Resources to Understand Collective Bargaining Across Sectors

An illustration of collective bargaining organizers protesting with signs against a lilac background. Overlaid text reads "Collective Bargaining: Resources."

Collective bargaining has frequently been at the center of the US news cycle over the past few years, with no signs of coverage abating any time soon. As labor power has weakened over decades, and workers across sectors feel increasingly ground down, the once diminished impact of labor unions and collective bargaining have witnessed a resurgence in popularity.

To meet this moment, Toward Inclusive Excellence has sought out resources on collective bargaining for our Fall 2023 resource list, given the growing importance of this topic to American politics and society. Our initial intention was to cultivate resources focused solely on collective bargaining within higher education, but we ultimately decided to broaden our scope to consider collective bargaining across sectors.

Given partnerships between graduate student unions and trade unions, this move seemed appropriate. Still burgeoning graduate student unions have frequently turned to these partnerships with more established unions for growth and learning opportunities as well as solidarity and support, indicating that there is much to be learned from unionization efforts across diverse fields of labor. As these texts reveal, labor power can wield immense influence in American society when channeled through organized networks.

Foundational Resources for Understanding Collective Bargaining

  1. Augmented Exploitation: Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Work (2021) ed. by Phoebe Moore and Jamie Woodcock
  2. Black Milwaukee: The Making of an Industrial Proletariat, 1915–1945 (1985; 2nd ed., 2007) by Joe William Trotter, Jr.
  3. Class Struggle Unionism (2022) by Joe Burns
  4. Collective Bargaining in the Private Sector (2002) ed. by Paul F. Clark, John T. Delaney, Ann C. Frost
  5. Collective Bargaining Preparation Essentials: The Handbook, 2nd ed. (2020) by Hugh J. Finlayson
  6. Collective Bargaining Under Duress: Case Studies of Major North American Industries (2013) ed. by Howard R. Stanger, Paul F. Clark, and Ann C. Frost
  7. Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor (2022) by Kim Kelly
  8. Forging a Union of Steel: Philip Murray, SWOC, and the United Steelworkers (1987) ed. by Paul Clark, Peter Gottlieb, and Donald Kennedy
  9. A “Freedom Budget” for All Americans (1966) by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin
  10. From the Folks that Brought You the Weekend: An Illustrated History of Labor in the United States (2018) by Priscilla Murolo and A. B. Chitty, illustrations by Joe Sacco
  11. A History of American in Ten Strikes (2018) by Erik Loomis
  12. In Solidarity: Essays on Working-Class Organization and Strategy in the United States (2014) by Kim Moody
  13. An Introduction to U.S. Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations, 5th ed. (2017) by Harry C. Katz, Thomas A. Kochan, and Alexander J. S. Colvin
  14. The Jackson Project: War in the American Workplace (2016) by Phil Cohen
  15. Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law, 2nd ed. (2011) by Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross
  16. Labor Power and Strategy (2023) by John Womack, Jr., ed. by Peter Olney and Glenn Perusek
  17. The Labor Wars: From the Molly Maguires to the Sit Downs (2009) Sidney Lens
  18. Labor’s End: How the Promise of Automation Degraded Work (2022) by Jason Resnikoff
  19. Poor Workers’ Unions: Rebuilding Labor from Below, updated and revised 2nd ed. (2016) by Vanessa Tait
  20. Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement (2012) by Jane McAlevey and Bob Ostertag
  21. Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals (1971) by Saul Alinsky
  22. State of the Union: A Century of American Labor, revised and expanded ed. (2013) by Nelson Lichtenstein
  23. Teamster Rebellion (1972) by Farrell Dobbs
  24. The Union Steward’s Field Book: A Pocket Guide to Dealing with Management (2020) by Randy A. Speeg
  25. Why Unions Matter, 2nd ed. (2009) by Michael D. Yates

