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“You don’t, day to day, see a lot of people yelling at each other and pushing and shoving each other or whatever because we do have an expectation about how we treat each other—we’re all like brothers and sisters in the movement. But there is a cultural confrontation … where there is an expectation that, if you have an issue with someone, you need to do it. Like everybody pushes everybody else to try and do this. [This is] when the organization works at its best.… And it’s a culture of openness also. Both of those things go together—honesty and respect. And that includes meeting tough issues head on.”  D#2

Evaluation of anger expressions rested on their utility in promoting the goals of the labor organization as in this example of admiration for how another organizer used anger to further the union’s mission.

“…they were stuck in negotiations and they couldn’t get a resolution on the contract issue...The workers were scared…this new organizer, who was doing the negotiations, can’t figure out what to do to get anything to move forward. And then a lawyer…is taking notes and they’re not discussing anything, but the lawyer is taking notes on it… The person is just sitting there writing and she’s looking around the room and she’s thinking, ‘I’ve got to get these workers angry so that we can win this thing. I know what to do.’ She reaches across the table and grabs the pad and whips [it away]…‘What the f--- are you writing?  We’re not even talking about anything?’  And the worker[s]…goes, ‘Yeah!’  And that was it. They negotiated the contract in about a day because just her showing her anger and getting the workers to shift. Because she invaded the guy’s personal space, she broke all the rules of negotiating.” D#1-54

In this setting “useful” anger did not necessarily involve completely unregulated expression of anger, however. Moving the cause forward was the ultimate priority for anger expression, but might require some anger modulation as these examples illustrate:

“And there have been so many times when he’s just furious. And he figures out how to check it enough that he can go in and have this very ardent conversation with people about what it is that we need to do to be successful in a campaign…It’s remarkable how successful he’s been—just absolutely amazing.” D#2

When working directly with the workers, one union steward stated: “Remaining calm and non- confrontational… is important.” D#3-60

Anger that damages the cause may be judged negatively, For example:

“One time, when [a superior] thought we’d really messed up, he came in and yelled at everybody -- which took me about two weeks to repair—getting people back on track… This was not cool.” D#2-55

“I think it wouldn’t be useful if we sort of went off half cocked and … went in and screamed at the boss or something along those lines. [That] can be effective in certain cases … Generally speaking, what we do with that [is] figure out a plan for how we are going to deal with this. The contract says this, let’s pull this together, let’s get our facts on paper.”  D #3-59  

The source of these anger norms appears to have developed through the process of attraction-selection-attrition (Schneider, 1987, Schneider et al., 1995), in which people gravitate to this work

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