24 Lab. Stud. J. 3 (1999-2000)

handle is hein.journals/labstuj24 and id is 1 raw text is: 











       Organizing for Keeps: Building a

   Twenty-first Century Labor Movement

 Introduction to the Special Conference Issue



      Kate  Bronfenbrenner,   Cornell University, Guest Editor


      In the last several years a great deal of discussion has taken place both
inside and outside the labor movement about the need for American unions
to organize massive numbers  of unorganized workers. Who   exactly this
target workforce should be, ranging from low-wage contingent workers in'
home  care, janitorial, or food service occupations, to the legions of unorga-
nized clerical workers in business services, to the expanding professional
and technical workforce in our high tech economy; to both skilled and
unskilled production workers in the light manufacturing plants which have
sprouted up across the South and rural Midwest, remains a topic of debate.
Agreement  has also not been reached as to which strategies are most effec-
tive to organize which workers. Nor is there a clear understanding of what
it takes to move beyond the initial certification election or recognition cam-
paign to build lasting, vital unions in these newly organized workplaces-
to organize for keeps.
     But in one area there seems to be near universal agreement: the back-
ground  and experience of the majority of unorganized workers currently
being targeted by American unions are much different from the background
and  experience of labor's traditional base. Whether home care workers in
California, hotel employees in Las Vegas, ticket agents across the nation's
airports, or production workers in light manufacturing plants in the deep
South,  the majority of newly organized workers  today are women   and
people of color.

    Kate Bronfenbrenner is the Director of Labor Education Research at the New York State
 School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. She is also vice president and
 Professional Council Chair of the University College Labor Education Association.

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