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Rudy, Preston

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"The Culture of the Labor Movement and of Work in the US"

Published in Sociology Compass July 2009

With the resurgence of union organizing during the 1990s, a new scholarship about the labor movement has emerged, documenting and explaining this new social movement unionism. Literature on the culture of work is well developed while, generally speaking, in the scholarship about the labor movement, culture is an underdeveloped analysis. In this article, we look at the culture of market fundamentalism as the dominant way of thinking and explaining work and labor in the United States. Market fundamentalism has emerged at the same time that women and immigrants have become much more numerous among U.S. workers, and they have brought with them new cultural emphases at work and among unions. In response to market fundamentalism and with the activism of women and immigrants among others, unions have transformed their own culture toward social movement unionism and have pushed for a new culture of work.