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In the Interest of OthersOrganizations and Social Activism$
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John S. Ahlquist and Margaret Levi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158563

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158563.001.0001

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Signaling Solidarity?

Signaling Solidarity?

(p.230) Chapter 8 Signaling Solidarity?
In the Interest of Others

John S. Ahlquist

Margaret Levi

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the possibility that political activism may yield an economic benefit to the union. To the extent that this is true, it further reinforces the rank-and-file confidence in the leadership and, consequently, the governance equilibrium leading to group-level political mobilization. The chapter specifically analyzes whether and how large-scale political actions by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Waterside Workers' Federation (WWF) (now merged into the Maritime Union of Australia, or MUA) could serve as signaling devices to employers when it comes time to bargain over wages. The signaling explanation may be at play in the ILWU, but only after significant technological shocks to the industry and a softening of confidence in Harry Bridges' leadership. Whereas the WWF displays no evidence that its political mobilizations are an attempt to signal solidarity or resolve to employers.

Keywords:   political activism, governance equilibrium, political mobilization, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Waterside Workers' Federation, Maritime Union of Australia, solidarity

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