You are here:

Open-Source Unionism: New Workers, New Strategies

Academe Volume 90, Number 1, ISSN 0190-2946


In "Open-Source Unionism: Beyond Exclusive Collective Bargaining," published in fall 2002 in the journal Working USA, labor scholars Richard B. Freeman and Joel Rogers use the term "open-source unionism" to describe a form of unionization that uses Web technology to organize in hard-to-unionize workplaces. Rather than depend on the traditional means of union organizing--leafleting at the plant gate, holding organizing meetings in the break room, or "house visiting" workers after hours, for example--open source union organizing relies on "cybertools" such as Listservs, chat rooms, and Web sites. These tools help bring together people who, as a result of the new economy, are employed at separate locations, often as temporary or contract workers, and lack a common work experience. Like the open-source software movement--in which communities of programmers linked through the Internet share and improve upon software code--open-source unionism embraces the utopian, collaborative ethos of the Internet revolution. Ideas and calls-to-action are circulated over the Web, shared ideologies are developed through e-mail exchanges, and, through this process, a nascent worker consciousness is forged.


Schmid, J.M. (2004). Open-Source Unionism: New Workers, New Strategies. Academe, 90(1), 24-27. Retrieved January 26, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on April 18, 2013. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.