This chapter outlines the major features of the structural reform, showing the effects, both expected and unexpected, which it has had on the union's capacity for effective representation and on its general operation. It examines the main features of union organisation, which were established in the years prior to the economic crises of the middle seventies, and the progressive changes in the union's general strategy. The union's strategy appears even more reasonable when one takes into account the nature and history of the Italian trade union movement. As far as regards the nature of the movement, it is important to emphasise that representation and membership is voluntary. The representative capacity of Italian unions is not derived from office, nor is it conferred by legislative recognition. Accordingly, the major organisational reform launched by the unitary Federation CGIL-CISL-UIL in 1979 can be interpreted as an attempt by the union movement to rationalise its own structures.