Unions and Social Inclusiveness: A Comparison of Changes in Union Member Attitudes

Source: Ann Shirley Leymon, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 36 no. 3, September 2011
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From the abstract:
Unions have a well-known history of social conservativism, especially regarding exclusion of women and racial minorities prior to the 1960s. Restricting membership in this way led to a smaller labor movement than was possible, reducing the potential strength of labor unions. Recent labor scholarship has hailed a union revitalization, with new progressive leadership and new organizing strategies, but the issue of growing social inclusiveness has become a secondary issue. One can observe a shift toward progressive inclusiveness in high-level union organization, but unless this shift is occurring in the membership, the impact on labor union strength will be minimal at best. This article uses longitudinal American National Election Survey data to determine if members of unions have developed increasingly favorable attitudes toward various races as well as other political categories of people over time, compared to nonmembers. Findings suggest that union members are growing increasingly inclusive at a faster rate than nonmembers.

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