Study may serve as cautionary tale for AFL-CIO, new allies

Nov 11, 2013

A new Dartmouth-led study suggests the AFL-CIO's plan to partner with progressive non-union groups may be easier said than done.

The AFL-CIO's campaign to align with nontraditional allies is intended to broaden the group's influence – the proportion of American belonging to a union fell to 11.3 percent last year, the lowest figure the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has ever recorded – but the study's findings underscore the difficulties the AFL-CIO will likely face when it has to share power and negotiate objectives with its new partners.

The study, published in the journal Mobilization, looks at two of the most significant coalition movements in the last half-century, both in Charleston, S.C. Researchers compared a successful dockworkers' protest campaign (2000-2001) with a much-ballyhooed but ultimately less-successful hospital workers' strike (1969). In both cases, the disgruntled workers turned to outside groups for help. The key difference, the authors conclude, is that the hospital employees became too reliant on their partners, while the dockworkers managed to stay in control.

"The AFL-CIO's new initiative holds the promise of building a broader and more inclusive political movement, but it will be no easy task," said Marc Dixon, associate professor of sociology at Dartmouth and the paper's first author. "This study shows that labor groups working in coalition campaigns need to be able to negotiate the steep power imbalances often involved if they want to see success."

Explore further: High-tech industry big immigration bill winner

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High-tech industry big immigration bill winner

May 26, 2013

(AP)—More than any other group, the high-tech industry got big wins in an immigration bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, thanks to a concerted lobbying effort, an ideally positioned ...

AFL-CIO head flexible on taxing high-value plans

Oct 26, 2009

(AP) -- The head of the AFL-CIO said Monday he's willing to consider a tax on high-end health insurance plans to help pay for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, as long as middle-class workers ...

Nurses at dozens of Calif. hospitals set to strike

Sep 21, 2011

(AP) -- Tens of thousands of nurses at nearly three dozen hospitals in Northern and Central California are set to go on strike in a labor dispute that has hospital managers moving to call in replacement workers ...

Foxconn to widen scope of union elections

Feb 04, 2013

Taiwan-owned Foxconn Technology Group, a leading maker of Apple's iPhones and gadgets for other global brands, is widening the scope of union elections at its sprawling facilities in China.

Recommended for you

Which foods may cost you more due to Calif. drought

Apr 17, 2014

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores, and to pay higher prices ...

Performance measures for CEOs vary greatly, study finds

Apr 16, 2014

As companies file their annual proxy statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this spring, a new study by Rice University and Cornell University shows just how S&P 500 companies have ...

Investment helps keep transport up to speed

Apr 16, 2014

Greater investment in education and training for employees will be required to meet the future needs of the transport and logistics industry, according to recent reports by Monash University researchers.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.