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A.1. Campaigns by Workers

Volume Two -> A. Campaigns for Social and Economic Justice -> A.1. Campaigns by Workers


The move towards a global neoliberal economy from the 1970s has created new problems for trade unions. One logical response has been to try to maintain and extend international solidarity between unions (though sometimes national economic interests may be in conflict) and to extend transnational cooperation between trade unions and social movements. A second important response has been to focus on creating local solidarity: in the move towards ‘community unionism’ workers have cooperated with local civil society groups, and often other unions, to support activism by a vulnerable workforce. For analyses of both responses see:

Banks, Andy, The Power and Promise of Community Unionism, Labor Research Review, Vol. 1, issue 18, 1991, pp. -17

Discusses the ‘Justice for Janitors’ campaign in Los Angeles from 1986-1990 and success in reaching out to the immigrant community.

Bieler, Andreas ; Lindberg, Ingemar, Global Restructuring, Labour and the Challenges for Transnational Solidarity, London, Routledge, 2011, pp. 280

A range of transnational case studies, including cooperation between unions in developing and developed countries, illustrate problems and possibilities of solidarity.

Fine, Janice, Community Unions and the Revival of the American Labor Movement, Politics and Society, Vol. 33, issue 1, 2005, pp. 153-199

Greenwood, Ian ; McBride, Jo, Community Unionism: A Comparative Analysis of Concepts and Contexts, Basingstoke, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009, pp. 264

Explores the diverse meanings of community unionism, provides case studies from the UK – the ‘London’s living wage’ campaign, and activism by black and minority workers and migrant workers – and from Japan, Australia and the US.

Woods, Alex, Winning at Walmart, Red Pepper, 2013, pp. 45-47

On the campaign by OUR Walmart against the retail giant in USA in 2012, when non-unionized workers mobilized across the country with support from local communities, using blockades as well as brief strikes.