilled workforce requires major changes in policies, priorities, and behavior of contactors, unions, and the government to actively recruit women and improve working conditions at the construction site.


            KEY WORDS: Economics; Minorities and Races; Non-labor Discrimination; Economics of Gender; Non-Labor Discrimination; Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity; Formal Training Programs; On-the-Job Training; Trade Unions; Apprenticeship Training; Skilled Trades; Women; Unions.


6. Berry, J. T. (2003). Contingent faculty in higher education: An organizing strategy and Chicago area proposal. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 63(11).


            The increasing employment of contingent (non-tenure track) faculty in U.S. higher education has become one of the major issues in higher education since the 1970s. Higher levels of activism among the contingent faculty themselves has recently become a coordinated national movement. The rich literature on contingent faculty is largely from the point of view of administrators. Minimal published works have yet attempted to set forward a comprehensive national strategy for contingent faculty organization, though the discussion has begun. This PDE draws upon 2 decades of personal experience. Current statistical data bases and published studies, as well a personal experience, were consulted in order to create a map of the workforce nationally and in more detail for Metro Chicago. Personal interviews were conducted with organizers, covering nearly all of the relevant campaigns in the Chicago area over twenty years. Interview findings are reported and discussed. The core of this PDE is a strategic plan for a social action project, namely the organization of contingent faculty. Major considerations for a national strategic plan are then applied to the Chicago area in the form of a specific proposal, along with a brief local history. The main focus of the strategy is that the particular characteristics of this workforce demand a unique combination of elements to make an effective strategy and to maximize the evident readiness of these workers for organization. The metro strategy, as it's sometimes called, must include collective bargaining with individual employers, as well as broader organization. The author describes how the metro strategy might be applied to the over 16,000 contingent faculty in Chicago. The author adds to the recent literature on new strategies for union organizing by applying the emerging principles of member mobilization and decision-making, tactical and organizational flexibility and community alliances to the situation of one of the largest groups of contingent workers. It is hoped that the study can be applied usefully by organizers and organizational leaders.


            KEY WORDS: College Faculty; Temporary Employment; Chicago, Illinois; Unionization; Labor Movements.


7. Booth, A. L., Francesconi, M., & Zoega, G. (2003). Unions, work-related training, and wages: Evidence for British men. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 57(1), 68-91.


            Using data for the years 1991-96 from the British Household Panel Survey, the authors investigate how union coverage affected work-related training & how the union-training link affected wages & wage growth for a sample of full-time men. Relative to noncovered workers, union-covered workers were more likely to receive training & also received more days of training. Among workers who received training, those with union coverage enjoyed greater returns to training & higher wage growth than did those without. While some of these results have been found in previous studies, others are new. The wage results, in particular, suggest a need for rethinking the conventional view that union wage formation in GB reduces the incentives to acquire work-related training.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Wages; Great Britain; Job Training; Workers.


8. Bratton, J. (2001). Why workers are reluctant learners: The case of the Canadian pulp and paper industry. Journal of Workplace Learning, 13(7/8), 333-343.


            Explores worker flexibility, through learning, union strategies, and resistance to learning issues of flexibility, learning, and quality are subject of much debate, negotiation, and conflict in the Canadian pulp and paper industry. A key bargaining issue for management has been to harness flexibility among the manual craft workers, to improve labour productivity. Within this context, workplace learning is not neutral or independent of day-to-day union-management relations: it is a contested issue. Learning new skills is viewed as a threat to job control and security and presents a paradox: learning new trade skills enhances individual workers' flexibility and employability but collectively weakens the union through job losses. Data were collected from pulp mills in British Columbia between 1996 and 1999 survey and qualitative data provides evidence that workers' resistance to learning is part of the contested arena of productivity and job control.


            KEY WORDS: Trade Unions; Collective Bargaining; Workplace Learning.


9. Brown, W. A., & Ryan, P. (2003). The irrelevance of trade union recognition? A comparison of two matched companies. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Department of Applied Economics.


