The Rise and Fall of Industrial Unionism

TitleThe Rise and Fall of Industrial Unionism
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsVisser, Jelle
JournalTransfer: European Review of Labour and Research
Pagination129 - 141
Keywordsindustrial decline, industrial unionism, industrial unions, sector organization, sectoral bargaining, trade union structure, trade unionism, union organizing

Measured by its achievements, industrial unionism represented the high point in the history of 20th century trade unions. This article analyses the defining characteristics and organizing model of industrial unions and argues that changes both in the labor market, in particular the decline of industry, and in union organizing and sectoral bargaining have led to the ‘fall’ of the industrial union. The article ends with some suggestions with regard to the spirit and agenda of the post-industrial union.