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Holding the Shop TogetherGerman Industrial Relations in the Postwar Era$
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Stephen J. Silvia

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452215

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452215.001.0001

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Trade Unions in Germany

Trade Unions in Germany

The Two Postwar Movements

(p.104) Chapter 4 Trade Unions in Germany
Holding the Shop Together

Stephen J. Silvia

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the postwar German trade union movement. Using qualitative analysis, it highlights two trade union movements that emerged in postwar Germany. The first movement appeared in the immediate aftermath of World War II, with industrial unionism as its organizing principle. The second movement, which came out in the early 2000s after a decade of organizational reform, is dominated by multisectoral unions. This chapter discusses the strategic considerations and actions of trade union leaders in light of postwar sociological and economic trends. It shows that the postwar German trade unions enjoyed remarkable stability and success in their first four decades, but suffered a decline in membership from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. The chapter looks in particular at the reorganization of the unions of the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund and the Deutsche Angestellten-Gewerkschaft through a spate of mergers.

Keywords:   trade unions, postwar Germany, World War II, industrial unionism, multisectoral unions, membership, Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, Deutsche Angestellten-Gewerkschaft, mergers, trade union movement

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