The Printers Collection launch party. View the gallery here
|Printers and Unions - Globalisation and Technological Change|
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Globalisation and Technological Change
Just as technological and economic change forced the mergers of many small, local graphical and paper making unions over a period of 150 years, technological and economic change created the need for unions to merge to stay relevant. Technological change has included the development of high-speed presses, automated print finishing, electronic publishing, the development of the Internet, web based publications, electronic books and the almost universal use of computers have created the paperless society.
The everyday requirements for printed products has diminished and this in turn affected the print and graphical unions worldwide - along with the globalization of economies.
Printed products can be produced anywhere in the world in ‘real-time’, the use of the internet and social media to get upto the minute information has effected newspapers with some newspapers now becoming ‘digital first’ or ‘digital only’ publications.
Specialist graphical and papermaking unions are now few and far between in Europe and in western economies. Graphical unions have merged with larger multi industry unions (such as Unite in the UK and Ireland).
For instance in Germany print graphical workers and journalists formally in the IG Media union are now part of the 2.1 million strong ver.di union. In the Nordic countries graphical workers are part of larger general or technology based unions, in the USA the Graphic Communications International Union have long been members of the Teamsters Union and in Canada, Canadian graphical and papermaking workers, previously part of the Canadian, Energy And Paperworkers Union are now part of Unifor following a merger between the CEP and the Canadian Autoworkers Union in 2013.
One significant development, due to the effects of globalisation was the creation of a global union Workers Uniting. In 2008 Unite and the United Steelworkers in the USA and Canada signed an agreement to form an independent union, registered in four countries, the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada to fightback against the power of multi-national corporations.
The USW itself has many thousands of members employed in the papermaking and packaging sector and the USW works closely with Unite in the paper and packaging sectors in developing collective bargaining strategies across common companies, exchange of information, regular dialogue, the involvement in European Works Councils and on organizing initiatives.
The effects of globalization have been felt far and wide for graphical and paperworkers. Global Union Federations such as the International Graphical Federation merged with other unions in the service and finance sector to form Union Network International (with a specialist graphical and packaging sector) and paper and packaging workers formerly in the International Chemical Workers Federation and International Metalworkers Federation are now part of the manufacturing global union federation of IndustriALL.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 10:32|
There are a number of ways you can help to support us. You can donate online. You can join the Library as an individual member and get your union branch to affiliate. If you are a retired or working print worker and would like to volunteer to take groups around the Collection, you can apply here to join our panel of volunteers.
The Printers’ Collection was launched in February 2009 by Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of UNITE. To mark the opening a full-colour and richly illustrated 64-page brochure has been published. It is available here priced £5.
We are preparing an online book of memories of print workers. You may want to share with us your experience of being an apprentice, of your working life or activity as a trade unionist. If so, please write here and we will include all or parts of it in the forthcoming section.
Unite the union - graphical, paper and media section has kindly donated a substantial part of its collection of print ephemera, memorabilia and records in the Printers’ Collection. But some of our best and most surprising items have been donated by individuals or local union chapels and branches. If you have a print related item, which, you believe, would be of interest to others and you wish to donate it or simply loan it, to the Collection include a short description of it here.