Organizing the Unorganizable

Source: E. Tammy Kim, Dissent, Vol. 62 no. 2, Spring 2015

…To understand how a once marginal coterie of low-wage immigrant workers came to be courted by mainstream unions, one must go back to the adolescence of our globalized, outsourced, service economy. In the 1990s, a wave of small nonprofits opened, first in New York then across the country. They were called worker centers—community groups that organized underclass laborers, often of the same ethnic background, and with a focus on particular industries or neighborhoods. These groups tended to be far left and non-hierarchical, turned off by the bureaucratic bloat and corruption of large unions….