Restructuring American Unions As Solution to the Crisis: Some Specific Proposals


Jack Rasmus

Jack Rasmus

Jack Rasmus welcomed back labor historian, Staughton Lynd to his radio program Alternative Visions, to discuss specific ideas how American unions might evolve their current organizational structure to better confront the growing crisis of American workers and their unions in the 21st century.  Jack and Staughton agree it’s time for solutions, not just talking about dimensions of today’s crisis in union strategy—whether political, industrial, bargaining, organizing—i.e. strategies that that are now failing across the board for American workers today.  Both agree that some new form of local union organization is needed that strengthens local unions to confront the massive legal web that has grown over decades favoring employers, government, and national union leaders.  Stronger local unions must somehow be developed, both argue, that organizationally integrate the community.

Jack and Lynd discuss what a new kind of local union might look like organizationally, how it might include local community groups as equal members, how it might develop regionally, as well as evolve at a national level in the form of a ‘National Workers Legislative Congress’. Jack explains how organizational restructuring is not new to the history of labor, but has occurred repeatedly in the past as Corporate power and Capital has evolve rendering the old union strategies and organizations ineffective.  Jack argues a new structure, based on ‘local mobilization-solidarity committees’, can also complement and expand Union Labor’s current structure, not necessarily replace it. Both agree some kind of new organizational evolution of labor, starting at the local union level, is necessary to deal with the current crisis of American labor today. (See Jack’s article ‘Reorganizing the AFL-CIO: An Initial Proposal’ on the PRN website, and his own website:

Listen to this show at:

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One Response

  1. We are doing a play in Los Angeles called Lockout about the 1913 Dublin Lockout and we have had very powerful responses to the sacrifices early labor unionists made. Part of the problem with modern union members is that we have no reference for the abject poverty and dismal work conditions unions helped us to abolish. When people ask why we’re doing the play, I respond with the question…do you like your 8 hour work day? People died for that right. And it is a slippery slope when the importance of worker’s rights to organize are diminished. Thanks for your article outlining ways to keep unions viable!

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