What Should Unions Do?
This book has explored the struggle for unionization in the hospital industry by focusing on labor organizing at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (SRMH), along with the fundamental questions it raises about the labor movement in the twenty-first century. To paraphrase the study by Richard Freeman and James Medoff, “what should unions do?” Unionization has long been observed to enhance members’ economic well-being, increasing workers’ wages and benefits substantially. Beyond increases in wages and benefits, union membership assures a degree of job security. This book concludes by assessing the implications of its findings for the labor movement as a whole. It argues that unions must not only continue to advocate for the material advancement of their members, but they must also see themselves less as interest-based organizations and more as values-based organizations. It insists that unions must combine their instrumental focus on power with a narrative focus on meaning.
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