Final Exam Essay 5 & 6 - Essay #5-Urban Labor...

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Essay #5-Urban Labor Movements An urban labor movement as defined by Turner is a labor movement that encompasses social-based unionism on a local scale to impact national or local policies. By working with revitalized local labor councils consisting of leadership from all local unions, potentially labor-management partnerships, involving faith based organizations as well as community centers and adopting pro-worker policies such as the living wage and health care assistance, urban labor movements have begun to stem the tide of declining unionism. Local labor councils collapsed in part due to their top-heavy structure, stagnant leadership that was built around the old jobs such as manufacturing (Buffalo, Los Angeles) or politics (New York) and did not see/adopt to the shift in union membership (less white) and the industries unions were supported in (not manufacturing, but service/hospitality instead…UNITE HERE) The urban labor movement is made up of two types of coalitions. Political coalitions, which are between unions and parties, politicians and other social actors focused on elections and policymaking. The second is social coalitions, which include labor and other social actors such as community, religious, environmental, and immigrant rights groups to focus on a range of political, economic and social campaigns often closely tied together. New York= Older system, political Los Angeles=younger system, social beget political with the election of LA Mayor Villaraigosa By working with local Jobs for Justice, justice for janitors (Houston) campaigns among others, local labor councils have been able to revive themselves and expand their influence to help save jobs at a pragmatic level even under the most dire of circumstances (Buffalo, late 1990’s, save GM owned forge in Buffalo-Turner- 121) The most successful strategy has been the “high road” strategy as exemplified in Seattle, Buffalo and Miami. This strategy seeks to raise wages by bringing in jobs that offer higher wages through high tech, innovation, high quality products and services (ex. Green collar jobs). SEIU and Unite Here focus on service workers and low road approach of organizing. The revitalization of local labor movements in Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle (see Battle of Seattle), New York and many others have been brought about due to labors increasing willingness to cross lines and work with social organizations for societal change on issues that matter to all workers i.e. living wage coalitions. After the 1970’s and as part of the general decline of central labor council’s across America, unions found themselves at a crossroads. The traditional methods of organizing from the shop floor had not worked and in many cities, the jobs were gone and never would come back (Buffalo case study-Manufacturing, lost 125k out of 200k manufactures. Jobs from 1956-2000. Buffalo worked with its business community to form a high road approach, marketing itself and the area to business and to governments for tax breaks/incentives for the high paying 1
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manufacturing jobs it hoped to attract. From increasing training on the local
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Final Exam Essay 5 & 6 - Essay #5-Urban Labor...

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