NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Helping Workers Online and Offline: Innovations in Union and Worker Organization Using the Internet

Richard B. Freeman, M. Marit Rehavi

NBER Working Paper No. 13850
Issued in March 2008
NBER Program(s):   LS

This study examines two innovative efforts to provide union services to workers with the aid of low cost Internet communication: the AFL-CIO's Working America, a "community affiliate" that enrolled 2 million workers from 2004 to 2007 by canvassing them at their homes and over the Internet (www.workingamerica.org); and the UK'S Trade Union Congress's www.unionreps.org.uk, a discussion board for worker representatives to communicate about workplace issues. Working America demonstrates that workers without collective bargaining will join a union organization that communicates on-line and off-line and campaigns for worker interests in society. Unionreps.org shows that local worker representatives can form an on-line community that shares information to improve the services they give workers. Combining the two innovations could be a step toward a new "open source" union form that provides union services at low cost outside of collective bargaining.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13850

Published: Helping Workers Online and Offline: Innovations in Union and Worker Organization Using the Internet, Richard B. Freeman, M. Marit Rehavi. in Studies of Labor Market Intermediation , Autor. 2009

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