Union strategy and labour- community alliances

The telephonists' exchange closure campaign, Queensland, 1978

Louise Thornthwaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Some unions in the United States have found labour-comomunity alliances an effective tactic for countering management's increasingly sophisticated anti-union strategies and declining union density. This article contributes to the literature on the use of such alliances in Australia by examining the exchange closure campaign of Telecom telephonists in Queensland in 1978. The telephonists had a strategic advan tage in using alliances with rural communities in their struggle against Telecom because it was a large public monopoly employer and because alternative courses of action to immediate exchange closure were available to it. This article suggests that the telephonists' tactic may have a wider applicability in an era of increasingly anti-union rhetoric and legislation, declining union density, and labour movement concerns over the public image of trade unions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-262
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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