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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

In this article, we examine the role of institutional context, organizational structures and trade union strategies in tempering membership decline in the number of trade unions in Poland. Empirical data include membership statistics collected for NSZZ Solidarność and 54 affiliates of two other largest trade union confederations (OPZZ and FZZ) supplemented by semi-structured interviews with union leaders. In a decentralized collective bargaining system in Poland, a centralized trade union confederation (NSZZ Solidarność) can more easily shift resources to efficiently organize workers than decentralized confederations, OPZZ and FZZ, whose development is mostly driven by competing trade unions representing narrower occupational groups. In conclusion, this observation is put in a broader context of the debates about trade union renewal in Eastern Europe.

Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

The level of membership in trade unions has previously been explained by structural and institutional factors in international comparative research, as well as by trade union strategies (Ebbinghaus and Visser 1999; Turner 2009; Western 1994). The structural arguments point to the dynamics of labour markets that diminish recruitment success: the growth of services sectors that are universally less unionized that manufacturing (Western 1994), the rise in atypical employment contracts (temporary/freelance contracts) and the decrease in public sector employment. The central role of institutions and organizational structures is implied by quantitative comparative studies that analyze the dynamics of trade union membership in the Western capitalist context. These studies demonstrate that institutional context determines the effectiveness of and motivation for recruitment (Blanchflower 2007; Ebbinghaus and Visser 1999; Hassel 1999; Western 1994). The importance of trade unionists' ‘agency’, involving innovative membership recruitment strategies, is emphasized in the literature on union organizing, mobilization and social movement unionism. According to this approach, trade unions are actively transforming to adjust to new challenges and to pursue strategies to retain or gain members (Frege and Kelly 2003; Turner 2009).

The central theoretical objective of this article is to enrich the theories of trade union membership through the application of an institutionalist approach and an agency-centred approach in the post-socialist context. The case of Poland provides a good testing ground for both approaches. Polish trade unionism has experienced a sharp decline in membership from 28 per cent in 1991 to 16 per cent in 2010 (Wenzel 2009). However, Poland has also been characterized by well-organized attempts to stop this decline taking the form of organizing campaigns undertaken by unions since the late 1990s (Gardawski 2001). The initial campaigns launched in 1998 by the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarność (NSZZ Solidarność) stemmed from bilateral contacts between the Polish union and the American AFL-CIO. Co-operation with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), dating back to 1993, as well as later support from the British and German trade unions, allowed Solidarność to acquire know-how on organizing (Czarzasty 2010: 249; Gardawski 2001: 210–11). Although trade union organizing strategies were also adopted in other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries (Pedersini 2010), organizing efforts by NSZZ Solidarność in Poland occurred earlier, were more comprehensive and explicitly based on paid union organizers (Krzywdzinski 2010). Therefore, Poland can be considered a critical case to examine the role of trade union strategic choices in halting the decline in union membership in post-socialist countries.

Poland is also an important case to test the applicability of institutionalist theories about the role of collective bargaining structures for trade union strategic choices in a post-socialist context. The institutionalist theories suggest that incentives for union organizing are stronger in decentralized collective bargaining systems (typical of Anglo-Saxon countries) as compared with centralized systems, in which unions' influence is secured through their incorporation in policy-making and sectoral-level collective agreements (Heery and Adler 2004). It is also argued that under centralized collective bargaining, trade union confederations are likely to coordinate their efforts in organizing workers, which enables them to transfer resources to organize non-unionized groups on the labour market (Western 1994: 503). However, Hassel (2007: 179) has challenged this view by showing that institutional security, which trade unions enjoy in some centralized corporatist systems, might limit their willingness to recruit new categories of workers. The case of Poland provides an opportunity to advance institutional debates conducted in the West. Like most CEE countries, Poland resembles the Anglo-Saxon world due to the decentralization of collective bargaining. Nevertheless, Polish industrial relations do not exhibit other important features of Anglo-Saxon countries, for instance, the union recognition rule, which was one of the main reasons motivating US unions to initiate organizing campaigns. Our analysis allows the exploration of additional factors influencing trade union strategies in a ‘post-socialist’ variety of a decentralized collective bargaining system, including union organizational structures, relations among unions and embeddedness of unions in international support networks.

The methodological approach we have chosen is distinct from earlier research (as outlined above). We trace the interplay of institutional and legal contexts, trade union organizational structures and trade union strategies by analyzing a sample of Polish trade unions and their membership dynamics over time. It is not the aggregated membership level but rather the concept of trade union inclusion, understood as the integration of unorganized employees into trade union representation (Ebbinghaus et al. 2008: 1), that is of interest to us. The core empirical data include internal membership statistics and semi-structured interviews with trade union leaders collected in NSZZ Solidarność, three autonomous trade unions and 54 affiliates of the largest trade union confederations, the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) and the Trade Unions Forum (FZZ). The comparison of membership recruitment strategies in OPZZ and FZZ, whose internal structures are decentralized, and the centralized union, NSZZ Solidarność, makes it possible to explore the role of internal trade union structures in union inclusion. As a result, the article can move beyond the well-documented case of the union organizing by NSZZ Solidarność (Krzywdzinski 2010).

We begin with an overview of previous findings on trade union membership in Poland. In the subsequent section, we discuss institutionalist and organizational determinants of trade union recruitment strategies. In the article, patterns of membership growth in selected trade unions are explained in the context of current knowledge deriving from both Western European experiences and the conditions specific to Poland.

Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

In the majority of the post-socialist countries, Poland included, trade unions experienced a dramatic loss of members after the end of state socialism (Crowley 2004). In Poland, the initial phase of membership decline occurred between 1990 and 1993 (see Table 1). The decline was mainly due to the first wave of the privatization of state-owned enterprises, which implied massive layoffs and the introduction of new human resources management (HRM) methods (Gardawski et al. 1999). In the years that followed, however, the de-unionization slowed down. The second wave of accelerating de-unionization arrived in 2000. It is likely that the growing unemployment combined with the re-entry of NSZZ Solidarność into parliamentary politics (1997) were factors behind the increasing velocity of the de-unionization process (Krzywdzinski 2010). After the significant drop in union presence among employees during the two above periods, union density has now stabilized at the level of 15–16 per cent (see Table 1).

