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Community Unionism and Work Councils.docx

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Labour Studies
Harry John

Community Unionism - Alliances between trade unions and community groups to organized the unorganized, support autonomous workers’ organizations like workers’ centers Stamford Organizing Project Living Wage Campaigns WORC – The Workers’ Organizing & Resource Centre in Winnipeg J. Fine: “A Marriage Made in Heaven? Mismatches and Misunderstandings between Worker Centres and Unions” - Community groups spring up rapidly in the 90s - should be a match made in heaven for trade unions 1. Structures - unions have exclusive membership and mandatory dues - Can only get in the union if you are a worker in a particular work force that is unionized - Workers centres are different, most of the funding and budget come from private foundations, and the member – reluctant to make any formal membership or make members pay dues (not just make you volunteer at the workers center) participation is voluntary - Trade unions certified by an industry or a workplace, workers centers are geographically and ethically rooted - Most unions are centered in larger workplace, workers center is small - Big structural differences 2. Cultures - not formal structures, very flat (not hierarchical) - whereas in a union there is hierarchies and routines - workers centers see unions as disconnected from the community - unions see workers center as disorganized 3. Ideologies - unions must protect self-interests - workers centers don’t have to protect (staff, hierarchies, etc) - workers centers concerned about the politics of social reproduction o shelter, food, everything required to reproduce family etc. 3 broad sources of conflict between workers centers and trade unions - Day labourers  people standing on corners begging for work - Workers centers filled with day labourers – many latinos ---------------- Western European Labour Relations Framework and the Labour Movement - Differing institutional context/framework o Choice versus voice (Roy Adams)  Choice – north America  We view employees of having a choice of whether they have any say in the workplace  If we wana have a trade union, you can get a majority and they will be represented by a trade union  If they get majority, they have say in working conditions etc  Voice – western Europe  Much greater chance to have voice and representation in workplace  Don’t need a majority to have union  If workers want to be represented they will  Unions negotiate on behalf of workers who want them to German Dual System of Interest Representation 1. Unions and comprehensive collective bargaining a. The unions organize collective bargaining agreements b. But they are not for individual workplaces – they are for the whole sector c. Pattern bargaining (ex. The auto in north America) d. If its applied across sector, less reason for workplaces to resist unionizing e. Most German workers are covered by a collective agreement 2. Work Councils – Codetermination a. European codetermination  workers have role in management of the company b. Germany is the model i. First country to have work council and codetermination laws c. Participatory institutions for wo
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