Worker self-organization in the new economy: The AFL-CIO’s experience in movement building with community-labour partnerships.

Avendaño, Ana, and Jonathan Hiatt.

Labour, Capital and Society/Travail, capital et société (2012): 66-95.


In 2006, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) issued a resolution calling for increased collaboration between organized labour and worker centres. Drawing from the federation’s experience, this article traces the growing convergence of organized labour and worker centres to structural economic and political shifts in the past decades. It holds that worker centres, as a movement-based strategy for a new economy, and labour unions, as institutions built to secure bargaining victories, could potentially conflict in their organizational imperatives. However, through successful collaboration, these two trends in the labour movement could reshape organizing strategies in the 21st century to better leverage worker power. From the 2006 resolution, we present five case studies of labour-community partnerships to highlight encouraging developments.

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