Table 1. Trade Union Density in Poland (Per cent of Employees)
Year199120002002200720082010
  1. Source: Public Opinion Research Centre (CBOS) reports in Wenzel (2009: 540) and CBOS reports no. BS/55/2003; BS/21/2008, and BS/109/2010. No survey data on trade union density in other years is available.

Trade union density28%20%18%14%16%15%

Factors behind the de-unionization process specific to post-socialist countries may be grouped into arguments focusing on ideational legacies of state socialism and structural factors. The ‘ideational account’ of trade union weakness (Crowley and Ost 2001; Ost 2005) suggests that the model of unions as welfare agencies, established as allies of management, politically dependent on the Communist Party and underpinned by a weak definition of class interests, left a negative imprint on union strategies and workers' attitudes after system change. It is also argued that the unions, which emerged from the anti-communist movement, had difficulties in reconciling their support to market reforms with their mission to actively articulate and represent workers' collective interests during the decisive period of economic transformation (Ost 2005; Wenzel 2009).

However, recent studies criticize the communist legacy thesis for neglecting the generational change and the disillusioning experiences of work in ‘actually existing capitalism’ (Krzywdzinski 2010; Meardi 2007; Ost 2009). They also suggest that workers' attitudes towards unions are not simply a product of the communist legacy but also derive from modern HRM policies implemented by multinational companies, which discourage workers from joining unions (Tuszyńska 2003). The emergence of privatized life strategies on the side of workers is also considered to be an important factor (Czarzasty 2010; Mrozowicki et al. 2010).

Another set of factors that arguably influence union membership originates in the economic structure. The model of capitalism promoted by new elites in Eastern Europe followed a neoliberal agenda imported from the Anglo-American world (Hardy 2009). Accelerated privatization, decline of heavy industries, expansion of flexible employment contracts and eastward relocation of low-wage, and labour-intensive industries undercut the mobilization potential of trade unions. According to Bohle and Greskovits (2006), the structural conditions responsible for trade union growth after World War II in Western Europe, including the economic and political relevance of skilled workers as mass consumers and mass producers in capital-intensive industries, were lacking in most CEE countries in the first decade of transformation. When skill-intensive investors finally arrived in CEE countries, they seemed to ‘prefer individual case-by-case deals with their workers and public administrations to mediation of nationally or sectorally organized interests’ (Bohle and Greskovits 2006: 12).

Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

The structural and ideational arguments describe the context in which trade unions attempt to recruit their members. However, by focusing on the specificity of the post-socialist countries, they tend to overlook some more generic factors influencing trade union membership in CEE and elsewhere. In the reminder of this section, we discuss four such factors: features of industrial relations system, resource transfer within trade union confederations, support from West European unions and the European Union (EU), and character of trade union strategies. The factors are derived from the literature on trade union renewal strategies in Western capitalist countries and linked — as tentative hypotheses — to the case of Poland.

Structure of Collective Bargaining as an Incentive to Trade Union Organizing

According to Heery and Adler (2004: 58), who explored the strategies of trade unions in Western capitalist countries, incentives for union organizing are higher in decentralized collective bargaining systems, in which trade union workplace recognition depends on union membership (e.g. certification law), and in single-channel systems of worker participation, where trade unions are sole representatives of worker interests at the workplace. Krzywdzinski (2010) adopted those institutionalist assumptions to explain the emergence of union organizing strategies in NSZZ Solidarność. The factors encouraging organizing activities in Poland include decentralized and conflict-oriented collective bargaining systems, low-bargaining coverage, difficult access to companies, high inter-union competition, and restricted access to political parties and the political system (Krzywdzinski 2010: 290). The broader arguments about the effects of centralized bargaining and corporatist structure are consistent with this prediction: ‘unions more entrenched in the socio-political system pay less attention to organizing, since declining membership does not represent the same immediate threat to organizational survival and has less impact, at least in the short run, on union influence on labour market and social policies’ (Baccaro et al. 2003: 121). The lack of competition between trade unions in a corporatist industrial relations system is also a disincentive to expand their membership to new categories of workers (Hassel 2007).

However, literature demonstrates a contradictory evidence on the actual impact of institutional contexts on recruitment strategies. First, trade union strategies ascribed to countries with decentralized collective bargaining systems, such as the UK and the USA, which include union organizing and social movement unionism, have also been noted (albeit as playing a less prominent role) in countries where collective bargaining is much more centralized and its coverage is higher, such as Germany (Turner 2009). Second, the institutional features listed by Krzywdzinski (2010) can also be observed in other CEE countries, in which union organizing has been almost absent during the first 15 years of transformation (Phelan 2007), for instance, in the Baltic states (Pedersini 2010; Woolfson and Kallaste 2011). Consequently, a closer look at the specific features of the Polish industrial relations system and labour legislation is necessary to refine predictions on influence of decentralized collective bargaining on union recruitment.

The structure of Polish industrial relations and the regulatory framework do not provide disorganized workers with strong incentives to join trade unions. Enterprise-level collective agreements rarely exceed the rights guaranteed by the Labour Code and apply to all employees (union members and non-members alike). Institutional incentives for trade unions to seek new members are also limited. The criteria for union recognition in Poland are less restrictive than in countries such as the USA. Only 10 people are required to form a new trade union organization, which explains enduring pluralism of the union movement. Nevertheless, the representativeness of national- and company-level unions in Poland depends on their membership. National-level trade union confederations need to amass a minimum of 300,000 members to enter the Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs, while being a part of a central-level representative union organization (either directly or via a federation or a unitary union associated in a confederation) ensures representativeness of a company-level union. Due to the weakness of tripartite negotiations and very weak representation of trade unions in high-level politics, union influence on policy-making is also dependent on their capacities to mobilize their members via street demonstrations. Furthermore, as multi-employer collective agreements are very rare (covering around 3.5 per cent of the labour force; see MPiPS 2011) and the extension of these agreements to non-signatory parties is not exercised in practice, union organizing is often the only way to influence workers' situation in non-unionized companies.

Resource Transfer in Organizational Context

Not only structure of collective bargaining but also organizational features and resources of trade unions influence union strategies (Levesque and Murray 2010). Two factors, which allowing transfer of human and financial resources for organizing within and between unions seem to be of particular importance in understanding why Polish trade unions, especially, NSZZ Solidarność, have moved to union organizing earlier than other unions in CEE. These include embeddedness of union organizations in broader international support networks and the ability to transfer funds and resources to organize within trade union confederations.

