Publication Date

5-23-2008

Abstract

This paper seeks to explore the link between unions and nonprofit adult education programs such as those found in workers’ centers in the United States today. It is apparent that current organizing strategies applied by larger unions in the United States today are changing out of necessity. The labor market has become segmented in nature with a large portion of what would be considered traditional union work performed outside the borders of the U.S. While this shift exports labor it also imports laborers: As the labor force shifts in the United States, it also shifts in foreign markets. Many immigrants find themselves escaping the insufficient wages in their native countries, dependent upon the global market. They come to fill the multitude of service-related jobs burgeoning throughout the U.S. As was the case in Upton Sinclair’s images of labor, today’s blue collar worker is increasingly immigrant, and of that group many are undocumented. It is workers’ centers that come to the aid of this group of people often called day laborers, educating and concientizing them as to their unique place within this country’s labor struggle. This paper identifies these workers’ centers as conduits for change within the US Labor Market and examines current structures in place that help foster a mutually beneficial role between national labor unions and the rapidly growing workers’ centers . The focus of this paper lies on an organizational level, centering on links between nonprofit education programs and the organizational endeavors of labor unions. In accordance with this focus, the paper’s methodology is comprised of a comparison of several organizations building upon pertinent research in the field and consisting of a series of interviews performed with the directors of associated programs.

Disciplines

Family Law | Labor Relations | Law and Economics

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