Organizing vs. Service Model

Organizing Model

Service (for Business) Model

Attitude toward employer

Defending members is most important.

Good relationship with management is most important.

Attitude toward members

Inclusive. Tries to reflect workforce in composition of union leadership.

Exclusive. Little turnover in leadership. Suspicious of newcomers.

Grievance handling

Tries to involve all members in the department.

Tries to settle without involvement of members.

Settling grievances

Make immediate supervisor settle by showing solidarity of workers.

Settle at highest level with company or through arbitration.

Selection of stewards

Election by co-workers.

Appointment by union leadership.


Large bargaining committee, constant flow of information to members.

Small committee, negotiations often kept secret until a settlement is reached.

Strategy and tactics

Encourage initiative and creativity of members.

Reluctant to involve members in bringing pressure on employer.

Organizing the unorganized

Union represents all workers – organized and unorganized. In a constant state of organizing.

Unwilling and unable to organize. feels threatened by newly organized.

Members view of the union

Take personal responsibility for success or failure of the union.

An insurance policy or a “third party” to call on when they have a problem.