The development of East German trade unions after the collapse of communism in contrast to Hungarian ones can serve as an example illustrating the role of organizational resources and their transfer, which was possible, thanks to the cooperation between the former East German trade unions and the West German trade unions (Frege and Toth 1999). Similarly, the first attempts to organize unorganized workers in Poland were undertaken in the mid-1990s due to financial and practical support granted to NSZZ Solidarność by the SEIU, an affiliate to AFL-CIO (Czarzasty 2010). Although no precise comparative data are available, it could be suggested that the long-established relationships between AFL-CIO and NSZZ Solidarność (dating back to the early 1980s) made the latter a privileged recipient of the American unions' aid in CEE. Afterwards, other foreign actors, including German, British and international trade unions, as well as the EU (among others via its Operational Programme Human Capital), provided resources and influenced strategies of Polish trade unions (Ost 2009). Thus, the embeddedness in the EU and transnational trade unionism are important factors to be explored to understand the opportunities for union organizing in Poland.

The second set of factors refers to the organizational structures of trade union confederations. Coordinated inter-union relations within union confederations enable the transfer of organizing expenditures from industries that are easy to organize to those that are more costly (Western 1994). However, inter-union resource allocation to the task of organizing in Poland has been constrained by ‘competitive pluralism’ both between and within union federations and confederations (Gardawski 2009a). The competitive pluralism emerged as a result of ideological divisions between once anti-communist NSZZ Solidarność and formerly ‘official’ OPZZ, and was further reinforced by the fact that setting up a new union was relatively easy, so various trade unions competed for the same constituency. While historical divisions seem to decrease over time, strong centrifugal tendencies within trade union confederations are continuously present, especially in OPZZ and FZZ (Gardawski 2009a). The empirical comparison of organizing strategies in NSZZ Solidarność, a centralized (unitary) trade union, with decentralized trade union confederations, OPZZ and FZZ, makes it possible to investigate whether the organizational structure of trade unions may pose an obstacle to the transfer of resources for recruitment.

Grassroots Activism and Top-Down Union Organizing Strategies

Although the absence of a favourable institutional environment can somewhat explain the low membership, it is not sufficient to explain union activities aimed at changing their situation. As argued by Turner (2009), institutions can both facilitate and block innovation within trade union movements depending on how union activists and local leaders choose to make use of institutions. Thus, the role of worker agency and the strategic choices of trade union local leaders cannot be underestimated in explaining trade union decline and growth. In the Polish context, it has been argued that the new generation of union activists (Krzywdzinski 2010), women unionists (Hardy et al. 2008) and newcomers to trade unions (Mrozowicki et al. 2010) began to confront the established union structures with the need for internal reforms.

However, activists do not always contribute to the final membership increase as a comparison of 44 case studies of trade union campaigns in the UK and the US illustrates (Hickey et al. 2010). As suggested by Voss (2010: 377), based on the analysis of organizing campaigns in the US, ‘member engagement and rank-and-file involvement are clearly important in their own right, but, to date, paid union staff, strong leadership and central coordination have played a more consistent key role in union renewal’. The analysis of the case of Poland, in which both bottom-up (decentralized) forms of worker activism and top-down (centralized) organizing approaches are present, can shed some light on the effectiveness of both approaches in contributing to union membership growth and inclusion.

Linking context to action: the research design and methods

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

To explore the role of institutional, organizational and strategic factors in the dynamics of trade union membership in Poland, we have chosen an alternative research design to the usually applied international comparison. We combined deductive and inductive ways of reasoning to explore both the theoretically expected outcomes of institutional conditions and the innovative strategies pursued by trade union leaders. Instead of assuming that institutional context and internal union structures determine automatically the practices of membership acquisition (or the lack thereof), we were interested in whether and in which ways structural and institutional factors were present in the reasoning of actors (Hedström and Swedberg 1998). These methodological assumptions led to a research design in which the quantitative data (trade union membership statistics) were supplemented by qualitative semi-structured interviews with leaders in each trade union organization where internal statistics were gathered.

Empirical data were collected from late 2009 to late 2010. Quantitative data came from a research project ‘The Development of Trade Unions in New Member States of the EU and Candidate Member States’ founded by the European Trade Union Institute. The primary data on union membership came from NSZZ Solidarność, and affiliates of OPZZ and FZZ whose membership exceeded 1,000 and which granted us an access to their internal statistics (see Appendix). These included 38 trade union federations from OPZZ, 16 unions from FZZ and three autonomous trade unions that were not members of the three main confederations. As the estimated number of union members in Poland is around two million (Wenzel 2009), the collected data cover around 65 per cent of union members in the country.1 The unions studied represent a variety of sectors across the entire economy. As no official data on union membership are available in Poland, self-reported statistics are the only data that can be used to explore the outcomes of union recruitment strategies. However, it is necessary to make use of self-reported statistics with some caution. According to an officer of one of the national confederations headquarters we approached during the field research, union leaders, on the one hand, are likely to present inflated membership figures (to prove the strength of their organizations) and, on the other hand, to understate them (to secure lower membership fees paid by their union federations to confederations).

In semi-structured interviews, we did not impose any ready-made interpretations, but we asked trade union leaders to explain the reasons behind their strategic choices to adopt various methods aimed at attracting new members to their organizations. We explored to what extent institutional and organizational factors feature as reasons behind the subjective motives of union leaders accompanying their decisions to seek new members or to refrain from doing so. Quantitative and qualitative data were then juxtaposed to construct a profile of each trade union case. Next, in accordance with the constant comparative method developed by the grounded theory methodology (Glaser and Strauss 1967), the cases of membership growth and membership decline were compared specify conditions, contexts and outcomes of union strategies aiming to acquire new union members. While presenting the results, we focus primarily on the positive cases to discuss in an in-depth way the mechanism of successful membership acquisition.

