Creating a decentralized local Labor Union?

Dear Professor Wolff, I often hear you speak on the potential of unions and collective bargaining and on my way home from work today I had an idea. I'm still young, dumb, and fairly naive, so if this is an unoriginal thought I apologize. What do you think about the concept of a decentralized local or area labor union? Specifically, an unaligned coalition of workers from all trades, professions, and types of jobs who agree to either picket outside of or boycott local stores and companies who treat their workers poorly. For example, those who fear retribution from management can safely report grievances to a union representative confidentially. Then members of said union who do not work at that business could take care of the more active side of things e.g. demonstrating, informing passersby of said grievances, avoiding spending money at said business all while the union members can avoid being perceived as troublemakers and losing their jobs (though of course no company would ever fire someone for participating in collective bargaining). In today's job market, I feel like many people are so desperate for jobs that they would strike break even though it isn't in their best interest. Additionally I feel like most of the larger labor unions today are too timid or corrupt to actually fight for significant gains. Anyhow, I would appreciate any input you could give on this idea, even if it solely consists of "you are simply wrong".


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  • published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-11-03 21:35:52 -0400

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