Can LO Work in a Unionized Environment? LO11871

Ragnar S. Johansen (
13 Jan 1997 19:36:10 +0100

Replying to LO11746 --

On january 13. Gerald Burch wrote:

>I've been lurking for quite some time, and enjoying the conversation.
>Now, as a practitioner with some first hand experience, I feel
>compelled to speak out and say, unequivicollaly - yes! LO can and does
>work in a unionized environment provided certain conditions are met.

I have indeed been lurking and enjoying myself, and I would like to extend
my position even beyond that of mr. Burch, asking the question: "Can LO
work in a NON-unionized environment?"

At most manufacturing plants, workers outnumber the management by far. How
then, is it possible, without a workers organization (union), to conduct
an organizationwide dialog aiming at a learning process? (Without making
it the sole objective of every managers working day.)

Since the workers are percived as somewhat of a homogenous group, even by
themselves, legitimate representation of workers interests is, IMHO, more
of a prerequisite for than an obstacle to an LO-process, at least in the
traditional manufacturing industries. I my situation (junior manager at a
Norwegian food-processing plant), I certainly depend a great deal on the
local unions president, especialy when making an effort towards a learning

Of course unionized environments CAN be politicaly tense and ridden by
powerstruggles and hostility. Atributing such a situation only to the
existence of a union, would seem pretty utopian to me. These kinds of
problems are likely to be symtomps of something quite different from a
learning organization.

Oh.. almost forgot: Hi, everybody; First posting from me.
In the midst of beautifull Norway, I'm busy, making the worlds finest JAM!
(The kind with berries, not saxophones.)
I'm fresh out of the university, where I did two yrs. of graduate work on
organizational development, workforce training and skills-utilization in
the Norwegian food processing industry. Now I'm practicing it ;-)

Ragnar Johansen

[Host's Note: Welcome Ragnar! ...Rick]


"Ragnar S. Johansen" <>

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