Mobilizing the Unorganized: Is “Working America” the Way Forward?

Source: Amy Dean, New Labor Forum, Vol. 21 no. 1, Winter 2012
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Given the dramatic decline of union membership, the U.S. labor movement needs to reach out to a broader base of working- and middle-class Americans. Now more than ever, nonunion workers need an advocate, within both the economic and political realms.

This idea is at the heart of Working America, a national initiative established in 2003 as the “community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.” Working America now claims more than three million members. Eight years after its creation, the organization has demonstrated some impressive capabilities; but, at the same time, it raises questions about the limitations of labor’s vision in using community outreach and organizing to build an inclusive base of power….

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