International Journal of Labour Research

Trade union revitalization in the United States of America: A call for a labour movement programme in support of self-organizing workers

From a peak of one third of the workforce in 1955 and still over 20 per cent in 1983, at present only 10.3 per cent of United States workers remain members of trade unions. A significant trend of worker self-organizing and formation of new independent unions has emerged, with little or no involvement of or support from existing unions. To have any significant impact, the labour movement must create a substantial, dedicated, grass roots-focused programme – a labour self-organizing workers’ support (Labor SOWS) programme – that will supplement, but not supplant, the needs of these self-organizing workers. This article argues for organized labour in the United States to play a major supporting role in this unique moment and thereby promote its own revitalization