"Don't miss this thoughtful and provocative film."
William Kornblum, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York
(See Professor Kornblum's comment in its entirety below.)
Labor unions played major roles in the history and politics of the 20th Century. They were a part of the New Deal-Fair Deal coalition that enacted Social Security and the G.I. bill in the US, and they played a similar role in Canada and overseas. Once, unionized workers were paid substantially more in wages and benefits than non-union workers; but now the margin is smaller. Are unions now an endangered social institution? Or can unions revive?
Struggling Unions, Merrimack's newest video, examines this question by
reporting on a new generation of leaders struggling to reform and revitalize
their unions. This 35-minute video has case studies of three unions undergoing
dramatic change: the Carpenters union, the Teamsters, and District 37 of
AFSCME, the large New York City municipal union. Interviews with union leaders,
union reformers, and labor experts tie the struggles in these three unions
to the broader effort to reverse the long-term decline in union membership.
"Struggling Unions provides a vivid first-hand look at the challenge of union renewal and democratic membership control. It's a powerful experience."
--Bruce Kaufman, Professor of Economics, Georgia State University
"Struggling Unions raises provocative questions for students of labor
history and for labor activists and offers a balanced array of answers.
It poses the central question for labor in our times: why have membership
and union power declined so drastically in the last half-century, and what
can be done about it?"
--Judy Ancel in Labor History
"In a dramatic fashion, this video describes the struggles for democracy occurring in some key unions and the issues surrounding them."
--George Strauss, Professor of Business Administration Emeritus
University of California at Berkeley
"If you've ever wondered why
internal democracy is vital to the future of the labor movement, don't miss
this thoughtful and provocative film. Struggling Unions documents the efforts
of staunch trade unionists to make their unions open and democratic. The
most respected labor experts in the United States and activists from the
major sectors of the labor movement speak out for the right of union members
to vote in open and free elections for the leaders of their choice. The
case studies on which the film is based the Teamsters, the New England
Carpenters union, and New York City's D.C. 37 of the American Federation
of State, County, and Municipal Employees are timely and moving testaments
to the courage of rank-and-file and reform leaders who fight to make their
unions stronger and more effective organizations for all working people."
--William Kornblum, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York
"This is a very interesting and thought-provoking film which focuses on a subject too often ignored: the importance of the democratic process in unions if they are to fulfill the purpose of collective bargaining to give workers a voice in the decisions which control their working lives." --Clyde W. Summers, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania
"Struggling Unions is a fine, thought-provoking presentation of today's
state of the union.' It deserves to be seen by many, from students,
politicians, and workers to union officials."
--Arthur L. Fox II, attorney, Lobel, Novins & Lamont, Washington, DC
530 Concord Ave.
Belmont, MA 02478