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Open-Source Unionism: New Workers, New Strategies
ARTICLE

Academe Volume 90, Number 1, ISSN 0190-2946

Abstract

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.

Citation

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

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