            Two UK business services companies are compared both to each other and to their common state-owned industry background in order to assess the implications of trade union recognition and changed bargaining structure. Union recognition had been abandoned by one company under the agenda of ‘individualization’ and ‘personal contracts’ but retained by the other under the agenda of ‘partnership’. Changes in the level at which employment relationships are regulated occurred at both companies relative to their ancestral public enterprises. The similarity of the companies in terms of products, technologies and institutional history provides an approximation to a natural experiment. The evidence suggests only secondary effects from union presence upon operational attributes and economic performance, but major effects from the decentralization of employment relations, which formed part of a wider and more radical set of changes in the relevant markets, technologies, ownership structures and labour law.


            KEY WORDS: Labor Unions; Unions Recognition; Union Presence; Bargaining; Institutional Relations; Great Britain.


10. Chung, Y.-D. (2001). The two faces of unionism: A dual closure approach to contradictory behavior in U.S. labor unions. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 62(1), 346-A.


            This study examines how union organizational characteristics influence union behavior. This study starts with a criticism of Freeman and Medoff's theory of "the two faces of unionism." I show that union membership exclusion is related to union usurpation, i.e., union organizing drives. Organized labor's contradictory behavior (exclusionary behaviors undermining usurpationary activities) is argued to be a primary cause of union decline in the U.S. Union bureaucracy and unresponsive union leadership have been critical barriers to strengthening worker power and to enhancing class solidarity among the working class. The growth of union bureaucracy controlled by union leadership and the decline of union democracy by the rank-and-file weakened class solidarity among the working class and precipitated the withering of the labor movement. This model of union dual closure as a new paradigm for unionism provides an infrastructure for sociological theorizing in the analysis of organized labor's contradictory behavior. The conceptualization of union dual closure was mainly derived from a historical analysis from the mid-nineteenth century to the modern period. I found that there have existed two different types of union dual closure: positive union dual closure and negative union dual closure. This study applied these historical insights to develop a new model of the labor movement. Based on this theory building, I examined the reciprocal relationships between contemporary measures of exclusion and usurpation for the population of 111 U.S. national unions in 1990. Findings show that union democracy and rank-and-file participation greatly increase usurpationary activities. These results indicate that union democracy, rank-and-file internal voice, and the inclusion of all the levels of the working class are a catalyst for creating a robust labor movement. My analyses generally support the theory of negative union dual closure. In order to build a strong labor movement, it is ideal for all unions to pursue a collective voice-usurpation model, which is based on the theory of negative union dual closure. This implies that responsive union leadership and active rank-and-file involvement in union activities are essential and must develop further in order to revitalize the U.S. labor movement.


            KEY WORDS: United States of America; Unions; Organizational Behavior; Unionization; Working Class; Labor Movements; Social Closure.


11. Clark, P. F. (2000). Building more effective unions. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


            Employers have long turned to behavioral science for guidance on making their organizations more effective. Labor scholar Paul F. Clark believes union leaders should also take advantage of the valuable discoveries made in this field, and he offers a straightforward account of how they can do so. Much of the behavioral science research relevant to unions relies on complex statistical analyses and is disseminated through scholarly journals. This clearly written book makes the findings of behavioral science accessible to those committed to building a stronger labor movement. It describes behavioral science's understanding of such topics as organizational commitment and member participation and suggests how this knowledge can best be applied to unions. Building More Effective Unions offers practical strategies unions can use to their advantage in a number of areas, including: -Union participation -Organization and retention -Union orientation and socialization -Political action -Grievance procedures -Information and communications -Union image-building -Union culture -Union leadership The book features examples of how unions and their leaders have benefited from putting the principles of behavioral science into practice.


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


12. 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.


13. 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.


14. 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.


15. 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 address 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.


16. 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.


17. 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.


18. 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.


19. 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.


20. 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.


21. 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.


22. 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.


23. 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.


24. 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.



25. 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.


26. 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.


27. 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.



28. 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.


29. Green, F., Machin, S., & Wilkinson, D. (1999). Trade unions and training practices in British workplaces. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 52(2), 179-195.


            British labor-force survey data indicated that the probability of receiving training and the amount of training received were substantially higher in unionized workplaces.


            KEY WORDS: Employment Practices; Foreign Countries; On-the-Job Training; Unions.