Recent developments in union membership in Poland

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

The statistical estimations based on Public Opinion Research Centre survey data suggest that, as of 2008, there were 600,000–800,000 members of NSZZ Solidarność, about 500,000 members of unions confederated in OPZZ, some 300,000 members of unions confederated in FZZ and about 600,000 members of unions are not affiliated to any of these three representative confederations (Wenzel 2009), the latter figure being equivalent to approximately 33 per cent of unionized labour force. On the basis of internal statistics provided by OPZZ unions, the number of 500,000 members seems to be a good proxy of the actual membership. The membership in FZZ, a new confederation established in 2001, is difficult to determine as the union did not provide us with accurate statistics. According to the documents issued by the FZZ for its 3rd National Congress (2010), it had over 400,000 members in 2009. However, taking into account a relatively modest membership in the FZZ affiliates explored in our research, the latter figure may be conflated. The statistics by NSZZ Solidarność enable us to observe more precisely the development of union membership in this confederation. According to the internal statistics of NSZZ Solidarność, the membership level stood at 680,000 at the end of 2008 (Table 2).

Table 2. Organizational Development and Membership in NSZZ Solidarność (Selected Years)
19911992199520002005200620072008
  1. Source: Internal statistics of NSZZ Solidarność, data as of December for each year.

Number of organizations16,99212,43712,2409,1948,1068,6378,648
Total membership2,246,1191,660,7611,312,0501,018,439721,856690,042685,329679,975

NSZZ Solidarność lost more than 1.5 million members between 1991 and 2008. The number of union organizations has declined by about half since 1992. Remarkably, the last three years of data show some signs of a reverse in this negative trend. In 2006, there were 8,106 union organizations, in 2007, there were 8,637 union organizations, and in 2008, there were 8,648 union organizations. Membership decline has also been tempered. Although membership fell from 2000 to 2005 by 296,000, from 2005 to 2008, the number of members declined less rapidly, by about 42,000, and amounted to 679,975 in 2008. In addition, the regional-level membership statistics of NSZZ Solidarność for the years 2005–2009 suggest that union membership even grew in some ‘regions’; regions being the principle way of organizing basic (company-level) trade union organizations.2 Out of 34 regions, in 16, membership declined by less than 10 per cent, in 11 regions, the number of members grew, and in 7 regions, it declined by more than 10 per cent. There is no straightforward explanation of regional union growth as it was observed both in small regions in less economically developed eastern Poland (e.g. Ziemia Przemyska, +4 per cent) and in some larger regions in the west of the country (e.g. Wielkopolska, +10 per cent).

Among other unions, there were also 17 cases in which membership growth was observed; in the remaining cases, union membership has declined. Notably, the sectoral coverage of trade unions that experienced growth is relatively broad, including — the dominant — public sector unions, but also unions in food and tobacco production and multi-sector unions. In the next sections, the mechanism of halting trade union membership decline is examined in more detail.

Decentralized Recruitment Practices: The Cases of OPZZ and FZZ

Although union strategies aimed at attracting new members are multi-faceted, they share some typical features. The most important of them is their decentralized, bottom-up character. Except for NSZZ Solidarność and the Confederation of Labour (a multi-branch trade union within OPZZ), trade unions in Poland do not employ union organizers. Instead, union leaders whom we interviewed emphasized the central role of the activism of company-level union leaders and their personal commitment to attract new members. The promotion of unions occurs mainly through their daily activity at the workplace, including various forms of economic, legal and social support for their members (e.g. co-financing of job-related training). Membership recruitment by local leaders is additionally promoted by leadership training aimed at raising awareness among the leaders that the mobilization and involvement of employees are crucial. This is a sign of transformation from the times when Polish trade unions were pursuing self-defeating strategy believing in the importance of political involvement and assistance to market creation (cf. Ost 2005). The decentralization of recruitment practices within OPZZ and FZZ is also fostered by the expectation of union leaders that workers themselves should come to trade unions if they wish to establish their own union organizations.

The decentralized recruitment practices are well exemplified by the relative success of trade unions based on the representation of narrow occupational interests. The emergence of these organizations in the 1990s reflected growing disappointment with large, politically embedded union confederations, in which the interests of narrower occupational groups could not have been adequately upheld. Good examples are the Polish Trade Union Alliance ‘Kadra’ (PZZ Kadra), representing supervisory workers in heavy industry, the Trade Union of Mine Rescuers in Poland (ZZRG), the Nationwide Trade Union of Midwives (OZZP), and the Nationwide Union of Nurses and Midwives (OZZPiP). Similarly to the German case presented by Hassel (2007: 189), who discussed the impact of new professional associations of doctors, pilots and air traffic controllers on the DGB trade unions, new occupation-based unions put more pressure on large trade union confederations to take membership recruitment ‘far more seriously than in the past’, when their position was guaranteed by quasi-corporatist arrangements in state socialism. New unions (again resembling their counterparts in Germany as discussed by Hassel) were sometimes able to reach the groups considered inaccessible by large trade unions, for instance, the self-employed midwives in the case of OZZP. As a result of active recruitment strategies, efficient servicing and protest-based organizing, some of new occupation-based unions experienced membership growth (Table 3). However, an increase in their number is likely to produce reverse effects for trade union density in the long run. First, they are reluctant to expand their activities and transfer resources to organize other occupational groups within larger confederations. Second, trade union rivalry undermines the bargaining capacities of competing union organizations vis-à-vis employers and the state.

Table 3. Trade Unions Observing Membership Growth in the Period of 2005–2009
Change in per centNameSectorStrategies
  1. Note: In the case of OZZPiP, a union of nurses and midwives established in 1991, rapid growth took place between the late 1990s and the mid of 2000s in the wake of continuous protest actions.

  2. Source: Self-reported internal trade union statistics and interviews with trade union leaders. See Appendix for a complete list of trade unions and membership statistics.

