Unions Weapon of the 21st Century: Education

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The strength of any organization depends on how solid of a foundation it is built on. Education is that foundation. In the 1980’s unions encountered a major setback when globalization hit. This caused a change in the economy accounting for major losses of jobs affecting blue-collar workers. Unions were not prepared for the hardship it created for its members. Now in the 21st century, globalization is back. This time it has spared a greater magnitude of devastation. Not only for the blue-collar workers, but it has encompassed white-collar workers as well. Unions should have learned from the setbacks in the 1980’s by taking it as a warning to prepare for the future. During this time unions should have taken an active stance and turned this devastation into opportunity. Did they? No. Instead of pro-actively educating themselves by innovatively working on strategies and solutions, they continued with the status quo “trial and error learning” of the past. Now that globalization is back, unions are still unprepared and are now drastically working defensively against the threats that could destroy decades of collectively bargaining. In order to compete with these challenges, union’s educational foundation must be more innovatively advanced to be solid. For this to happen, unions must make education the top priority now and into the 22nd century. Why Educate? It has been no secret that our public schools have kept the labor union movement under hidden wraps for years. Anyone that attends elementary through high school, or goes on to college will never learn anything about the history, philosophy, principles or structure of the union. After graduation some of these individuals will become business managers, lawyers; an... ... middle of paper ... ... Eiger, N. (1979). Labor education in a hostile environment. Labor Studies Journal, 4 (1), 25-39. Retrieved from SocINDEX database. Fletcher Jr., B. (2000). Race, gender, and class: The challenges facing labor educators. Labor Studies Journal, 25 (1), 104-107. Retrieved from SocINDEX database. Levine, H. (1966). Will labor educators meet today’s challenges? Industrial Relations, 5 (2), 97- 106. Retrieved from SocINDEX database. Samson, G. (1991). Labor educators--Then (and now). Labor Studies Journal, 16 (3), 57-59. Retrieved from SocINDEX database. Schachhuber, D. (1979). The Missing Link in Labor Education. Labor Studies Journal, 4 (2), 148-157. Retrieved from SocINDEX database. Thomas, P. (1986). Pay equity: Educating for union action. Labor Studies Journal, 10 (3), 278- 290. Retrieved from SocINDEX database.

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