30. Grossfeld, J., & Podesta, J. D. (2005). A temporary fix. The American Prospect [Princeton], 16(3), 15-17.


            The White House and congressional conservatives has decided to make the approaching four years memorable, and it is easy to miss some of their less conspicuous exploits. Many of those have taken place at the National Labor Relations Board, which has issued multiple decisions that are costing millions of Americans their best chance to join the middle class. A fast growing contingent workforce could benefit from labor and management partnerships, but the NLRB stands in the way.


            KEY WORDS: Workforce; Labor Relations; Temporary Employment; Labor Unions; United States; US; National Labor Relations Board; NLRB.


31. Heery, E., Conley, H., Delbridge, R., & Stewart, P. (2004). Beyond the enterprise: trade union representation of freelances in the UK. Human Resource Management Journal [London], 14(2), 20-35.


            A growing interest in methods that trade unions can use to organize and represent the substantial proportion of the workforce engaged in "contingent work." Examined are trade union representation of self-employed freelances in the UK. Empirical material is given from case studies of the media and entertainment unions, with their long history of representing freelances, and more recently established unions representing freelance tour guides, interpreters, and translators. Analysis suggest that there is a distinctive form of freelance unionism in the UK which is distinguished by organizing and representing workers in the external labour market where they seek work and develop a mobile career. This orientation "beyond the enterprise" distinguishes freelance unionism from the dominant form of unionism in Britain.


            KEY WORDS: Entertainment Industry; Freelance; Labor Unions; Studies; Recreation; Western Europe; Experimental/Theoretical; Labor Relations; United Kingdom.


32. Huzzard, T., Gregory, D., & Scott, R. (Eds.). (2004). Strategic unionism and partnership. Boxing or dancing? Oxford: Oxford University Press.


            How can trade unions make sense of social partnership? What are the implications of partnership for union renewal? This volume takes an international perspective to explore these issues based on an ongoing dialogue between researchers and union practitioners in eight countries. The authors develop the metaphors “boxing” and “dancing” to denote contrasting strategic choices to the employment relationship, yet argue that neither approach alone can offer an exclusive trajectory for union development. The authors conclude by identifying lessons for union renewal.


            KEY WORDS: Unionization; Labour Economics; Industrial Relations.


33. Hyman, R. (2002). The future of unions. Just Labour, 1, 7-15.


            For twenty years now, it has been common to refer to a crisis of trade unionism. What the future holds for labour movements – or indeed, whether they even have a future – seems increasingly uncertain. For many trade unionists as well as academics, unions in most countries appear as victims of external forces outside their control, and often also of their own conservative inertia. However, unions hold the capacity to shape their own future. In all countries, they possess powerful traditions and inherited structures; these all too frequently constitute a straitjacket, but can also provide a resource for creative initiative.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Labour; Globalization.


34. Jackson, A. (2005). Work and labour in Canada: Critical issues. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press.


            This original and timely book focuses on critical issues surrounding work and labour in Canada. It is an ideal text for sociology of work courses, which often integrate labour, industry, and the global economy from a Canadian perspective. This book will also be relevant to a wide range of courses in Labour Studies and Industrial Relations programs across Canada. Outside of the academy, policy makers and labour activists will be keenly interested in this new book.


            The thesis is change. Work and Labour in Canada examines changes in the labour market, and in workplaces, with a strong empirical component based upon recent Statistics Canada data. The chapters are tailored to an undergraduate audience. They are masterfully written from a labour perspective - that is, concerned with the impacts of changes on workers - but also written on the basis of empirical evidence with supporting summaries of the academic research literature.


            KEY WORDS: Work; Labour; Canada; Sociology of Work; Labour Studies; Industrial Relations; Employment Policy; Workplace Change; Labour Market.


35. Jarley, P., Harley, B., & Hall, R. (2002). Innovation in Australian trade unions. Industrial Relations, 41(2), 228-248.


            Building on the study of innovation in American national unions, this article specifies & tests a model of the determinants of innovation in Australian trade unions. The results generally support the principal Delaney, Jarley, & Fiorito (1996) finding that the degree of union innovative activity is positively associated with rationalization & size - an indicator of resource availability. Several contrasts between the Australian & American findings are also noted & discussed.


