Is There a Winning Formula for Union Organizing?

TitleIs There a Winning Formula for Union Organizing?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLepie, Jonathan
JournalEmployee Responsibilities and Rights Journal
Pagination137 - 152
Keywordslabor law, organizing, union organizing, union-busting, unions

Between 1995 and 2004, Kate Bronfenbrenner wrote several studies arguing that union organizing would be more successful if certain tactics were used. Bronfenbrenner’s methodology seemed unassailable and her opinions were influential among union leaders, but organizing outcomes did not improve. To understand why, this study asked highly successful union organizers for their views. Their responses point to an entirely different conceptualization of the organizing process. Rather than follow a certain recipe, respondents saw their first priority as building relationships of trust with workers. Then, organizers and workers together could develop tactics tailored to the particular situation. If organizing success most requires relation-building skills and creativity, then it is more important for unions to hire the right organizers than to employ a given tactical formula.