Organizing for partnership: the influence of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organisations on the British Trades Union Congress 1995–2005

McIlroy, John (2013) Organizing for partnership: the influence of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organisations on the British Trades Union Congress 1995–2005. Labor History, 54 (2). pp. 138-160. ISSN 0023-656X

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Abstract

The influence of the ‘organizing model’ of trade unionism developed in America by the American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) on strategies to rebuild British trade unionism is often remarked. Scholars typically distinguish between adversarial organizing and collaborative partnership with employers as competing roads to union revitalization. This article demonstrates that the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) borrowed organizing principles, techniques and animating aphorisms from America, but not a model of trade unionism. The novelty of organizing lay more in its orchestration and recycling of familiar ideas than in its originality. In the hands of conservative leaders, organizing and partnership are not necessarily distinctive approaches. In Britain, as in America, organizing was proposed as a means to achieve partnership, not to prosecute conflict between capital and labour or create more democratic unions. It proved unsuccessful because of lack of resources, employer resistance and New Labour's unwillingness to provide a sufficiently pro-union public policy.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 11971
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Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2013 10:58
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:28
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/11971

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