Publication Date



[Excerpt] Even leaving aside the unusual events of last year, it is clear that despite all the new initiatives and resources devoted to organizing and all the talk of “changing to organize,” American unions are at best standing still. They will need to organize millions, not hundreds of thousands, of workers each year if they are to reverse the tide and begin to regain their influence and power in American society.

Why is this so difficult? Why has it taken so long for new organizing initiatives to bear significant fruit? After spending the past fourteen years conducting a series of studies analyzing the factors contributing to union organizing success, I find the answers to these questions to be painfully obvious. Building capacity for organizing is one thing. Changing the structure, culture and strategy of the large, entrenched, democratic institutions that American unions have become is quite another.


Suggested Citation

Bronfenbrenner, K. (2001, September 3/10). Changing to organize: Unions know what has to be done. Now they have to do it [Electronic version]. The Nation, 17-19.

Required Publisher Statement

© The Nation. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Included in

Unions Commons