The Promise of Public-Service Unionism


  • Paul Johnston





When we talk about unions or a strategy for labor, we are using the concepts of unionism, labor struggle, and work itself, which have been fashioned in the labor history of private capitalist enterprise. However, during the past twenty years a tremendous expansion of the public sector in the United States has taken place, and the last decade has seen an explosion of organization and militancy in this new workforce. There are now some 15 million public workers, 2.5 million of them in unions. Nurses, clerks, technicians, paraprofessionals, laborers; welfare, transportation, legal, and communications workers are all moving into a huge and new labor movement. Strike waves rock local, state, and even federal government. If it were not for this sudden influx of new workers, the AFL-CIO would have declined rather than grown in membership in recent years.

This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.

Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.





Review of the Month