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Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 2000
Length: 20 pages

Abstract

When the employees of a Kmart distribution center in Greensboro, North Carolina vote to unionize, they encounter difficulty in negotiating a contract with their employer, which viewed wages and working conditions as in keeping with regional conditions. Ultimately, members of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers decide that they must enlist public opinion as a means to pressure management. This series of cases describes the tactics they employ-tactics which at first alienate local opinion but which are adjusted in ways that prove effective. The case describes, in particular, the decision to recruit local religious leaders, whose support proves crucial. The case is meant to support discussion of organizing tactics and strategy. Alternatively, it can be used to discuss labor economics, as a vehicle to examine the substance of the Kmart employees'' complaints and the counter-arguments mounted by company management.

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Abstract

When the employees of a Kmart distribution center in Greensboro, North Carolina vote to unionize, they encounter difficulty in negotiating a contract with their employer, which viewed wages and working conditions as in keeping with regional conditions. Ultimately, members of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers decide that they must enlist public opinion as a means to pressure management. This series of cases describes the tactics they employ-tactics which at first alienate local opinion but which are adjusted in ways that prove effective. The case describes, in particular, the decision to recruit local religious leaders, whose support proves crucial. The case is meant to support discussion of organizing tactics and strategy. Alternatively, it can be used to discuss labor economics, as a vehicle to examine the substance of the Kmart employees'' complaints and the counter-arguments mounted by company management.

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