Collective Bargaining in Education

  1. About Us: Our History,” United Teachers of Los Angeles
  2. Academic Collective Bargaining (2006) ed. by Ernst Benjamin and Michael Mauer
  3. Collective Bargaining in Education: Negotiating Change in Today’s Schools (2006) ed. by Jane Hannaway and Andrew J. Rotherham
  4. Collective Bargaining in Higher Education: Best Practices for Promoting Collaboration, Equity, and Measurable Outcomes (2022) ed. by Daniel J. Julius
  5. A Collective Pursuit: Teachers’ Unions and Education Reform (2020) by Lesley Lavery
  6. Contingent Faculty and the Remaking of Higher Education: A Labor History (forthcoming, 2024) ed. by Eric Fure-Slocum and Claire Goldstene
  7. A New Era of Union Activism in Higher Ed” (2023) by James B. Thelen
  8. Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the Contingent Faculty Movement in Higher Education (2021) by Joe Berry and Helena Worthen
  9. Professors in the Gig Economy: Unionizing Adjunct Faculty in America (2018) ed. by Kim Tolley
  10. Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working Class Politics (2019) by Eric Blanc
  11. Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity (2014) by Micah Uetricht
  12. Teachers Are Leading the Revolt Against Austerity” (2018) by Jane McAlevey
  13. Unionizing the Ivory Tower: Cornell Workers’ Fifteen-Year Fight for Justice and a Living Wage (2023) Al Davidoff

Collective Bargaining and Racial Justice

  1. Barrios Norteños: St. Paul and Midwestern Mexican Communities in the Twentieth Century (2000) by Dionicio Nodín Valdés
  2. Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers: A Selective Bibliography (1974) by Beverly Fodell
  3. Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-Twentieth-Century South (2003) by Robert R. Korstad
  4. A Dolores Huerta Reader (2008) ed. by Mario T. Garcia
  5. From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement (2012) by Matt Garcia
  6. Organized Agriculture and the Labor Movement before the UFW: Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, California (2011) by Dionicio Nodín Valdés
  7. Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 1619–1981 (2018) by Philip S. Foner
  8. Reverend Addie Wyatt: Faith and the Fight for Labor, Gender, and Racial Equality (2016) by Marcia Walker-McWilliams
  9. Workers On Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America (2019) by Joe William Trotter, Jr.

Collective Bargaining and Gender Equality

  1. Can collective bargaining help close the gender wage gap for women in non-standard jobs?” (2020) by Touzet Chloé
  2. Collective Bargaining for Women: How Unions Can Create Female-Friendly Jobs” (2022) by Viola Corradini, Lorenzo Lagos, and Garima Sharma
  3. Collective Bargaining and Gender Equality (2018) by Jane Pillinger and Nora Wintour
  4. Does the Gender Mix Influence Collective Bargaining on Gender Equality? Evidence from France” (2021) by Anne-Sophie Bruno, Nathalie Greenan, and Jeremy Tanguy
  5. On the Line: A Story of Class, Solidarity, and Two Women’s Epic Fight to Build a Union (2022) by Daisy Pitkin
  6. The Other Women’s Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America (2004) by Dorothy Sue Cobble
  7. Silk Stockings and Socialism: Philadelphia’s Radical Hosiery Workers from the Jazz Age to the New Deal (2017) by Sharon McConnell-Sidorick