Trade unions in OPZZ
+40.62%Federacja ZZPGKiTMunicipalServicing and everyday support, no organizing
+9.79%FZZ PPSFood industryServicing, everyday and legal support, no organizing
+15.39%FZZ PPTTobacco industryServicing and active recruitment of newcomers at the company level; introduction into a job by unionists; targeting young people
+100%OPZZ ‘Konfederacja Pracy’Multi-sectorActive trade union organizing, mailing; distribution of posters and leaflets; protest-based organizing
+93.01%ZZPPMCopper industryServicing and protest-based organizing
+14.72%ZZRGMining rescuersServicing, organizing based on occupational community, direct contacts with union leaders
+112%ZZZ PSC RPCustoms employeesProtest-based organizing; legal support in case of problems in workplace
Trade unions in FZZ
+43.5%KZZ IK ZUSControl Inspectors of ZUSServicing, everyday and legal support,
+39%NSZZ LPPPolish Post PostmenProtest-based organizing
+45.45%OZZ PBOAiITMedical staffProtest-based organizing
+27.5%OZZPMidwivesServicing, co-financing of trainings, direct contacts with leaders at the company level
+2.05%PZZ KADRASupervisory workers in heavyCo-financing of training; promotion of union activities among students
+10.34%ZZZ Banku PEKAOBankingServicing, direct contacts with the union leader
GrowthOZZPiPNurses and midwivesProtest-based organizing
Autonomous trade unions
+366.67%OZZ IPMulti-sectorProtest-based organizing, campaigning beyond workplaces
+16.67%OZZLMedical doctorsProtest-based organizing

The decentralization of recruitment practices within OPZZ and FZZ reflects their decentralized internal structures that, in turn, mirror the historical genesis of both confederations. The internal structure of OPZZ was determined by the 1982 Trade Unions Act. Company union organizations, which had separate legal statutes, were federated into national-level organizations. The latter were, in turn, confederated into national-level confederation OPZZ in 1984. As OPZZ had been created in a bottom-up manner, there were strong decentralizing tendencies within that confederation from the time of its establishment. Some unions, which did not want to be identified with the ‘official’ and ‘communist’ federation, left OPZZ by the end of the 1980s, while others withdrew in the early 1990s. FZZ was created in an attempt to integrate autonomous trade union federations and some unions that broke-away from OPZZ and NSZZ Solidarność. Yet its internal structure, in line with the Polish labour law, resembles the one of OPZZ, leaving even more autonomy to trade union federations. Since the affiliates of FZZ and OPZZ retain much autonomy in terms of their expenditure and strategy, recruitment strategies primarily depend on local activists.

In contrast to OPZZ, NSZZ Solidarność was founded in 1980 as a unitary (general workers') trade union based on a territorial structure, similar to trade union confederations in Western Europe that have historically emerged as social movements (e.g. French CGT). The territorial structure made it possible not only to retain a vital link with local communities during strike actions in 1980 but also to avoid internal union conflicts along sectoral lines. As a result, the union does not encompass other union federations, but only company-level union organizations federated into a unitary union organization at the regional level and national level. Local unions use the same name, symbols and statutes, which makes their creation easier. The unitary territorial structure of NSZZ Solidarność seems to fit better the goal of worker organizing as it facilitates transfer of resources within the union as compared with the loose and decentralized structure of OPZZ and FZZ.

Resource Transfer within Trade Union Confederations: Centralized Recruitment Practices

The strategy that presents an alternative to decentralized organizing practices and bottom-up activism is the professionalization of membership recruitment. It is based on resource transfer to create new offices and to employ trade union organizers. Although the level of recruitment professionalization within Polish trade union federations is rather low, there are two noteworthy exceptions to this general trend: the Union Development Office of NSZZ Solidarność (DRZ (Dział Rozwoju Związku)) and the Confederation of Labour (KP (Konfederacja Pracy)) within OPZZ. The different level of success of these initiatives reflects to large extent the internal organization of NSZZ Solidarność and OPZZ.

NSZZ Solidarność established DRZ in 1998, originally with only one employee. It was the strong ideological and practical support of AFL-CIO and SEIU that helped the concept of DRZ to prevail despite initially strong opposition against the project (Gardawski 2001: 209). By September 2009, the number of staff with the DRZ had risen to 14. The regional units of NSZZ Solidarność started to establish local Union Development Offices that employed about 50 organizers in 2008. The national-level trade union and some of the regional branches allocate up to 5 per cent of their resources for organizing. The strategies used consist primarily of comprehensive direct campaigns and contacts with workers at workplaces, the existing membership and leadership trainings in organizing, and information and Internet campaigns. DRZ maps a sector and identifies the most important firms to target. Its activities are aimed at accessing newly emerged enterprises. Except for organizing workers in retail chains and security sector, DRZ does not concentrate on workers in precarious jobs in smaller companies.

A multi-sector trade union open also for the unemployed, the Confederation of Labour (KP), was created within the OPZZ in 1999. The necessity of establishing such an organization was expressed during the fourth OPZZ Congress in 1998. Although there were plans to transfer resources for this unit, in the end, sectoral trade union federations belonging to OPZZ did not accept it as their union leaders considered KP as their competitor (see also Ost 2005: 170). The union incorporated workers who were made redundant or transferred to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, the union targeted workers that do not fit into the traditional sector structure. By March 2007, KP had established 220 new union organizations. KP usually organizes employees through a contact person at the workplace and then assists in developing the organization. The main sectors in which the union is present are finance (33 per cent of total membership), healthcare, education and various types of public services (around 37 per cent) manufacturing (10 per cent) and the retail sector (9 per cent). There is occasional and ad hoc informal cooperation across branches in the form of solidarity actions. None the less, KP suffered a serious setback when the branch federations of OPZZ refused to secure resources for the union, which was initially thought to be a multi-sector equivalent of NSZZ Solidarność DRZ within the OPZZ.

The comparison of DRZ and KP illustrate that the strategy of resource transfer to organize workers in more difficult sectors was easier to implement and more institutionalized in NSZZ Solidarność. Decentralized trade union confederations (OPZZ and FZZ) find it more difficult to support professionalization of membership recruitment than a centralized unitary union (NSZZ Solidarność). In NSZZ Solidarność, 25 per cent of membership fees collected within the whole union is allocated to regional structures, which play a central role in union organizing. By contrast, KP does not receive financial help from other branch union federations belonging to OPZZ. In the case of FZZ, 20 Polish groszy (5 eurocents) per member received monthly by the confederation are barely sufficient to retain national-level structures let alone to organize new members. Furthermore, as DRZ is responsible for boosting union membership in the whole NSZZ Solidarność, its organizational role for union power and influence on policy-making is more central than in the case of KP, which has been reduced to one of many affiliates within OPZZ.

