Understanding Union Power: Resources and Capabilities for Renewing Union Capacity

TitleUnderstanding Union Power: Resources and Capabilities for Renewing Union Capacity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLévesque, Christian, and Murray, Gregor
Pagination333 - 350
Date Published2010///
Keywordsdeliberative vitality, framing, globalization, learning, power resources, strategic capabilities, union power, union renewal

Power is at the core of current debates over the future of trade unionism. This article provides a framework to assess the power resources and strategic capabilities central to union capacity building. We identify four key power resources: internal solidarity; network embeddedness; narrative resources that frame understandings and union actions; and infrastructural resources (material, human, processes, policies and programmes). Resources alone are not enough; unions must also be capable of using them. We identify four strategic capabilities: intermediating between contending interests to foster collaborative action and to activate networks; framing; articulating actions over time and space; and learning. Much experimentation and research on the interactions between these resources and capabilities in particular contexts is required to advance our understanding of the renewal of union power.