Power in Coalition: Strategies for Strong Unions and Social Change (Hardback)
  • Power in Coalition: Strategies for Strong Unions and Social Change (Hardback)

Power in Coalition: Strategies for Strong Unions and Social Change (Hardback)

Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 08/07/2010
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The labor movement sees coalitions as a key tool for union revitalization and social change, but there is little analysis of what makes them successful or the factors that make them fail. Amanda Tattersall-an organizer and labor scholar-addresses this gap in the first internationally comparative study of coalitions between unions and community organizations. She argues that coalition success must be measured by two criteria: whether campaigns produce social change and whether they sustain organizational strength over time. The book contributes new, practical frameworks and insights that will help guide union and community organizers across the globe. The book throws down the gauntlet to industrial relations scholars and labor organizers, making a compelling case for unions to build coalitions that wield "power with" community organizations.

Tattersall presents three detailed case studies: the public education coalition in Sydney, the Ontario Health Coalition in Toronto, and the living wage campaign run by the Grassroots Collaborative in Chicago. Together they enable Tattersall to explore when and how coalition unionism is the best and most appropriate strategy for social change, organizational development, and union renewal. Power in Coalition presents clear lessons. She suggests that "less is more," because it is often easier to build stronger coalitions with fewer organizations making decisions and sharing resources. The role of the individual, she finds, is traditionally underestimated, even though a coalition's success depends on a leader's ability to broker relationships between organizations while developing the campaign's strategy. The crafting of goals that combine organizational interest and the public interest and take into account electoral politics are crucial elements of coalition success.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801448997
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 399 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm


"Amanda Tattersall has done a terrific job of capturing and analyzing the power of 'positive-sum' coalitions, illustrating how these can effect social change in society as we as internally reinvent the member organizations. Power in Coalition provides both the academic and the activists with analytical devices for understanding the opportunities and challenges of coalitions, expanding the notion of coalition success, and clearly distinguishing three fundamental coalition elements: common concern, organizational relationships, and scale. This is a must read for scholars and practitioners in the fields of social movements, labor relations, and geography."-Maite Tapia, Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal (Summer 2011)

"Tattersall's interest in going beyond bemoaning unions' decline, on the one hand, and celebrating extraordinary success stories, on the other, ought to spur further comparative analysis on the same themes. In particular, it should spark useful discussions among union activists at a time when the public is increasingly unfamiliar with the labor movement's historic role and demands more inclusive goals from the movement-and when unions are in sore need of allies."-Manfred Elfstrom, ILRReview (October 2012)

"Amanda Tattersall's book is the most insightful study of coalitions to date. It is not your typical gauzy view of coalition building, but offers a clear-sighted, practical road map to building more effective labor-community coalitions and in turn an opportunity to transform the labor movement. It combines a rare mix of academic rigor and analysis with an organizer's sensibility, which makes it as useful in the field by practitioners as in the classroom by scholars." -Jeff Blodgett, Executive Director, Wellstone Action
"At last a scholar/activist who understands that coalitions are not merely a way of advancing union goals! Building on three successful coalitions in Australia, Canada, and the United States, Amanda Tattersall identifies three main mechanisms that lead to successful coalition formation between unions and community organizations: identifying common concerns, building organizational relationships, and finding the right scale. She shows how unions can transcend the narrow corporatism of 'business unionism' to return to the social movements they once were in a world that has become more complex and more indifferent to the needs of both workers and communities."-Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University
"If unions are to maximize their influence in the twenty-first century they must build alliances with other organizations around economic, social, and ecological concerns affecting humanity. This book shows it is possible to build the necessary coalitions to achieve this end."-Jack Mundey, instigator of the 1970s Green Bans movement in Sydney
"Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how to build the power of working people in a changing world, Amanda Tattersall's book is at once timely, practical, inspiring and challenging. Combining analysis of action with useful theory, it provides an important new tool for activists everywhere -in unions or beyond them-who want to build sustained and sustaining coalitions that have the potential to change the world."-Barbara Pocock, Director, Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia

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