chapter  6
Union organizing in a not-for-profit organization
ByMelanie Simms
Pages 17

There is now broad agreement that the actions unions take in relation to organizing and recruiting new groups of workers have an effect on membership levels (Price 1991, Undy et al. 1981, Bronfenbrenner and Juravich 1998). There is also recognition that most British unions have, to date, not put sufficient resources into organizing in the expanding private service sector where there are large numbers of workers who are currently not represented in unions (Heery et al. 2000a). Thus, there has been discussion about the challenges facing unions attempting to organize these “new” groups of workers and the potential difficulties in representing their interests in an attempt to “enlarge the playing field” of unionism (Wever 1998). A fairly clear divide can be identified between authors who primarily write about union revitalization in the private sector (e.g. Heery et al. 2000a) and those who study union organization and the possibilities of renewal in the public sector (e.g. Fairbrother 2000). As a result, an implicit debate has emerged between the two with the former identifying a key role for union leaders in the process of renewal and the latter arguing that renewal can only come from an active rank-and-file membership.