Professor Tom Marvin’s work identifies several factors that contribute to greater effectiveness of community and labor coalitions. His work involves local labor organizers with specialized knowledge of and investment in the local community—and well-structured, service-learning and internship opportunities for students who want to become organizers. Professor Marvin trains local labor organizers through his role as director of the Masarachia Scholars Program, which is designed to give tomorrow’s community leaders the skills they will need to build viable democratic institutions and contribute to social and economic justice. His research looks at participant observation of labor and community coalitions in Indianapolis since 2007—and includes survey and interview data, as well as research into the historical, political, and cultural context of Indianapolis. This research has the potential to improve everyday life for all Indianapolis workers by increasing the standard of living, giving workers a voice in the workplace, and strengthening communities. Professor Marvin’s work to create effective community and labor coalitions is another example of how IUPUI faculty are TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.
(Sage, 2014-12) Marvin, Thomas F.; Department of English, School of Liberal Arts
This study compares how two union organizing campaigns have attempted to mobilize community support by examining the opportunity structure for organizing in Indianapolis, comparing the community outreach efforts of the two campaigns, and assessing their effectiveness in matching their strategies to local conditions. Although some suggest that the “L.A. model” of creating powerful labor-community coalitions is replicable in other cities, important differences in the local opportunity structure force organizers to “start from scratch” and improvise innovative strategies in cities like Indianapolis that lack a strong social justice infrastructure.