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Visiting Fellow Presents - Solidarity Whenever?

March 28, 2006 Ithaca Campus

A Framework for Analysing Opportunities & Choices of Unions That Support Community Unionism Strategies

Amanda Tattersall
ILR Visiting Fellow, University of Sydney
Organizer with Unions NSW

Date: Tuesday, March 28th 2006
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Venue: 280 Ives Hall

Amanda Tattersall is a visiting fellow from the University of Sydney where she is a Graduate Student writing on Community Unionism. She is also an organizer with Unions NSW, the Central Labor Council in Sydney, Australia.

In Seeking Solidarity, Turner et al consider the opportunities and choices that make city-wide union movements more or less likely to shift towards community unionism, and in particular practice labour-community coalitions.

This paper takes a narrower frame of analysis ­ the single local union ­ and considers the opportunities and choices that influence likely community unionism practice. Community unionism is defined as the range of strategies that involve unions ‘reaching out’ to the community. These include union-community coalitions (reaching out to community groups), broadening the frame of union campaigns to embrace ‘community concern’ (reaching out to community issues), and campaigns that seek to control place (reaching out to local communities). The paper builds a typology of factors that make community unionism a more likely practice.

It first considers an ‘opportunity structure’ including environmental/economic context, union identity, structure and characteristics and union relationships. Secondly it considers the internal choices that union leaders make, including the role of ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ pressures, recognising a dialectical tension between autonomy and incorporation which creates a process of internal change. It explores this framework with reference to the shift to community unionism in the NSW Teachers Federation during the Public Education Campaign 2001-2004.


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