January 2nd, 2010 by Amanda Tattersall

How can we change things in an age in which governments are fixated on the bottom line and conventional protest rallies have lost their punch?

Coalitions can be important tools for social change and union revitalisation. What makes them successful? What causes them to fail? Community organiser Amanda Tattersall in Power in Coalition examines successful coalitions between unions and community organisations in three countries: the public education coalition in Sydney, Toronto’s Ontario Health Coalition fighting to save universal health care, and Chicago’s living wage campaign run by the Grassroots Collaborative. She explores when and how coalitions can be a powerful strategy for social change, organisational development and union renewal.

The Power in Coalition website is designed for researchers and organizers (organisers) to provide up-to-date commentary, research and training materials on coalitions between unions and community organizations (organisations). It accompanies the publication of Power in Coalition by Cornell University Press and (Allen & Unwin in Australia) in 2010.

You can purchase the book through Cornell University Press (for international audiences):

Cornell University Press Link

Those in Australia and New Zealand can purchase the book locally through Allen & Unwin:

Allen & Unwin website link

Praise for Power in Coalition:

‘If unions are to maximise their influence in the 21st century they must build alliances with other organisations around economic, social and ecological concerns effecting humanity. This book shows it is possible to build the necessary coalitions to achieve this end.’

Jack Mundey, instigator of the 1970s Green Bans movement in Sydney

‘At last a scholar/activist who understands that coalitions are not merely a way of advancing union goals! Building on three successful coalitions in Australia, Canada, and the United States, Amanda Tattersall identifies three main mechanisms that lead to successful coalition formation between unions and community organizations: identifying common concerns, building organizational relationships, and finding the right scale. She shows how unions can transcend the narrow corporatism of ‘business unionism’ to return to the social movements they once were in a world that has become more complex and more indifferent to the needs of both workers and communities.’

Professor Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University

‘Amanda Tattersall’s book is the most insightful study of coalitions to date. It is not your typical gauzy view of coalition building, but offers a clear-sighted, practical road map to building more effective labor-community coalitions and in turn an opportunity to transform the labor movement.’

Jeff Blodgett, Executive Director, Wellstone Action

‘Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how to build the power of working people in a changing world, Amanda Tattersall’s book is at once timely, practical, inspiring and challenging. Combining analysis of action with useful theory, it provides an important new tool for activists everywhere—in unions or beyond them—who want to build sustained and sustaining coalitions that have the potential to change the world.’

Professor Barbara Pocock, Director, Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia