Whether a union is new and independent or long-established, the questions of how to negotiate, and how to get to the bargaining table, represent strategic choices.
Workers can’t begin the process of realizing the concrete gains that will lead to a better life—from ending torturous scheduling to achieving real cost-of-living wage increases to obtaining the health care and retirement plans everyone deserves—until they secure a first union contract.
The question for today’s new unions—as well as for workers hoping to rebuild established ones—is: Can they learn the lessons that most legacy unions have failed to understand? The most important of these is that the high-energy organizing work never stops, from the first conversations among workers considering a union all the way to winning the hard fight for a first contract.
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