How Collective Bargaining Can Empower Marginalized Communities

  1. AFSCME’s Philadelphia Story: Municipal Workers and Urban Power in the Twentieth Century (2010) by Francis Ryan
  2. Arise: Power, Strategy, and Union Resurgence (2021) by Jane Holgate
  3. Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (2019) by Steve Greenhouse
  4. Breaking the Impasse: Electoral Politics, Mass Action, and the New Socialist Movement in the United States (2022) by Kim Moody
  5. A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy (2020) by Jane McAlevey
    • Chapters 1, 5, and 6 are particularly useful
  6. “Conflict, Change, and Economic Policy in the Long 1970s” by Judith Stein in Rebel Rank and File: Labor Militancy and Revolt from Below During the Long 1970s (2010) ed. by Aaron Brenner, Robert Brenner, and Cal Winslow
  7. Democracy is Power: Rebuilding Unions from the Bottom Up (1999) by Mike Parker and Martha Gruelle
  8. Fighting Union Busters in a Carolina Carpet Mill: An Organizer’s Memoir (2020) by Phil Cohen
  9. How Amazon Workers Are Organizing for the Long Haul” (2020) by Amazonians United
  10. How The PRO Act Impacts Marginalized Workers” (2021) by Reckoning Trade Project
  11. Labor Unions, Political Representation, and Economic Inequality” (2017) by John S. Ahlquist
  12. The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland (2020) by Toni Gilpin
  13. New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism (2014) ed. by Immanel Ness
  14. Organizing for Power: Building a 21st Century Labor Movement in Boston (2021) by Aviva Chomsky and Steve Striffler
  15. Organizing Insurgency: Workers’ Movements in the Global South (2021) by Immanuel Ness
  16. Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America (2011) by Joe Burns
  17. Rules to Win By: Power and Participation in Union Negotiations (2023) by Jane McAlevey and Abby Lawlor
  18. Strike Back: Rediscovering Militant Tactics to Fight the Attacks on Public Employee Unions, updated ed. (2019) by Joe Burns
  19. There Is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America (2011) by Philip Dray
  20. Under the Iron Heel: The Wobblies and the Capitalist War on Radical Workers (2022) by Ahmed White
  21. Union Power: The United Electrical Workers in Erie, Pennsylvania (2017) by James Young
    • Chapters 1, 2, and 7 are particularly useful
  22. Unions are not only good for workers, they’re good for communities and for democracy” (2021) by Asha Banerjee, Margaret Poydock, Celine McNicholas, Ihna Mangundayao, and Ali Sait
  23. Where Are the Workers?: Labor Stories at Workers’ Museums and Historical Sites (2022) ed. by Robert Forrant and Mary Anne Tresciatti

Digital Resources

  1. Building Power Through Collective Bargaining” (2019) Video by AFTHQ
  2. Farmworker Movement Documentation Project (2004–2012) compiled and published by LeRoy Chatfield, presented by the UC San Diego Library
  3. How Do Unions Negotiate Contracts?” (2021) Video by The Valley Labor Report
  4. How Rough Is A NYC Union Negotiation? This Rough!” (2019) Video by David Hoffman
  5. Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy (2008–)
  6. Labor Notes
    • Labor Notes is a media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists since 1979.
  7. National Center E-Note” (2014–)
    • The E-Note is the monthly newsletter of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions.
  8. Public Sector Collective Bargaining in Virginia: Then and Now” (2021) Video by United Campus Workers of Virginia
  9. Radio Free Labor on WEFT Community Radio 90.1 FM (2020–) Hosted by Gus Wood, Stephanie Fortado and Bob Paleczny
    • Stream Live online, Saturdays, 11AM CST/12PM EST
  10. Toolkit: Advancing Racial Justice in the Professional Workplace” (2020) by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO
  11. Union 411: Collective Bargaining” (2019) Video by AFSCME
  12. Why Corporate America Hates Unions” (2022) Video by Second Thought

TIE is grateful to the following experts who graciously contributed these specialized recommendations:

Dr. Biko Agozino's headshot

Dr. Biko Agozino

Professor, Sociology and Africana Studies, Virginia Tech
Twitter: @BikoZino

Headshot of Whitney Kramer

Whitney Kramer

ILR Research and Data Librarian, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University

Headshot of Ed Remus

Edward Remus

Assistant Professor and Social Sciences Librarian, Ronald Williams Library, Northeastern Illinois University

Headshot of Augustus Wood

Dr. Augustus Wood

Assistant Professor, School of Labor & Employment Relations, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Photo of James Alan Young

Dr. James Alan Young

Professor Emeritus, Social Sciences, PennWest Edinboro

Explore more DEIA Resource Lists from Choice.

Sign up for Toward Inclusive Excellence (TIE) new post notifications and updates.

Interested in contributing to TIE? Send an email to Deb V. at Choice with your topic idea.

Header image is a detail of This is Harlem by Jacob Lawrence. Courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. © 2021 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. For more information, click here.