            KEY WORDS: Innovations; Unions; Australia; United States of America; Rationalization; Organization Size.


36. Kerchner, C. T., Koppich, J. E., & Weeres, J. G. (1998). Taking charge of quality. How teachers and unions can revitalize schools. An introduction and companion to "United mind workers". California: Jossey-Bass.


            This book suggests that teachers and teacher unions should take the lead in making changes to promote educational quality and prepare students for the 21st century, where knowledge rather than industry will be the organizing principle. Part 1, "A Call to Action," describes how American society is changing and how these shifts necessitate the transformation of American education. It discusses educational challenges and what teachers and unions can do to deal with the challenges. Part 2, "A Commitment to Quality," explores the role that teachers and unions must take in bringing about educational change, discussing how to improve the craft of teaching, upgrade educational standards, and evaluate the work of peers. Part 3, "Organizing Around Transforming Schools," lays out a proposal for how unions can organize around a primary commitment to improving education. It discusses new contracting strategies, hiring and rewarding teachers, creating more career flexibility for teachers, and what teachers can do now to begin the process of change.


            KEY WORDS: Change Strategies; Educational Change; Educational Improvement; Educational Quality; Elementary/ Secondary Education; Peer Evaluation; Public Education; Standards; Teacher Associations; Teacher Competencies; Teacher Evaluation; Teacher Role; Teachers; Unions.


37. Lawrence, M., & Walters, M. (2003). How unions help all workers. Briefing Paper 143. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.


            Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and nonunionized workers. This report presents current data on unions’ effect on wages, fringe benefits, total compensation, pay inequality, and workplace protections.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Compensations; Work Lives; Unionized Workers; Nonunionized Workers; Wages; Fringe Benefits; Pay Inequality; Workplace Protections.


38. Menezes-Filho, N. A., & Van Reenen, J. (2003). Unions and innovation: A survey of the theory and empirical evidence. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research.


            This paper surveys the economic literature on the impact of trade unions on innovation. There are many theoretical routes through which unions may have an effect on innovation, for example through their effects on relative factor prices, profitability and their attitudes towards the introduction of new technology. Recent theoretical work has focused on the possibility that trade unions will “hold up” firms by expropriating sunk R&D (research and development) investments through demanding higher rewards. The hold up problem may be mitigated (or exacerbated) by strategic incentives to compete in R&D races. In an attempt to resolve the theoretical ambiguity we focus on surveying recent micro-econometric results in the areas of R&D, innovation, technological diffusion and productivity growth. North American results find consistently strong and negative impacts of unions on R&D. By contrast, European studies (mainly in the UK) generally do not uncover negative effects of unions on R&D. There is no consensus of the effects of unions on our other main measures: technological diffusion, innovation or productivity growth even in the North American studies. These cross-country differences in the R&D impact of unions could represent either unsolved econometric problems or genuine institutional differences between nations in union attitudes and ability to bargain. We suspect the latter is the main reason.


            KEY WORDS: Labor Unions; Technological Innovations; Research; Industrial Relations.


39. Milkman, R., & Voss, K. (Eds.). (2004). Rebuilding labor: Organizing and organizers in the new union movement. Ithaca: ILR Press.


            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.


            KEY WORDS: Sociology; Labor Industrial; Labor Relations.


40. Payne, J. (2001). Lifelong learning: A national trade union strategy in a global economy. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 20(5), 378-392.


            Addresses the concepts of modernization and risk society in relation to trade unions. Discusses the role of unions in education and training. Argues the need for a coherent union strategy regarding education and places the discussion within the context of globalization.


            KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Lifelong Learning; Modernization; Unions; Global Economy; United Kingdom.


41. Payne, J. (2001). What do trade unions want from lifelong learning? Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 6(3), 355-373.


            Analysis of British government, employer, and union policies on lifelong learning reveals different emphases. A case study of a union-sponsored workplace basic skills program illustrates the competing agendas of competitiveness, equality, and union organizing. The role of further research to influence policy and practice was emphasized.


            KEY WORDS: Basic Skills; Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Labor Relations; Lifelong Learning; Public Policy; Unions; United Kingdom.


42. Probert, B., Ewer, P., & Whiting, K. (2000). Work versus life: Union strategies reconsidered. Labour & Industry, 11(1), 23-47.


