|Getting together. this?|
We’re calling it a thing because it doesn’t really fit into any of the usual drawers. It’s not a union, not an NGO, not an organisation, not a network, not an association, club, sect, faction, fraction, tendency or movement. What it is, above all else, is a potential solution to several of the quandaries that unions have been trying to solve for at least 10 years.Read the rest of Together at last! at NewUnionism's Blog
The Precariat meet’n'greet (also from New Unionism) also suggests possibilities. After all, what did workers do before the trade union movement?
The New Unionists of the late 19th century built trade unions as we know them by organizing the proletariat – the working class of the day. Similarly, today’s new unionists are beginning to organize the precariat – workers without security. To say this latter group represents the most rapidly growing sector in society entirely misses the point. The labour force has fundamentally changed. It is time we admitted that most of us have failed to grasp both the prevalence and significance of precarity at work.Union Responses, globally (psst... higher ed union members, check these out... maybe recommend some up the hierarchy)
Most unions have tended to see the precariat in terms of its constituent members, rather than as a whole. Over the last ten years there have been some innovative attempts to organize freelancers, care workers, agency workers, self-employed producers and subsistence farmers. For instance:UCubed or Union of Unemployed, Freelancers Union, UNI Temp & Agency Workers, Global Union for temporary employment, and a few others come to mind.
- Canada’s largest media union has set up a union for freelance workers (more).
- The U.S. Freelancers’ Union has grown phenomenally (more), and has developed a whole new model of membership.
- Agency workers are now fairly well organised in some countries, notably Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Sweden[xxv].
- In the UK, BECTU offers freelancers legal advice and online services (more).
- In Italy, three union federations have created structures internal structures to protect and represent atypical workers (more).
- Two Dutch federations have been signing up the self-employed (more).
- In India, SEWA has recruited about 700,000 self-employed women members (more).
- Spain and Georgia both have unions for the self-employed. Germany’s Ver.di offers freelance workers a support hotline.
- In Australia, 35% of APESMA members are self-employed (more), and this is the fastest growing sector in the union.
Susan Hayter, senior ILO industrial relations expert, recently reported on efforts made to apply collective bargaining tools to improve the terms and conditions of employment of non-regular workers
- The global union UNI recently set up a Freelance Network (more), along with a charter for unions who work with the self-employed (more).