An authoritative overview of the question of power in trade union strategy
Power, Strategy, and Union Resurgence
By Jane Holgate
In Arise, Jane Holgate argues that unions must revisit their understanding of power in order to regain influence and confront capital. Drawing on two decades of research and organizing experience, Holgate examines the structural inertia of today’s unions from a range of perspectives: from strategic choice, leadership and union democracy to politics, tactics and the agency afforded to rank-and-file members.
In the midst of a neoliberal era of economic crisis and political upheaval, the labor movement stands at a crossroads. Union membership is on the rise, but the ‘turn to organizing’ has largely failed to translate into meaningful gains for workers. There is considerable discussion about the lack of collectivism among workers due to casualization, gig work and precarity, yet these conditions were standard in the UK when workers built the foundations of the 19th-century trade union movement.
Drawing on history and case studies of unions developing and using power effectively, this book offers strategies for moving beyond the pessimism that prevails in much of today’s union movement. By placing power analysis back at the heart of workers’ struggle, Holgate shows us that transformational change is not only possible, but within reach.
“Jane Holgate is a brilliant thinker. By centering her thesis on power, this book contributes to our understanding of what strategies and mechanisms enable workers to stand a chance at achieving justice.”—Jane McAlevey, author of No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age
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