Rules to Win By: Power and Participation in Union Negotiations is a book for workers, unionists, tenant organizers, racial justice and climate campaigners, academics, policymakers and everyone who wants a more fair and democratic society. Drawing insights from recent hard-won union negotiation campaigns, Jane McAlevey and Abby Lawlor look to the workers leading some of the toughest fights today to provide a masterclass in participatory social change. In the face of a small committee of middle management and their lawyers, most unions put forward a similarly small committee of worker representatives who negotiate behind closed doors.
This book focuses on the nuts and bolts of a different approach: high-participation negotiations. It features six case studies from the last five years: Boston hotel workers, educators in New Jersey, nurses in rural Massachusetts and Philadelphia, reporters from the L.A. Times and Law360, and hospital workers in Germany fighting for their patients and their own lives in the pandemic. In each of these cases, workers used the collective bargaining process to achieve transformative contracts through deep organizing and member-driven strategy.
Rules to Win By offers not only a theory of high-participation negotiations, but also practical tools and resources for any campaign. Unlike so many books on negotiations, it encourages us to think beyond the shortcuts of verbal tricks and short-term tactics and to harness the power of ordinary people to win the public good.
Some of the case studies included in Rules to Win By were first researched by Jane McAlevey as a Labor Center Senior Policy Researcher with the assistance of Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Abigail Lawlor, with resources provided by the UC Berkeley Labor Center.