            The findings of two major research projects examining the tensions between employees' lives at and outside of work are discussed. Both studies were based on large scale survey data and focus group discussions in finance and education sectors. In spite of improved flexible working provisions and policies in both industries, balancing work and family is becoming more difficult. Work intensification, restructure and pressure to work longer hours combined with uncooperative management attitudes towards employee use of entitlements, even when good provisions exist, exacerbate the difficulties. Employee ignorance of entitlements also exists. Strategies to combat these problems, such as legislative action to provide for citizenship rights, are canvassed.


            KEY WORDS: Finance Sector Union; Australian Education; Union; Work; Life; Flexible Entitlements; Paid Maternity Leave; Family Leave; Part-Time Work; Job-Sharing; Working Day; Working Hours; Work Intensification.


43. Rose, J. B., & Chaison, G. N. (2001). Unionism in Canada and the United States in the 21st century: The prospects for revival. Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations, 56(1), 34-65.


            Based on a review & comparison of recent developments in organizing, collective bargaining, & political action, this paper considers the potential for union revival in Canada & the US. Although unions have devoted considerable energy & resources to new initiatives, the overall evidence leads us to generally pessimistic conclusions. The level & direction of union density rates indicates the two labor movements lack the institutional frameworks & public policies to achieve sustained revival. Significant gains in union membership & density levels will require nothing less than a paradigm shift in the industrial relations systems: a broadening of the scope & depth of membership recruitment, workplace representation, & political activities.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Labor Movements; United States of America; Unionization; Collective Bargaining; Political Action; Canada.


44. Rubinstein, S. A., & Kochan, T. A. (2001). Learning from Saturn: Possibilities for corporate governance and employee relations. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


            The last two decades of the twentieth century were a tumultuous time of innovation for business and labor. Perhaps the boldest and most far-reaching experiment in industry was the creation of the Saturn Corporation. Working together as partners, the UAW and General Motors built a new small car in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with American suppliers and American workers. Saturn's locally designed manufacturing system featured self-directed teams and the integration of union representatives into management's strategic and operational decision-making processes. Saul A. Rubinstein and Thomas A. Kochan have followed the Saturn story since its beginning in 1983. Through surveys as well as hundreds of interviews with company managers, union representatives, and employees, and with leaders of GM and the UAW, they trace the history of, and the lessons to be learned from, this "Different Kind of Company." The Saturn experiment embodied a new concept of labor-management relations, management, and organizational governance. Has it been a success or a failure? Is it relevant in the current industrial environment? What effect has it had on GM and the UAW? The authors resist overly simplistic conclusions; Saturn's strengths and limitations must be fairly assessed before the company's experience can provide lessons on the future of unions, labor-management relations, work organization, and corporate governance.


            KEY WORDS: Saturn Corporation; Automobile Industry; Trade Unions; United States; Management; Employee Participation; International Union; United Automobile Workers of America (CIO); Economics & Finance; Industrial and Labor Relations; Business Management; Human Resources.


45. Salt, B. (2000). Factors enabling and constraining worker education programs' responses to neo-liberal globalisation. Studies in Continuing Education, 22(1), 115-144.


            Analysis of 18 worker education programs in several countries found that constraints of neoliberal globalization (funding, university-union relations, lack of grassroots outreach) outweigh enablers (commitment, technology, political changes, increased consciousness). Although constraints hamper union challenges to transnational corporations, the potential for a golden age of worker education exists.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Corporations; Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Unions; Globalization; Neoliberalism.


46. Salt, B., Cervero, R. M., & Herod, A. (2000). Workers' education and neoliberal globalization: An adequate response to transnational corporations? Adult Education Quarterly, 51(1), 9-31.


            Analysis of 10 worker education programs indicated that their responses to globalization ranged from accommodation to transformative learning. There was no consensus on whose interests were served by globalization. Some programs promoted international solidarity, which can challenge the dominance of neoliberalism. The disunified provision of worker education hampers this effort.


            KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Course Content; Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Unions; Globalization; Multinational Corporations; Neoliberalism.


