Union Organizing and Labor Outreach in the Contemporary United States

TitleUnion Organizing and Labor Outreach in the Contemporary United States
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsDixon, Marc
JournalSociology Compass
Pagination1183 - 1190
Keywordslabor outreach, organizing strategies, union organizing

Despite their long decline, labor unions increasingly find themselves in the news. From the spirited debate over income inequality, to fights over minimum wage and the unlikely mobilization of fast food workers at the very bottom of the American labor market, labor issues are of great public interest. In this article, I review scholarship on contemporary union organizing and outreach activity. This work suggests that while innovative organizing and outreach strategies, sometimes lumped together under the rubric of “social movement unionism” and “alt-labor,” are demonstrated to be effective in advancing union causes, only a handful of unions appear to have the will and resources to utilize them. Moreover, while the implementation of new organizing and outreach strategies has been uneven and has not boosted union membership nationally, organized resistance to unions, from court rooms to state legislatures, has increased substantially.