An Inspiring Case of Union Organizing in a Formidable Context: The Case of TÜMTİS in Turkey

, by BIRELMA Alpkan


This paper concerns the recent transformation and ensuing successes of a Turkish trade union of road transport workers, called Tüm Taşıma İşçileri Sendikası (TÜMTİS). In the mid-2000s TÜMTİS was mainly organized in traditional, small-sized delivery companies, which were under the pressure of the structural shift in the transportation sector towards large-sized corporations. At that time, the union had around 1,500 members with collective contracts. The revitalization began after a change in leadership in 2007. The strategic choice to concentrate on a large-scale, international firm with the support of International Transport Workers’ Federation and UNI Global Union was the turning point. The ensuing United Parcel Service campaign between 2009 and 2011 ended with a collective agreement for nearly 3,000 new members. TÜMTİS won its second large-scale organizing campaign in DHL ending with an agreement for new 2,260 members in 2014. At the time of writing a third large-scale firm is on the verge of recognition. The paper argues that TÜMTİS’ success rests on two types of associational power resources, namely member participation and internal cohesion, which were multiplied thanks to the capabilities of framing, intermediating and learning of the new leadership. These resources and capabilities led the way for TÜMTİS to discover and employ a power resource that was untapped before, the associational power of global unions at the transnational level.

Full text (PDF): An Inspiring Case of Union Organizing in a Formidable Context: The Case of TÜMTİS in Turkey by Alpkan Birelma

Alpkan Birelma

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