47. Sawchuk, P. H. (2001). Trade union-based workplace learning: A case study in workplace reorganization and worker knowledge production. Journal of Workplace Learning, 13(7-8), 344-351.


            A case study of Canada's telecommunications industry found the union engaged in education and research that helped build the potential for workplace democracy. However, scarce resources for these activities and management concerns about worker empowerment constrained progressive change.


            KEY WORDS: Democracy; Foreign Countries; Labor Education; Labor Relations; Organizational Change; Telecommunications; Unions; Workplace Learning.


48. Sawchuk, P. H. (2001). Online learning for labour movement activists. NALL Working Paper No. 46. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:


            A study explored informal learning in relation to online communications and working class people's use of computers as a socially situated practice rooted in collective, communal relationships. It drew on analysis of online learning workshop participation in specially initiated sessions among Canadian labor activist/educators. Findings were based on analysis of interview and survey data and content and interaction analysis of online postings. Survey data indicated participants had computer literacy levels exceeding those of the general population; the majority had access to home and/or workplace computers for workshop participation; and communication with participants and non-participants beyond the formal structure of the workshop was crucial. Interviews showed a better understanding was needed of the dynamics of informal learning in virtual space; key barriers to online learning among activist/educators were resources, time, distance, and extensive reading and writing requirements; and a less obvious barrier concerned "communication literacy," a basic appreciation of the mechanics of interaction, turn-taking, and explicit framing and re-framing of the situation. Strong evidence suggested online learning could be a valuable addition to the labor movement's education/ communication capacity, an important part of which revolved around recognition of informal learning, tacit dimensions of participation, broader context of participants' lives, and linkages between the online and offline worlds.


            KEY WORDS: Activism; Adult Education; Communication Skills; Computer Assisted Instruction; Computer Attitudes; Computer Literacy; Developed Nations; Educational Research; Foreign Countries; Informal Education; Interaction; Labor Education; Online Courses; Online Systems; Telecommunications; Unions; Working Class; Workshops.


49. Sawchuk, P. H. (2003). The ‘unionization effect’ among adult computer learners. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24(5), 637-648.


            Findings from qualitative & quantitative research in Canada are combined to explore the links between adult participation in progressive trade unionism & patterns of learning. Progressive trade unionism is defined partially by an organization's commitment to member education & the effective “buffering' of supervisory discipline within the labor process. With a focus on computer learning specifically, the data suggest that involvement in such organizations & community formations encourages different subjective appreciation for learning & education, more effective informal learning practice, as well as greater access to material resources & greater involvement in formalized courses. Informal learning networks among manufacturing workers are described comparatively. Central to this effect is the formation of a proletarian public sphere articulated by culturally & materially stable forms of class-based community.


            KEY WORDS: Unionization; Adult Education; Learning; Computers; Industrial Workers; Ontario.


50. Spencer, B. (2002). Unions and learning in a global economy: International and comparative perspectives. Toronto: Thomson Educational.


            Labour education is one of the most important forms of adult education, and in many countries it attracts more participants than any other form of non-vocational adult education. But it is also a field that is often under-reported in discussions about adult learning, labour relations or generally in discussions about the role of unions in society.


            With contributions from eight different countries, this is the first book to offer international and comparative perspectives on labour education. It provides context, discusses issues and examples, and reports on new initiatives, programming and courses. The authors are leading labour and adult educators and all have union and labour relations backgrounds.


            This book will be of special interest to labour educators, union officials and members; and those working in the field of industrial relations and applied economics. Students of adult education will draw from it a deeper understanding of the contribution of labour education and the role it will continue to play in the twenty-first century.


            KEY WORDS: Labor Unions; Labour Education; Adult Education; Globalization.


51. Taylor, J. (2001). Union learning: Canadian labour education in the twentieth century. Toronto: Thompson Educational.


            Over 100,000 Canadian workers participate annually in educational programs conducted by their union or the broader labour organizations to which their union belongs. Union-based education is the most significant nonvocational education available to working people. This activity has been going on for decades, and Jeffery Taylor's Union Learning: Canadian Labour Education in the Twentieth Century is the first comprehensive history of it.


