The Changing Shape of Unions and Working Class Organizations: Lessons from North America and Europe

Source: Immanuel Ness, WorkingUSA, Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2012
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This issue is devoted to a historical and comparative assessment of labor working class history from the rise of the Keynesian welfare state that emerged in North America and Europe to address the capitalist crisis of under-consumption, or as Marx put it, overproduction. The radical and insurgent impulses of impoverished working classes in the advanced capitalist countries were addressed through a range of social policies from the 1930s to the 1960s that since the mid-1970s have been unraveled through neoclassical economics, or what is commonly known as neoliberalism. Yet even as the welfare state has been significantly eroded, workers and organizers have continued to wage campaigns to defend their interests. The articles examine the opportunities and challenges that emerged through a period that saw the rise and decline of leftist ideological currents within the political landscape and its effect on organized labor movements and the trade unions that were established following the establishment of national laws defending workers’ rights….
…The articles in this issue examine a range of histories and case studies since the end of World War II. These histories and case studies offer insightful and compelling narratives of experiences from the Americas to Europe. We hope that these studies will provide historical background to analyze the current predicament and possibilities for advancing workers rights in the future….

Articles include:
A Renegade Union: Organizing In The Service And Distributive Industries, Some Lessons From The Past by Lisa Phillips
The Chicago Couriers Union, 2003-2010: A Case Study In Solidarity Unionism by Colin Bossen
Why We Need A Survey Of Unions by Jack Fiorito and Gregor Gall
Judging Work: What Law Sees Or Does Not See by Ellen Dannin
Who Is The Union? Two Studies In Labor Patriotism And Shop-Floor Dissent by Steve Early

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