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Guy Mundlak

This is the fourth and final chapter detailing the findings. Following the depiction of tension between the two logics of labour’s collective action and their impact on the use of organizing strategies, this chapter describes practices that seek to bridge the two logics. The first section presents efforts to introduce the organizing logic into social-wide bargaining, and the second section introduces efforts to extend the effects of organizing campaigns beyond the enterprise locale in which they take place. Both directions are demonstrated to be of importance for other industrial relations systems as well. The findings, based on description of existing efforts, also serve the concluding normative message, holding that trade union revitalization must consider the tension between the two logics and identify means to draw on both in a manner that mutually reinforces each other.

Open access

Guy Mundlak

The third of the four chapters detailing the findings, this chapter draws on the description of organizing and recruitment practices to problematize their role in systems that still support social-wide bargaining. The chapter covers questions on the efficacy of strategies to increase union density and their potential costs to social-wide bargaining. Furthermore, the chapter looks at the effects of putting such strategies centre-stage in trade unions’ activities on the organizational structure of the union, as well as problems of inter-union rivalry and the pluralization of industrial relations.

Open access

Guy Mundlak

The first of the four chapters detailing the findings from the field, this chapter explains why trade unions need new members despite the institutional possibility of engaging in social-wide bargaining, which is not directly dependent on membership rates. Explanations span instrumental financial concerns and ideological accounts. At the centre are concerns about dwindling power resources and declining legitimacy to the privileged position accorded to trade unions by the state.

Open access

Guy Mundlak

The chapter serves as a methodological introduction to the study of membership-based revitalization strategies in the four countries. It presents the essentials of workers’ representation in Austria, Germany, Israel and the Netherlands. Methodologically, the chapter explains the use of a qualitative grounded theory method, the choice of countries, and the use of a unified as well as comparative method.

Open access

Guy Mundlak

Hybrid industrial relations systems are situated between those with a clear enterprise or social-wide logic. In the former, trade union membership rates are low, and as a derivative so is the coverage of collective agreements; while, in the latter, coverage of agreements is high and the state encourages high membership rates. In the hybrid industrial relations systems, the state provides institutional support for social-wide bargaining, but membership rates are declining. In this growing gap between coverage and membership the chapter explores the trade unions’ interest in membership-based revitalization strategies and the importance of enhancing membership rates to the legitimacy of trade unions’ role in the representation of labour. In countries where trade unions resort to these strategies the distinct logics of labour’s collective action meet, serving as the testing ground for the relationship between the two.

Open access

Guy Mundlak

The second of the four chapters detailing the findings, this chapter looks at the diffusion of organizing practices from the Anglo-American countries to countries with a corporatist heritage. Identifying multiple framings of organizing practices, these are distinguished from membership recruitment. The chapter draws on the experience of organizers from the four countries for a detailed account of organizing practices, from initiation to maturation, tying them to the objectives for pursuing membership-based strategies as established in the previous chapter.

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Organizing Matters

Two Logics of Trade Union Representation

Guy Mundlak

Organizing Matters demonstrates the interplay between two distinct logics of labour’s collective action: on the one hand, workers coming together, usually at their place of work, entrusting the union to represent their interests and, on the other hand, social bargaining in which the trade union constructs labour’s interests from the top down. The book investigates the tensions and potential complementarities between the two logics through the combination of a strong theoretical framework and an extensive qualitative case study of trade union organizing and recruitment in four countries – Austria, Germany, Israel and the Netherlands. These countries still utilize social-wide bargaining but find it necessary to draw and develop strategies transposed from Anglo-American countries in response to continuously declining membership.
Open access

Guy Mundlak

The concluding chapter summarizes the findings on organizing practices in the four countries, and ties them to the two logics of labour’s collective action. The chapter demonstrates the application of the two logics to other organizational dilemmas, such as the building of tripartite institutions in developing states, and to account for countries in which membership-based revitalization strategies are not as prominent. The chapter concludes with the necessity of membership concerns for trade unions.

Open access

Guy Mundlak

The freedom of association designates a special role for trade unions in voicing the interests of workers and participating in the governance of the labour market. This chapter argues that trade unions are distinguished from other institutions of workers’ voice by their membership basis. However, the unity of trade unions conceals two distinct logics of what trade unions do, that is, enterprise-based and social-wide bargaining. The chapter distinguishes between the two on basis of their relationship with the fundamental justifications for the freedom of association, that is, democracy, equality, dignity and solidarity, and the ancillary bases for trade unions' actions – accountability, legitimacy and power. From these differences stem inherent tensions as well as the potential for complementarity, which will frame the study of membership-based strategies for trade unions’ revitalization efforts in the following chapters.