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Chapter Summary

Employees who join a union have two main kinds of interests to defend. These concern the exchange of labor power for money and the actual consumption" of the labor power bought by the employer, during the labor process. process. Trade unions deal both with wage negotiations, sick pay arrangements, etc., and with working conditions, labor intensity, and the like. A strike, or the threat of a strike, is the ultimate weapon a trade union can use to enforce these interests. Resistance by the authorities, entrepreneurs or third parties may prevent unions from maintaining control over their domain. In an ever-expanding capitalist economy, maintaining union power requires expanding its domain gradually, either horizontally (through endogenous expansion, collaboration with other unions, or setting up new unions with the same domain elsewhere) or vertically (through endogenous expansion, collaboration with other unions, or setting up new unions with adjacent domains in the same region).

Keywords: capitalist economy; employees; labor power; strike; trade unions



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