Resource Transfer from Abroad and International Context of Revitalization

The fact that Polish trade unions are embedded in European institutional and organizational context is also a potential opportunity for resource transfer. Besides AFL-CIO and SEIU, European unions also became engaged in supporting organizing activities in Poland. NSZZ Solidarność received aid from UNI Global Union in form of training and financial help and was encouraged to focus on security branch. This international confederation coordinated organizing campaigns in other countries. Trade Union Congress and Transport and General Workers Union invited coordinators and organizers from NSZZ Solidarność for internships. Further examples are the involvement of the British Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers with NSZZ Solidarność (Czarzasty 2010: 273) or German unions in the automotive industry (Ost 2009). Furthermore, Polish unions try to establish their presence in the plants of multinational companies by asking for the intervention of the trade unions from countries where the foreign capital comes from to pressurize local management (Gajewska 2009).

In 2004, Polish unions gained access to the European Social Fund resources. Education of trade unionists could expand due to the EU Operational Programme Human Capital. EU funding enables trade unions to professionalize their activities and to improve their leaders' skills. The amount of financial resources transferred to Polish unions within the Human Capital Programme within the framework of the sub-measure focused on ‘Strengthening Social Dialogue Participants’ in 2008–2011 was 26,429,305 PLN (around 6.6 million EUR) (MPiPS 2012). Some activities funded by the programme were closely connected with NSZZ Solidarność organizing campaigns in the retail and security sectors; other projects provided resources for activists' trainings in collective bargaining and the modernization of union communication infrastructure (OPZZ and FZZ).

Does Organizing Really Matter? The Relationship between Strategies and Membership Growth

Although it is difficult to evaluate the exact relationships between trade union strategies and membership growth, certain observations are worth noticing. Centralized and professionalized recruitment practices adopted by KP OPZZ and DRZ NSZZ Solidarność produced tangible outcomes in terms of unionization of difficult sectors. DRZ NSZZ Solidarność's organizing campaigns in 10 largest multinational hypermarket chains supplemented by the activism of new, company-level union leaders contributed to the actual growth of union membership in the retail sector. The National Section of Commerce within NSZZ Solidarność, which associates mostly hypermarkets workers, had 9,800 members in 2011, and the further growth was expected. There were approximately 160 outlets with NSZZ Solidarność union organizations, while the union members were reportedly present in more than 200 stores as of 2008 (Czarzasty 2010). The unions' accomplishments in retail sector cannot be solely attributed to organizing campaigns, as ‘social partnership’ approach (observable, e.g. in Tesco Polska) also played part in the overall success. However, the social partnership approach often worked because managers did not want to risk new organizing campaigns. Moreover, DRZ acquired some 3,500 members in the private security sector. Nevertheless, it is equally clear that almost 15 years of the existence of DRZ had not led to the reverse of membership decline in NSZZ Solidarność (as Table 2 shows). In the case of KP, which attracted over 10,000 members in 10 years, the notion of success should be qualified. According to the KP leaders that we interviewed, membership growth in this union is relatively unstable as joining in is often considered by employees the ‘last resort’ before lay-offs and company closures. KP members losing their jobs usually quit the union.

Table 3 allows for juxtaposing the cases of membership growth with union strategies in other unions for which exact statistics were provided by union leaders. The data suggest that there is no straightforward relationship between union strategies and membership increase. First, there are unions (e.g. FZZ PPS and FZZPGiT) that observed a membership increase without implementing any explicit strategy of recruitment. Instead, they offer efficient day-to-day services to their members, such as legal support and co-financing professional trainings. Second, we can observe a rapid increase of membership in unions, which attracted new members with efficient protest actions. The best illustrations are public sector unions, including custom officers, nurses and doctors. For instance, the Nationwide Union of Nurses and Midwives (OZZPiP) established in 1991, which had grown to 79,000 members by 2009 despite the decline in the employment in healthcare from 1995 to 2005 by almost 30 per cent (cf. Hardy 2009: 78; Kubisa 2010). Membership increased in the wake of militant protest actions including the ‘White Village’ protest in 2007 that involved an eight-day occupation of the prime minister's office in support of higher pay. The relevance of the protest-based form of organizing supports the explanations of union membership in terms of worker agency, and grassroots activism can shed light on the growth of union membership. However, we can expect that this increase might be rather unstable over time.

Structural Factors Influencing Membership

Despite the success of several trade unions in terms of membership growth and/or retention, a more or less accentuated membership decline was noted in 30 of the 47 unions for which information about membership trends over time was available. Interviewees consistently mentioned several obstacles to membership growth and trade union organizing. Structural problems included the continuous decline of the manufacturing sector, the expansion of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the introduction of non-standard forms of employment (self-employment and fixed-term employment) both in the expanding service sectors and in manufacturing. For instance, the OPZZ Metalworkers Federation witnessed an outflow of 24 per cent of their members between 2006 and 2009 despite their successful attempts to organize workers in new automotive plants (cf. Meardi 2007). The same lot was suffered by the majority of trade unions in the mining sector, which is continuously shrinking in Poland since 1989. In this respect, the unions expansion in some sectors, for instance, in healthcare, can be attributed to the recent growth of employment (by 6 per cent between 2004 and 2009 according to the Polish national statistics). However, there is no mechanical relationship between employment growth and union density as new expanding sectors of economy (e.g. retail) are also the most difficult to unionize (Czarzasty 2010).

The anti-union management in private enterprises is another obstacle to union development. Union leaders mentioned the practice of ‘neutralizing’ unions members by managers either with threats of firing them or with offers of better pay and promotion in exchange for leaving unions (Czarzasty 2010; Zientara and Kuczyński 2009). Even if workers join unions, they often prefer to remain anonymous because they anticipate reprisal of employers. This particularly applies to workers in precarious employment, including those with the contracts of limited duration and temporary workers.

Discriminatory employment status and inefficient law enforcement are additional factors preventing workers from joining trade unions. In particular, the 1991 Trade Unions Act (in force) narrows the category of those eligible for union membership to employees, so self-employed or employed on the basis of civil law contracts are effectively excluded. Furthermore, substantial part of employees remains out of reach of trade unions, due to being employed by micro-enterprises (less than 10 staff), which cover 40 per cent of the workforce. With union structure built around company level and the threshold of 10 members required to found a new union, such employees are hardly accessible to unions (Kohl 2009). Therefore, unions remain predominantly organizations for those employed on full-time contracts. In 2007, 18.4 per cent of full-time workers were union members, compared with 3.4 per cent of part-timers; among those in precarious employment (including freelance contracts and fixed-duration contracts), 10 per cent admitted to being in a union (Gardawski 2009b: 551). In 2009, Poland became a leader in the EU in terms of employment contracts of limited duration, constituting 26.5 per cent of all contracts (Eurostat 2010).

Conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

In the article, we have examined the mechanisms behind union membership growth and decline with emphasis on the interplay of institutional factors and trade union strategies. Poland proves to be an optimal case for such an analysis owing to its diversified system of trade union structures, in which activities of unions aiming at retaining/expanding their membership base are usually context related and not a result of a top-down strategy. We have attempted to test whether the institutional context influences union tactics and, thanks to an in-depth analysis of cases, to capture causal relations between specific actions undertaken by unions and changes in membership. The comparative analysis of union cases allowed us to gain insight into their approaches to active membership acquisition and to collect data on their activities (or lack thereof) in membership retention/extension.

Union strategies aimed at attracting new members as described in this article are certainly experimental in nature. Having experienced dramatic decline in membership in the 1990s, at the beginning of the new millennium, Polish trade unions began to employ whatever ‘best practices’ originated elsewhere that seemed locally applicable. The support granted by foreign actors, including the US and European labour movement, as well as the EU, provided ideas and resources for union organizing. Even if some of these practices, once put into action, turned out not to be feasible, others did contribute to slowing down the loss of union members. The emergence of new trade unions representing narrow occupational interests, company-level activism, and decentralized membership acquisition through protest actions and more efficient servicing are symptomatic for expanding the union membership base in Poland in a bottom-up manner. In particular, the relevance of protest-based organizing in the number of unions goes in line with the thesis explaining membership growth in terms of worker agency. Meanwhile, the first positive effects of the professionalization of union recruitment within the DRZ NSZZ Solidarność and KP OPZZ have become noticeable. However, the membership growth triggered by both bottom-up and coordinated organizing strategies encounters serious organizational and institutional obstacles, which reflect the institutional features of Polish industrial relations. The most important of these are the weakness of sectoral and national-level collective bargaining, high inter-union competition as well as a legal system that provides disincentives to join unions.

The empirical analysis presented in this article does not allow us to definitively identify one, dominant type of unionism that could serve as a remedy to the problems faced by trade unions in Poland. We can none the less confirm the observation by Ost (2009) that new occupational unions representing narrow interests are successful in attracting new members, especially if they combine efficient servicing with cyclic protest-based mobilization. In a similar way to the one discussed by Hassel (2007) in the case of German trade unions, new breakaway unions create a bottom-up pressure on large confederations to move away from the legacy of ‘passive unions’, whose position was guaranteed by institutional arrangements in state socialism, and actively seek new members. However, the relative success of occupational unionism in Poland is based on inter-union competition. Union rivalry hampers resource transfer within two decentralized confederations, OPZZ and FZZ. Furthermore, since new unions are often created at the cost of existing larger union federations, overall union coverage does not increase.

Our study suggests that in a decentralized collective bargaining system, a centralized trade union confederation (NSZZ Solidarność) can shift resources to organizing workers with relatively more ease than decentralized confederations, OPZZ and FZZ. A part of the problem lies in trade unions' financial standing. Centralized membership recruitment is a difficult and costly endeavour and may fail even in trade unions whose financial resources largely exceed modest budgets of the majority of CEE trade union confederations (cp. Gajewska and Niesyto 2009 on German Ver.di). However, even if financial problems are overcome, the lack of consensus regarding feasibility of comprehensive organizing campaigns observable within the largest union confederations, as well as limited know-how on organizing techniques and practices hinder implementation of organizing strategy. NSZZ Solidarność, being a large centralized union exercising a top-down organizing strategy, resulting from an early knowledge transfer from the West and having over 64 people working for DRZ, remains an exception in CEE. Despite experiments with centralized trade union organizing in other countries, the majority of CEE trade unions seem to resemble OPZZ and FZZ both in their structures and in their organizing approaches (cf. Pedersini 2010; Phelan 2007). Although the article shows that specific recruitment practices applied in a decentralized way can also be efficient, the assessment of their sustainability in the long run in terms of membership retention requires further comparative and longitudinal research.

Acknowledgements

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

The empirical research presented in this article was supported by the European Trade Union Institute within the project ‘The Development of Trade Unions in New Member States of the EU and Candidate Member States’, which is hereby thankfully acknowledged. We would like to thank three anonymous referees and Carola Frege for their useful and critical comments on earlier drafts of this article.

Notes
  1. 1

    The sample covers around 488,000 members of unions affiliated to OPZZ, around 140,000 members of unions affiliated to FZZ, and around 36,000 members of three autonomous trade unions studied (OZZL, WZZ Sierpień '80 and OZZIP), which altogether with around 680,000 members of NSZZ Solidarność amounts to around 1,344,000 union members.

  2. 2

    The role of regional structures in NSZZ Solidarność is explained in the next section.

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  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied
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Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Previous findings on trade union membership in Poland
  5. Institutions, organizations and strategies: the theoretical framework
  6. Linking context to action: the research design and methods
  7. Recent developments in union membership in Poland
  8. Conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Trade Union Membership Change 2005–2009 in the Trade Unions Studied
Table 4. 
 20052009Change in per cent or estimation
  1. Note: Federations with 1,000 members and above. No data for 12 FZZ trade unions and 3 OPZZ affiliates fulfilling the criterion of 1,000+ members. Data for OPZZ sorted by official branch structures within the confederation. The remaining data in alphabetical order sorted by the Polish abbreviations of trade union names. In case no historical data were available, we used estimations by union leaders and experts. ‘∼’ denotes estimates by trade union leaders.

