American Labor Unions in the Electoral Arena / Edition 1

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Are contemporary U.S. labor unions irrelevant, or in fact a changing force to be reckoned with as they grow into a new economy in a globalized America? Is the current political power exercised by U.S. labor unions more akin to the social movements of the sixties or the interest politics of the nineties? After winning the presidency of the AFL-CIO in 1995, John Sweeney and his colleagues have taken strides to make labor more important in the United States economically and politically, despite reduced membership. Here, four authors come together to survey the status of labor unions past, present, and future, nationally as well as through the microcosm of the labor situation in Ohio, one of the largest, most representative, and most electorally significant states in the country. The authors focus on union membership, leadership, political attitudes, strategies, and grassroots mobilization to paint a picture of union revitalization in a context of economic and social change. American labor still wields clout on Election Day, but union revitalization is a work in progress. For unions to matter every day to their members and leaders, they must consolidate their economic bases and rise to the challenges carefully documented in this book.

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Editorial Reviews

Industrial and Labor Relations Review
An informative examination of selected aspects of organized labor's contemporary role in American electoral politics.
William A. Burga
The authors have done a good job of weaving the historical work and involvement of labor in the electoral process with present day policies. The statistical data is valuable and could help shape organized labor's course of action in future years. This book is important reading.
Paul E. Johnson
Combines a rich substantive base of knowledge about union activities in the U.S. (and Ohio, in particular) with a clear, focused empirical research agenda. The general theories of interest group politics are applied with grace and clarity to the case of labor unions. Several unique sources of data allow the authors to make their points in an especially persuasive way. This will soon be a required reference for all who study labor in politics. Professors who offer upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses will find much useful material here.
John Sweeney
This book is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand how America's working families are making their voices heard in the political process. The authors present an informed and compelling account of the tremendous political achievements America's unions have made over the past five years, as well as a realistic reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.
An empirically grounded book that provides many useful insights into labor's political past and its potential for the future. Highly recommended for academic social science and business collections, lower-division undergraduate through faculty.
Frank Baumgartner
Unions have declined and mutated in the face of dramatic demographic, economic, and political changes over the past decades. However, they have also reacted to these changes and reinvented themselves, mobilizing as never before for renewed political and economic clout. In this masterful survey, based on a thorough analysis of unions and their members, we see the ins and the outs of the Sweeney revolution of the 1990s. This book is helpful to anyone hoping for a better understanding of the roles and impacts of unions in American political life, but also for those interested in interests groups and political mobilization more generally.
This volume examines American labor unions as a major political force which candidates, legislatures, executives, and elected judges at all levels of government have to take into account in a variety of ways. Asher and Randall B. Ripley of Ohio State U.), Eric S. Heberlig (U. of North Carolina), and Karen Snyder (president of a public opinion firm) also discuss union strategies to achieve political importance in the context of changing leadership, membership, and external conditions in society. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
An empirically grounded book that provides many useful insights into labor's political past and its potential for the future. Highly recommended for academic social science and business collections, lower-division undergraduate through faculty.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Herbert B. Asher is professor emeritus of political science at the Ohio State University and serves as counselor to the university president. Eric S. Heberlig is assistant professor of political science at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. Randall B. Ripley is dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and professor of political science at the Ohio State University. Karen Snyder is the president of The Strategy Team, Ltd., a public opinion research firm.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 American Labor Unions and Politics: An Introduction Chapter 2 The Changing Face of Labor Unions Chapter 3 Members' Attitudes toward Unions and Politics Chapter 4 Traditional Political Strategy Chapter 5 Political Strategy in the Sweeney Era Chapter 6 Union Political Activists Chapter 7 Election Day Outcomes Chapter 8 Challenges and Opportunities for Organized Labor Chapter 9 Appendix A: Research Design Chapter 10 Appendix B: The Ohio Union Surveys Chapter 11 Apprenix C: Variable Measurements: Ohio Union Surveys Chapter 12 References Chapter 13 List of Figures Chapter 14 List of Tables

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