[Excerpt] The purpose of this book is to examine union revitalization efforts: to identify central developments, to analyze strengths and weaknesses in the new initiatives, and to assess progress made and prospects for the future. We ask questions such as: Can union decline be reversed? Are there serious indications of revitalization beyond new leadership and publicity? What accounts for successes and failures so far, and what strategies have shown the most promise for future success? Can innovations in areas such as vocational training consortia contribute to labor movement revitalization? Are there ways to reconcile the contradictions between an "organizing model" of unionism and the traditional member-focused "servicing model" of the postwar era? Can unions successfully target relevant groups (beyond the existing blue-collar and public-sector bases) such as women, minorities, service employees, semiprofessionals, and professionals? Can political action and legislative campaigns on issues such as trade contribute to reversing the decline, or is this only a way to hold the line (or even worse, an inadequate strategy of the past)?
This book is designed to target these and related questions by bringing together the work of highly regarded experts whose research and analysis indicate contrasting answers and perspectives. There is, to be sure, a great deal of opinion trumpeting on many of these questions; the focus here, by contrast, is on research: hard evidence and causal analysis provide grounded answers and realistic perspectives. We hope that the analysis presented will offer meaningful signposts for future research as well as for policymakers and union leaders regarding what is and is not possible, what may and may not work.