A report by Jane McAlevey and Abby Lawlor, illustrates best practices for building the power to win in today’s challenging union climate and features a series of case studies in collective bargaining during the four years under Trump. They cover four key employment sectors: teachers, nurses, hotel workers, and journalists. In each case, workers used high transparency and high participation approaches in contract campaigns to build worker power. Each victory points a path to raising workers’ expectations of what is possible to win at the negotiations table today.
Unions & Worker Organizations
Workshops & Leadership Schools
Area of Expertise
Research on Union Avoidance Firms
Power Structure Analysis and Strategy
Mission-Driven Sectors of the Economy (Healthcare and Education)
Jane McAlevey has spent most of her life as an organizer and negotiator. She’s fourth generation union, raised in an activist-union household. She spent the first half of her organizing life working in the community organizing and environmental justice movements and the second half in the union movement. She has led power structure analyses and strategic planning trainings for a wide range of union and community organizations, and has had extensive involvement in globalization and global environmental issues. She worked at the Highlander Research and Education Center as an educator and as deputy director in her early 20’s.
More recently, Jane has added “author and scholar” to her bio. She earned a Ph.D. in 2015 from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, studying with Frances Fox Piven, after which she was a postdoc at Harvard Law School with the Labor & Worklife Program.
Her third book, A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing and the Fight for Democracy, was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2020.
As Allegations of Harassment and Abuse Send Shock Waves Through the Craft Beer Industry, Will Workers Take Action?
“Women in the United States are stuck with bosses who abuse them, because to walk out could mean living in their cars or on the streets — or taking two fulltime jobs and never spending a minute with their kids,” wrote the veteran labor organizer and author Jane McAlevey in a 2017 essay on the broader #MeToo movement for In These Times.
Union organizer Jane McAlevey on labor’s loss at Amazon in Alabama, what the future of labor organizing success depends on, and how organizers can win.
These “Fight for $15” fast-food actions have been rightly criticized by organizer and author Jane McAlevey, among others, for focusing more on media-friendly drama than on building lasting organization. After all, the walkouts have been going on for nearly a decade and fast-food workers still don’t have unions, though some companies have raised their entry-level wages.
McAlevey educated us about why we should strike and taught us not to do things like third-partying the union, meaning talking about it as a separate entity, which I definitely used to do.
“Whether it is FDR or Biden, the issue is what are unions and the organized working class doing to help create the possibility to achieve Biden’s stated goals of increasing unionization and decreasing misery and inequality?” asks McAlevey.