open union

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A trade union with a broad job territory; that is, it recruits and represents workers across a range of industries, enterprises, and occupations. In the UK, Unite is an example of an open union because its membership covers a broad range of, largely manual, occupations in industries as diverse as air transport, docks, road transport, engineering, chemicals, oil refining, retail, local government, and the voluntary sector. There has been a trend for trade unions in the UK to become more open over time. Many craft unions, for instance, which used to restrict their membership to an elite of skilled workers, now recruit amongst semi- and unskilled manual workers and clerical and technical workers. The process of merger between trade unions has contributed significantly to the genesis of more open unions. [See closed union and general union.]

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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