Unions in America provides a concise and current introduction to what America's labor unions do and why they do it. In this engaging text, author Gary Chaison portrays America's unions as complex, self-governing organizations that are struggling to regain their lost membership, bargaining power, and political influence. This accessible textbook offers an impartial overview of American unions that ranges from the struggle for recognition from employers in their earliest years to their present-day difficulties.
Chapter Two: Union Structure and Growth
Union Structure and Growth
When people talk about unions, they usually refer to them in the broadest terms. Their impressions of unions, whether favorable or unfavorable, are often about national union organizations, such as the Teamsters or the Steelworkers, rather than the thousands of local union branches where most union activities take place and members actually experience their unions. The public also likes to fit unions into categories, calling them manufacturing, government workers’, or white-collar workers’ unions, as if they each accepted only one type of member, although they clearly do not.
We hear a lot of half-truths about unions—for example, that the biggest unions are the most powerful ones or that unions are not growing because workers have lost interest in them—and ...