  2. Source: Self-reported internal trade union statistics and interviews with trade union leaders.

OPZZ affiliates by ‘branch’ structures
Mining, chemical industry and energy supply
 1. FZZPChSzC (Trade Union Federation of Chemical, Glass, and Ceramic Industries in Poland)12,0008,500−29.17
 2. FZZPRiP (Federation of Refinery and Petrochemical Workers' Unions)3,5003,300−5.71
 3. OZZGNiG (All-Poland Trade Union of Polish Oil & Gas Companies)8,0005,968−25.4
 4. PZZG (Mining Trade Unions Alliance)3,000 (2004)2,200−26.67
 5. ZZ ‘Przeróbka’ (Trade Union of Employees of the Mechanical Coal Processing Plants in Poland)∼6,0004,821−19.56
 6. ZZG (Trade Union of Miners in Poland)41,20032,800−20.39
 7. ZZJG (Trade Union of Miners' Unity)No data1,500∼decline
 8. ZZPD (Trade Union of Underground Workers)No data4,503 (2007)No data
 9. ZZMWK (Trade Union of the Mining Lift Operators in Poland)1,0801,097+1.57
10. ZZPPM (Copper Industry Workers Trade Union)5,233 (2004)10,100+93.01
11. ZZRG (Mining Rescuers Union in Poland)5,0005,736+14.72
Metalworkers
12. FHZZ (Steelworkers Trade Unions Federation)19,54012,015−38.51
13. FZZ ‘Metalowcy (Metalworkers Federation)25,000 (2006)18,950 (2009)−24.2
14. ZZPE (Electromechanic Workers Trade Union)No data4,241 (2008)∼decline.
Education and science
15. ZNP (Polish Teachers' Union)290,150 (2006)255,167 (2008)−12.06
Public services
16. FZZPGKiT(Trade Union Federation of Municipal and Local Economy Employees in Poland)9,928 (2008)13,961+40.62
17. FZPPOZiPS (Federation of Healthcare and Social Care Employee Unions)22,435 (2006)20,712−7.68
18. NSZZ PWS (Independent Self-governing Trade Union of Judiciary Employees in the Republic of Poland)No data∼2,000∼growth
19. ZZS ‘Florian’ (Trade Union of Fire-Fighters ‘Florian’)No data5,538No data
20. ZZZPSCRP (Association of Customs Employees Trade Unions in Poland)1,0002,120+112
Food industry, agriculture and tourism
21. FZZ PPC (Federation of the Trade Unions of the Sugar Production Sector Employees)3,200 (2007)1,530−52.19
22. FZZ PPS (Federation of the Food Industry Workers Trade Unions)2,6762,938+9,79
23. FZZ PPT (Polish Federation of Trade Unions in Tobacco Industry)1,033 (2006)1,192+15,39
24. FZZPM w Polsce (Federation of Trade Unions of Dairy Employees in Poland)5,531 (2007)5,073 (2010)−8.28
Construction, civil engineering and timber industry
25. ZZ ‘Budowlani’ (‘Budowlani’ Trade Union / Construction Workers Trade Union)20,461 (2004)15,300−25.22
26. ZZM (Furniture Employees Trade Union)2,700 (2007)1,404 (2010)−48
27. ZZPDRP (Trade Union of Road Construction and Maintenance Employees of the Republic of Poland)No data∼1300No data
Textiles and leather industry
28. FNSZZPL (Federation of Independent Self-Governing Trade Unions of Textile Industry)11,0005,000−54.55
Transportation
29. AZZTK (Autonomous Trade Unions of Railway Transportation)No data1,619 (2007)No data
30. FZZMiR (Seamen and Fishermen Trade Union Federation)6,0005,500 (2009)−8.33
31. FZZPAiT PKP (Federation of Switching and Telecommunications Workers' Trade Unions of PKP / Polish Railways)No data3,240 (2007)No data
32. IZZPTPRP (Trade Unions of Public Transport Employees Integration in the Republic of Poland)3,728 (2007)2,981 (2009)−20.04
33. WZZPGM (Free Trade Union of Employees in Maritime Economy)8,6832,915−66.43
Commerce, services, culture and art
34. FZZPT (Federation of Telecommunication Workers Trade Unions)6,0002,500−58.33
35. FZZPSPHiU (Federation of Trade Unions of Employees in Production Co-operatives, Commerce and Services in Poland)11,528 (2006)7,510 (2010)−34.85
36. Konfederacja Pracy (All-Poland Workers' Trade Union ‘Confederation of Labour’)∼5,000 (2006)∼10,000 (2009)+100
37. ZZPB PEKAO S.A. (Związek Zawodowy Pracowników Banku Pekao S.A.)No data∼2,500No data
38. ZZPPP (Trade Union of Print Industry Employees)No data1,245.∼decline
Autonomous trade unions
39. OZZ IP (All Poland Trade Union Workers' Initiative)150700+366.67
40. OZZL (Doctors' Trade Union of Poland)12,000 (2006)14,000 (2008)+16.67
41. WZZ Sierpień '80 (Free Trade Union August '80)No data∼20,000No data
FZZ affiliates
42. FZZ MK (Locomotive Drivers' Trade Unions Federation)2,5002,5000
43. KZZ IK ZUS (National Trade Union of Control Inspectors of the Social Insurance Institution — ZUS)800 (2004)1,148+43.5
44. NSZZ LPP (Independent Self-Governing Trade Union of Polish Post Postmen)800 (2007)1,112+39
45. NSZZ POZ ((Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union of the Fire ServiceNo data1,905 (2010)No data
46. OZZ PBOAiIT (All-Poland Trade Union of Operating Bloc, Anaesthesiology, and Intensive Therapy Employees)1,155 (2006)1,680+45,45
47. OZZ PDMiF (All-Poland Trade Union of Medical Diagnostics and Physiotherapy Employees)2,1701,720−20.74
48. OZZ SP (All-Poland Postal Guard Trade Union)6,000 (2006)4,000−33.33
49. OZZP (All Poland Trade Union of Midwives)800 (1999)1,020+27.5
50. OZZ PiP (All-Poland Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives)No data79,000∼growth
51. OZZZ PRC (National Trade Union Association of Service and Maintenance Employees)17,91316,918−5.55
52. PZZ KADRA (Polish Trade Union Alliance ‘Kadra’)19,06019,450 (2008)+2.05
53. ZZK (Trade Union of Drivers in Poland)5,0003,300−34
54. ZZMiRK (Contractual Sailors and Fishermen Trade Union)No data1,048∼decline
55. ZZPKM (Trade Union of the Municipal Transportation Employees in Poland)3,3553,128−6.77
56. ZZPP (Trade Union of Police Employees)∼1,0001,200+20
57. ZZZ Banku PEKAO (Company Trade Union of Bank Pekao S.A. Employees)1,450 (2003)1,600+10.34