            Union Learning chronicles the rise and decline of the Workers' Educational Association, the development of internal union educational programs, the consolidation of the Canadian Labour Congress's educational system after 1956, the origin and growth of the Labour College of Canada, and the patchy history of university and college involvement in labour education. Taylor argues that a new emphasis on broad-based and activist education today promises to rekindle the sense of an educational movement that was present in the labour movement in the 1930s and 1940s.


            KEY WORDS: Labor Unions; Education; Canada; History; Working Class.



52. Wallerstein, M. (2000). Unions in decline? What has changed and why. Annual Review of Political Science, 3, 355-377.


            From 1950 to 1980, labor markets grew increasingly organized in advanced industrial societies. Union membership in most countries expanded at a faster rate than the labor force, centralized wage setting became more common, and union members became increasingly concentrated in a small number of large unions. From 1980 to 1992, however, union density fell on average, and centralized wage setting became rare. Only union concentration increased in the 1980s. Existing theories of union organization and collective bargaining institutions largely explain both the trends over time and much of the cross-national variation from 1950 to 1980, but they fail to account for the dramatic declines in union strength that some (but not all) countries have experienced since 1980.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Labour; Globalization.


53. Wills, J. (2003). Geographies of organised labour: The reinvention of trade unionism in millenial Britain. Swindon: Economic and Social Research Council.


            The British trade union movement is at a cross-roads and this fellowship research seeks to map current and future developments. After two decades of decline British unions are refocusing on organising, seeking workplace renewal through local activism and/or partnership agreements with employers. Taking a geographical perspective, this research will explore the extent to which these new developments vary across Britain and the implications this has for the trade union movement, employers and the national economy. Moreover, by undertaking qualitative research into union renewal in particular places, this fellowship will look at the degree to which new unionism and partnership complement and/or contradict one another in practice. The British trade unions have recognised the need to change their cultures and structures of organisation if they are to survive into the next millennium: this research is designed to chart their progress in this endeavour.


            KEY WORDS: Trade Union; British Trade Union Movement; Union Renewal; Activism; Partnership; Employers; Geographical Perspective.


54. Worthen, H., & Haynes, A. (2003). Getting in: The experience of minority graduates of the building bridges project pre-apprenticeship class. Labor Studies Journal, 28(1), 31-52.


            The Chicago-area Building Bridges Project is a cooperative effort involving construction trades unions, churches in minority communities, & the Chicago Interfaith Committee. Goals of the project are to increase awareness of union apprenticeship programs in minority communities, broaden access to those programs, & organize construction work in these same communities. This study focuses on the experience of graduates of the Building Bridges Project preapprenticeship class as they apply to apprenticeship programs. It reports the ongoing negotiations among partners in the project as they identify, explain, &, in some cases, address factors that emerge as barriers to access to those programs. It argues that the key factor in the success of the project is that it is guided by the primary goal of organizing.


            KEY WORDS: Chicago, Illinois; Apprenticeships; Minority Groups; Unions; Community Involvement; Access; Outreach Programs; Graduates; Construction Industry.



55. Zeitlin, M., & Weyher, L. F. (2001). "Black and white, unite and fight": Interracial working-class solidarity and racial employment equality. American Journal of Sociology, 107(2), 430-467.


            How do the policies & practices of rival workers' organizations affect the level of racial inequality under advanced capitalism? This article addresses this theoretical question by assessing how the interracial unions of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, as opposed to the racially exclusionist affiliates of the American Federation of Labor, affected the level of employment equality between black & white workers during the 1940s. The study finds that in the 37 non-southern states, & especially in the 15 highly unionized states, the stronger the CIO unions were, the more equal were the reductions in the unemployment rates of white & black workers, 1940-1950.


            KEY WORDS: Unions; Unemployment Rates; Black White Differences; Social Inequality; Working Class; United States of America; Black White Relations.




About the CFI Project

1. General Resources
for Work & Learning

2. Work

3. Learning

4. Work & Learning

   4.1 General Perspectives

   4.2 Formal Training

   4.3 Informal Learning

   4.4 Unpaid Work

   4.5 Education-Job Match

   4.6 Power Relations

   4.7 Labour Unions

   4.8 School-to-Work


   4.9 Life Course Learning

5. Other Topics in
Learning & Work


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