Difference and Solidarity: Unions in a Postmodern Age

Michael Selmi, Molly S. McUsic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter negotiates a path between the apparently conflicting pulls of difference and solidarity. Its concept of 'cosmopolitan unionism' locates unity in the recognition of difference and in mutual respect for and empathy with those who are different but with whom one shares a common bond as workers. Although the shift to identity and away from solidarity has valuably highlighted the exclusionary practices of US unions in the past, at the same time, a model that emphasizes differences and suppresses commonalities is unlikely to lead to greater workplace power or equality. Currently, there is too much emphasis on 'us' and 'them', too much emphasis on difference, and too little focus on potential commonalities among workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLabour Law in an Era of Globalization
Subtitle of host publicationTransformative Practices and Possibilities
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191699542
ISBN (Print)9780199271818
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective bargaining
  • Cosmopolitan unionism
  • Labour unions
  • Universal worker
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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