Saturday, November 13, 2004

union-a-go-go

1. From the Silicon Valley guilds Benson writes about to the "open-source unionism" advocated by Joel Rogers, there's a sense of the union becoming less of an agent for change and more of a career training center/social group/symbol. Yet there seems to be some optimism and enthusiasm about this as the future face of unionism. Is it false hope? If you don't have collective bargaining, what do you have that makes a real difference in the lives of workers?

2. Let's say we had us a genuine, organized, fully funded collaborative effort involving all American unions to unionize Wal-Mart. How could this movement work with international Wal-Mart unions to improve its chances for success? In general, how can union organizing become more global in nature, and what kinds of results might we expect?

3. The idea that technology and information workers aren't usually a good fit for unionization efforts has come up a number of times this semester in the readings. Whether because of tenuous professional status of the workers, or the instability of the labor market in this field, or because workers are employing "exit strategy" rather than "voice strategy," the traditional union model doesn't work as well in this field. What will unions need to do to fit this labor force? Do these workers even have any desire to unionize?

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