Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Negrey, Cynthia, 1953-


Labor unions--United States; Labor unions--Social aspects--United States


This is a study of the American labor movement, particularly how national labor policy is enacted at the local level. Specific differences between business unionism and social movement unionism, as defined in the literature, are combined and analyzed. Local unions are compared and contrasted in order to explore which will be more effective in the growth of the labor movement of the 21st century. This is a case study of three different types of local unions: craft, service sector, and public sector. In-depth interviews were conducted with two to three officials from each union. The questions covered five topics which were used to determine their business or social union status. The questions sought out the locals' role in the following areas: social welfare, politics, organizing, community coalitions, advancement of women and minorities, and affiliation with either the AFL-CIO or the Change to Win Federation. It was concluded that the craft union exemplified all of the characteristics of business unionism; the service sector union was a model of social unionism; and the public sector union displayed characteristics of both, but leaned mostly towards social unionism. The service sector union, therefore, is more predisposed than the others to create substantial growth in the new labor movement.