Union membership has continued to decline over the last several years. The reasons for the decline in union density were discussed; and, recommendations made by various stakeholders for union revival were reviewed. This study focused on one of the proposed initiatives to increase membership numbers, associational union membership. Associational union membership differs from traditional union membership in that there are no collective bargaining agreements and membership is not tied to a specific job or a specific company. To analyze the effectiveness of associational membership and the potential for increasing union density, a case study was conducted on the National Writers Union (NWU). NWU membership is comprised solely of associational union membership. The research focused on the strategies used by the NWU to attract and retain associational union members. The strengths and weaknesses of the NWU program were studied to determine if the NWU's program could be replicated and effectively used by other unions to attract traditional and non-traditional workers into union membership, without a collective bargaining agreement. The research suggests there are several benefits to offering associational union membership programs to include cost savings for the union and flexibility for members (individuals can retain membership regardless of employment). However, with any membership program, the union must ensure membership value to attract new members and retain its current members. Unions must offer programs and services diverse enough to attract a variety of workers' interests, but specific enough to provide a high level of quality and value. Unions interested in establishing associational union membership could use NWU as a model base and then tailor it to meet the needs of their target population. The responses from current and former members could be used as a basis for determining the minimum benefits and services that need to be offered to provide value.
|Subjects||Management; Labor relations; Organizational behavior|
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