Contributing editor Nancy MacLean sits down with the remarkable union organizer Andrea van den Heever. A white South African who fled the apartheid regime, van den Heever fortuitously landed a secretarial job at Yale University in 1982, just as HERE's organizing drive among clerical workers was getting off the ground. Soon she had been recruited to a struggle that has never let go of her, first as local steward, today as director of Community Organizing Project for the international union. In wide-ranging reflections with MacLean, van den Heever identifies both the strategies and sensibilities at the core of modern-day unionism as social movement. Among the many highlights of her account is the conceptual link she envisioned between the Freedom Charter in South Africa and the New Social Contract among New Haven workers; her emphasis on the need for twinned attention to African American and Latino community concerns; and the role of both clergy and student and faculty supporters in helping balance an uneven playing field in organizing campaigns.
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