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Varieties of UnionismStrategies for Union Revitalization in a Globalizing Economy$
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Carola Frege and John Kelly

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199270149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199270149.001.0001

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Unions as Political Actors: A Recipe for Revitalization?

Unions as Political Actors: A Recipe for Revitalization?

(p.93) 6 Unions as Political Actors: A Recipe for Revitalization?
Varieties of Unionism

Kerstin Hamann

John Kelly (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by arguing that there are many different forms of political action by trade unions and union movements, including party links, lobbying, and mobilization. Moreover, the forms of action vary significantly across countries: lobbying and voter mobilization are far more common in the US for example. One key factor which helps explain international variation is the structure of political systems and the forms of party-union links. This chapter also draws attention to the ways in which union leaders opt for some forms of action rather than others, e.g., membership mobilization is more common in Italy and Spain, less so in the UK and the US. Finally, this chapter offers some evidence on the impact of political action on union revitalization, bringing out the extent to which combinations of political and non-political action make a difference to union outcomes.

Keywords:   political action, union-party links, elections, lobbying, mobilization, institutions

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