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Building Effective Unions: Motivating and Organizing Union Members


In this course students will examine the history of workers' efforts to form and join unions and the development of the legal framework within which contemporary organizing typically occurs. New methods of organizing that consider the political, social, and economic environments will be explored along with the various factors that influence workers' willingness to join unions. Of great interest will be discussions about how unions can "unionize" their members so that they become willing participants in the mobilization of other workers to recognize and support the values of the labor movement. We will further discuss the pitfalls of concentrating solely on gaining new members, we neglect to continually engage the current membership. 

Key Topics

  • Legal Framework for Union Organizing
  • Traditional Methods of Organizing Workers into Unions
  • New Contemporary Methods of Organizing Workers
  • How the Current Organizing Model is Affected by Janus vx. AFSCME
  • Learn Effective Methods When Engaging Non-Members
  • Organizing the Organized

Approaches and Features
This online course will use asynchronous group discussion, text readings, weekly course notes, and a mock organizing campaign to introduce and practice new concepts.  Students participate in a required live weekly webinar with the instructor is available to students to discuss the week's topics, obtain detailed information, and to ask questions ( the webinars are also recorded for student playback or in case of student absence).  Participants do not have to be online on a specific day or time, other than participation in the weekly webinars.  A mid-term and final exam, along with student participation throughout the course will determine the grade that a student receives.


John Castella

John Castella has been representing union members for over 21 years, serving as a Lead Organizer and currently a Staff Representative for the Communications Workers of America. He negotiates collective bargaining agreements as well as represents members in discipline hearings, up to and including mediation and arbitration. Mr. Castella holds the position of Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers University, School of Management and Labor Relations since 2012. He also serves on the National Council for the American Association of University Professors. In addition, Mr. Castella is the Vice- President of the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) Alumni Association.


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