[Excerpt] Shaffer's statement portrays an emerging vision of union organizing that represents a dramatic departure from the way most unions have been organizing workers for the past 40 years. Borrowing from the city wide structures of the Knights of Labor in the 19th century, a new breed of union organizers is experimenting with a brand of unionism that may ultimately recast labor as a community-wide movement which tackles workplace issues.

Unlike the now defunct Knights, these modern-day champions of community-based union organizing maintain close ties with unions across the country through their affiliation with resourcerich national unions. Many believe that this mixture of community organizing with national union support will spawn a new wave of union growth.