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LISTEN: The Most Successful Union Organizer in America Thinks Traditional Organizing Is A Lost Cause

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13.01.2018

If anyone has shown a keen understanding of how to unionize workers in America, it’s David Rolf.

In the 1990s, he was a key player in the Service Employees International Union winning the right to represent some 74,000 home care aides in Los Angeles–the largest union organizing campaign since the 1940s. In his present post, as president of SEIU Local 775 in Seattle, he has spearheaded growth from 1,600 to 45,000 members. In 2014, The American Prospect called Rolf “the most successful union organizer of the past 15 years.”

All of which makes Rolf’s take on the collective-bargaining system–that it is a relic, and that those who truly care about workers should stop focusing their efforts on promoting it–particularly provocative.

“I think we made a valiant . . . bet that if we put enough talent and enough resources behind traditional union organizing that we could somehow bring back the old model,” Rolf told me on the latest........

© Fast Company