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Unions and the strategy of class transformation: The case of the Broadway musicians

Catherine P Mulder, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Through a Marxian critique and analysis of the Broadway musicians' union, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, and organizational design, this dissertation presents a case study that demonstrates how class blindness leads to contradictory and often unintended results, which reinforces a general critique of particular union strategies and agendas. The theoretical approach of New Marxian Class Analysis (NMCA), developed by Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff is used to illustrate the possibility for class transformation. Through a detailed examination of the Broadway musicians' employment, this study shows how unions do not use their collective power for class transformation; moreover, radical union commentators/critics do not theorize about unions as possible agents for such class transformations. Also demonstrated is how unions can facilitate a class transformation that will increase workers' control over their working conditions and enable them to make the changes needed to improve their lives. Finally, this work proffers a proposal for a concrete class-transformative agenda and suggestions how it may be extended to other union workers.

Subject Area

Labor economics|Economic theory|Economics

Recommended Citation

Mulder, Catherine P, "Unions and the strategy of class transformation: The case of the Broadway musicians" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3216957.