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Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 12, pp. 249-264


This essay addresses the historical and contemporary roles which trade unions have played in creating conditions necessary for democracy to flourish. Their effectiveness in fulfilling these roles is due in large measure to the organizational characteristics which make trade unions the archetypal civil society organization: democratic representation, demographic representation, financial independence, breadth of concerns and placement within society. This essay explores these aspects of the trade union movement and suggests that advocates for democracy have cause for concern in the absence of a vibrant, and independent, domestic trade union movement.



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