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Ethnic and Economic Minorities: Unions' Future or Unrecruitable?

Ray Marshall
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 350, The Crisis in the American Trade-Union Movement (Nov., 1963), pp. 63-73
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1036262
Page Count: 11
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Ethnic and Economic Minorities: Unions' Future or Unrecruitable?
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Abstract

Unions' economic and political future depends upon support from Negroes, Southerners, agricultural workers, and foreign-language groups. Unions would apparently have little difficulty organizing foreign-language groups; but, given present union structure, these and other minorities are too weak for collective bargaining to improve their economic conditions immediately, though unions could protect and improve minority opportunities. Agricultural workers are unorganized because of poor economic status; employer and community opposition denies them the legal protection of other workers; they are frequently temporary, scattered, and migratory. The growing Negro-union schism has its roots in changes in the Negro community. Although it is unlikely that Negroes will withdraw from unions or break Negro-labor political alliances, the pressures on Negro leaders are such that they probably will continue to attack unions. Unions also probably will be subjected to increasing governmental pressures to eliminate discrimination. The South's growing unorganized nonagricultural work force threatens unions outside the South because the South is industrializing faster than the United States. The main factors impeding unions in the South are: numerous low-income agricultural workers; antiunion community leaders, who not only are concerned with the upsetting influences of new power sources but also fear unions will interfere with industrialization; and other political, economic, and cultural factors. However, unions probably will continue to grow faster in the South than in the nation.

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