Varieties of Unionism: Struggles for Union Revitalization in a Globalizing Economy

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $105.32
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 24%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (8) from $105.32   
  • New (5) from $105.32   
  • Used (3) from $136.89   


As unions face an ongoing crisis all over the industrialized world, they have often been portrayed as outmoded remnants of an old economic structure. This book argues that despite structural shifts in the economy and in politics, unions retain important functions for capitalist economies as well as for political democracy. Union revitalization in the face of their current difficulties is therefore of fundamental importance.

The book charts the strategies unions use to respond to global union decline and to revive their fortunes in five countries - US, UK, Germany, Italy and Spain - providing a wide range of institutional settings, union structures, identities and union responses. It provides a rich source of documentation about union activity, but more importantly it goes beyond description to address two of the big questions in comparative research: How can we explain cross-country differences of union responses to global decline? And how effective are these actions in helping to revitalize the labor movements?

Union strategies and union revitalization outcomes varied strongly across countries and were shaped by national industrial relations institutions, as well as by the interactions between union, employer and state strategies. These findings support the argument for national divergence of the varieties of capitalism literature and challenge the globalization thesis, which predicts a degree of convergence in the fate of union movements across the advanced capitalist world. There is no single revitalization strategy that works well for all union movements; the same strategy is likely to produce different results in different countries. Moreover, evidence for variation in revitalization outcomes emerges most clearly when we adopt a multi-dimensional conceptualization of revitalization, moving beyond union membership and density to embrace economic and political power as well as the institutional dimension of union reform. Despite serious revitalization attempts in all countries the scale of revitalization is extremely modest when compared to the great upsurges of unionism in history.

Varieties of Unionism presents important research and analysis of union strategy for academics and graduate students of industrial relations, management, politics, political economy, and sociology

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199270149
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/4/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Carola Frege is a Reader in Industrial Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an Associate Professor at the Department of Labor Studies, Rutgers University. Author of Social Partnership at Work (Routledge, 1999), she has published widely in academic journals and edited collections on comparative industrial relations, in particular on Western and Eastern Europe. She is an Editor of the British Journal of Industrial Relations. John Kelly is Professor of Industrial Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Birkbeck College. He has published numerous books on trade unions and industrial relations.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Why Revitalize? Labor's Urgent Mission in a Contested Global Economy, Lowell Turner
2. Conceptualizing Labor Union Revitalization, Martin Behrens, Kerstin Hamann, and Richard Hurd
3. Union Strategies in Comparative Context, Carola Frege and John Kelly
4. Organizing the Unorganized, Edmund Heery and Lee Adler
5. Analyzing Social Partnership: A Tool of Union Revitalization?, Michael Fichter and Ian Greer
6. Unions as Political Actors: A Recipe for Revitalization?, Kerstin Hamann and John Kelly
7. Can Structural Change be a Source of Union Revitalization?, Martin Behrens, Richard Hurd, and Jeremy Waddington
8. The New Solidarity? Trade Unions and Coalition Building in Five Countries, Carola Frege, Edmund Heery, and Lowell Turner
9. International Trade Union Revitalization: The Role of National Approaches, Nathan Lillie and Miguel Martinez Lucio
10. Conclusions: Varieties of Unionism, John Kelly and Carola Frege

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)