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Coalitions and community unionism: Using the term community to explore effective union‐community collaboration

Amanda Tattersall (School of Business, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia Unions NSW, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




Union‐community collaboration is an increasingly common practice in industrialised nations where union power and density have declined. This paper proposes a framework for defining and evaluating community unionism, through a definition of the term “community.”


The author explores this framework drawing on campaigns in Sydney and Chicago.


It defines the term community in three discrete but mutually reinforcing ways, as (community) organisation; common interest identity, and local neighbourhood or place. The term is used to then define community unionism as three discrete union strategies, and finally to examine one type of community unionism – coalition unionism. Successful coalition practice is defined by partner organisational relationships (coalition structure, bridge brokers, and coalition offices); common concern (common interest operates as mutual direct interest of organisation and members), and the element of scale (where success increases as coalitions operate at multiple scales such as the local, as well as the scale of government and/or business decision makers).


The paper identifies three elements of coalition unionism.



Tattersall, A. (2008), "Coalitions and community unionism: Using the term community to explore effective union‐community collaboration", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 415-432.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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