[Excerpt] As union membership has declined and blue-collar employment has contracted, union organizers have shifted their attention to white-collar workers in the largely nonunion service sector. Interviews with union organizers indicate that a disproportionate share of this organizing activity has been aimed at college and university clerical employees. In order to gain a better understanding of this activity, two avenues of inquiry were pursued. Interviews were conducted with 48 union officials who have been involved in university clerical organizing. In addition, a questionnaire concerning the unionization of clerical workers was mailed in 1986 to personnel directors of all colleges and universities in New England with accredited bachelor's degree programs.
This paper summarizes the interviews with union officials, focusing on factors which influence organizing success among university clericals. The hypotheses which are developed are then subjected to econometric analysis using data from the survey of personnel directors and other sources.