Careful What You Wish For: A Critical Appraisal of Proposals to Rebuild the Labor Movement

Source: Lance Compa, New Labor Forum, Vol. 24 no. 3, Fall 2015
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From the abstract:
Alarmed at declining union density and frustrated with the National Labor Relations Act, many worker advocates want to ditch the NLRA, forsake traditional unions, and start the labor movement afresh. Ideas include making “Alt-labor” a new launching pad; replacing face-to-face union building with high-volume digital organizing; applying the Civil Rights Act to union activity; adopting “members-only” bargaining alongside majority rule and exclusive representation; letting unions make non-members pay for handling their grievances; and even conceding a national “right-to-work” law so unions will try harder to win workers’ support.

Social movements should always examine new strategies. But they should not let novelty overwhelm judgment. Many of these new ideas are clever in theory, but in practice would undermine unions and shift more power to employers and anti-union political forces.