Mobile social media as platforms in workers’ unionization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the use of mobile social media in three successive campaigns to unionize workers (2012–2014) in Israel. We examine the workers’ efforts to initiate a union in their workplace as a sociomaterial process of organizing. An analysis of unionization-related Facebook pages and interviews with union activists reveals how the activists leveraged the portable-visibility afforded by social media networks (Facebook and WhatsApp) and mobile devices (Smartphones) to create and express their collective voice, achieving both mobilization of workers and recognition by management. The analysis traces how the activists tactically leveraged the portable-visibility of the media they used, fine-tuning visibility and manipulating portability during the covert and overt phases of their campaign. In the conclusion, we unpack the challenges involved in utilizing these neoliberal platforms in workers unionization efforts within the organizational setting and discuss the implications of these tensions for the study of both organizational resistance and mass protest.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)437-453
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Volume23
Issue number3
StatePublished - 23 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Mobile social media
  • activism
  • labour
  • organizational communication
  • participant structure
  • unionization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

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