We Have Paid Our Dues: Black Women And Their Perceptions of Labor Organizations in the United States

Deidra Haygood, The College of Wooster


This study investigates how Black women union members perceive labor organizations, their collective bargaining power and how their labor organizations have changed in recent years. The methods used for this research study consist of interviewing and surveying Black women who have been unionized for over 20 years. Are Black women satisfied with how their labor union functions and what do they feel are some of the specific benefits of being unionized? Thirteen women were interviewed and seven women were surveyed in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio. Several different labor organizations, both private and public sector, were used for this study. Various theories, for example Marxism and Radical Feminist theory, were used throughout this study to analyze and interpret the research data collected. A majority of the women interviewed and surveyed were satisfied with their labor unions and their collective bargaining power. All of the women who were used for this study had been unionized for over 20 years and a majority of them felt that their union bargaining power is as strong if not stronger than when they originally joined. There were some exceptions conceming collective bargaining but most of the women were satisfied with the cunent state of their labor organizations. Race and gender were very important aspects of this study. Because Black women have expetienced racism and sexism within the labor market as well as labor unions, how Black women I perceive labor unions is crucial to understanding the importance of labor unions to Ametican workers in today's society.


© Copyright 1999 Deidra Haygood