Can Organizing Work? An Inductive Analysis of Individual Attitudes toward Union Membership
This inductive examination of responses to open-ended questions in a 1997 survey categorizes and assesses workers’ attitudes toward unions. The author’s content analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis, and textual analysis of the survey responses yield several results with implications for the prospects of a union organizing strategy. Although only a minority of workers in the sample were union members, most members were committed to the union, whereas most non-members held uncommitted attitudes about joining. Some union members appeared likely to be willing and able to help with union recruitment. Respondents were more likely to be union members the greater their awareness of workplace injustice, but most of them expected unions to “deliver,” and resented failed strike activity and leaders who were out of touch. The author identifies unexploited opportunities for union organizing, and believes that unions can weather their current difficulties.