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[Excerpt] No revival of our American labor movement will be possible without massive new organizing. While it is important to stem the loss of unionized manufacturing jobs and do a better job of servicing and mobilizing current union members, these alone will not put the labor movement on the road to renewal. Even a cursory review of the data shows that new organizing is the cornerstone of labor’s future. We need new members not only to strengthen bargaining power and reinforce our political clout but, as history has shown us, to refocus our vision and purpose.

Yet we have been told that this is not possible. The pundits look at our membership figures as clear evidence that workers are no longer interested in organizing and that unions, like the coal-fired furnace and the rotary phone, are relics of an industrial era – no longer relevant in today’s world.

We have even let this negativism seep into our own ranks over this last difficult decade. Under the crushing weight of laws that do little to protect workers, rabidly anti-union employers, a burgeoning management consultant industry, and betrayal by our supposed friends in government and academia, we have at times forgotten to believe in ourselves, our vision, and our importance to American workers.


Suggested Citation

Bronfenbrenner, K., & Juravich, T. (1994). Seeds of resurgence: The promise of organizing in the public and private sectors. [Electronic version]. Paper presented as the Sixth Annual Larry Rogin Lecture. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Labor Organizations.

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© National Labor College. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.