Labor’s Conundrum: Growth vs. Standards

Source: Max Fraser, New Labor Forum, Vol. 18 no. 1, Winter 2009
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The ongoing feud between the SEIU and UHW is a dramatic outgrowth of a broader debate that dates at least to 2005, when Stern and the SEIU led a cohort of five unions out of the AFL-CIO with promises to reverse declining union membership through a renewed emphasis on organizing. Since then, critics have raised concerns that a singular focus on growth risks making the union movement less responsive to the rank-and-file members that are at its core. No one has been targeted more frequently for this criticism than Stern, whose leadership style and unorthodox corporate alliances have frustrated longtime supporters in and out of the movement–even as he has presided over the most dynamic, fastest growing, and (many would argue) most progressive union in the country.
Related:
– Will Growth or Standards Build a Mass Movement? A Response to Fraser
Source: Stephen Lerner, New Labor Forum, Vol. 18 no. 1, Winter 2009
(subscription required)
– In Defense of Standards: A Response to Fraser
Source: John Borsos, New Labor Forum, Vol. 18 no. 1, Winter 2009
(subscription required)

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