Do the Organizing Means Determine the Bargaining Ends?

Lisa Jordan, Robert Bruno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter considers the provocative yet unexplored idea that a relationship exists between the nature by which a union wins recognition from an employer and the collective bargaining outcomes that are produced. Since at least the Ronald Reagan Administration, many trade, service and industrial unions in the United States have deployed alterative means to win recognition. Unions have negotiated a host of neutrality and card-check agreements as alternatives to petitioning for elections under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board. The use of these diverse organizing mechanisms has been well documented by numerous authors writing in the "union revitalization" genre, but what has not been done is the evaluation of the bargaining outcomes - effects - of different organizing tactics. The critical questions that have not been answered until now are, "What difference does it make how a union wins recognition?" Are the fortunes of newly organized union workers influenced by the way that they are brought into the labor movement? Based on a ten-year review of several successful union organizing cases, the findings from this chapter suggest that the key variable in gaining certification and ultimately a first contract is the ability of the union to leverage power and to do so in a timely manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Industrial and Labor Relations
EditorsDavid Lewin, Bruce Kaufman
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Industrial and Labor Relations
ISSN (Print)0742-6186

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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