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A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Antecedents Open Access

A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Antecedentsof Union Commitment on the Everyday Lived Experiencesof Union Members During a Labor and Management DisputeThe concept of union commitment is fundamental to the institutional future of the American labor movement. Unions rely on their members for a plethora of volunteer activities, such as union organizing, collective bargaining, political activism, informational picketing, attendance at union meetings, and running for elective office. However, most research in this area comprises cross-sectional studies of individual attitudes and behavioral intentions. Virtually all of these studies have adopted a quantitative research framework. This qualitative phenomenological study explored the antecedents of union commitment among 10 San Francisco hotel workers during a major labor dispute between UNITE HERE and the hotel management employer group. Using semistructured interviews, the study sought specific information about how the major antecedents of union commitment identified within the literature arose and developed in the lives of these individuals and about interrelations among these motivational bases as the subjects saw them. Ten themes were common among the participants: (1) union commitment, (2) employee voice, (3) instrumentality/economic exchange, (4) social exchange, (5) collective bargaining agreement, (6) job satisfaction, (7) upward mobility, (8) social responsibility and immigrant rights, (9) community and political organizing, and (10) union organizing. Research results supported the widely accepted four dimensions underpinning the union commitment construct--union loyalty, responsibility to the union, willingness to work for the union, and belief in unionism--as well as the premise that union commitment extends beyond economic exchange or social exchange and is embedded in a value-based identification with the goals and the mission of the union. Further, union members derived both intrinsic satisfaction and extrinsic satisfaction from their union affiliation.

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