Rethinking Labor Unionism in Spaces of Precarious Work

  • Ian Thomas MacDonald
Part of the Work, Organization, and Employment book series (WOAE)


The neoliberal regime of production and services has created a rapacious neoliberal regime that has severely eroded established trade unions and expanded informal work in capitalist countries and leading to the vast expansion of precarious labor, which provides low wages and limited job security. To counter these efforts, unions must challenge precarious work arrangements at the policy level to broaden the forms of labor representation into nontraditional jobs. To do so, unions are compelled to take a far broader view of their organizing and representation function through organizing around class and aligning with new social movements around race and gender, housing issues, and public services. Urban space is the staging ground for new social movements which, whether struggling against gentrification, in defense of public services, for living wages or against racist policing, have a working-class character even if they are not rooted in the workplace. Unions must seize on their potential to develop strategies for the mobilization of urban-based class solidarities in commercial and gentrified spaces that are vulnerable to working-class demands and collective action.


Labour organization Precarious work Regulaory regimes Urban space 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École de Relations Industrielles, Université de MontréalMontrealCanada

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