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Helping Workers Online and Offline: Innovations in Union and Worker Organization Using the Internet

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  • Richard B. Freeman
  • M. Marit Rehavi

Abstract

This study examines two innovative efforts to provide union services to workers with the aid of low cost Internet communication: the AFL-CIO's Working America, a "community affiliate" that enrolled 2 million workers from 2004 to 2007 by canvassing them at their homes and over the Internet (www.workingamerica.org); and the UK'S Trade Union Congress's www.unionreps.org.uk, a discussion board for worker representatives to communicate about workplace issues. Working America demonstrates that workers without collective bargaining will join a union organization that communicates on-line and off-line and campaigns for worker interests in society. Unionreps.org shows that local worker representatives can form an on-line community that shares information to improve the services they give workers. Combining the two innovations could be a step toward a new "open source" union form that provides union services at low cost outside of collective bargaining.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13850.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Publication status: published as Richard B. Freeman, M. Marit Rehavi. "Helping Workers Online and Offline: Innovations in Union and Worker Organization Using the Internet," in David H. Autor, editor, "Studies of Labor Market Intermediation " University of Chicago Press (2009)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13850

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  1. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  2. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
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