because they are inspired by its purposes. Respondents reported that the organization selects those who appear to have a passion for this work. One respondent described two primary pathways for becoming a labor organizer. First, some came up through the system, demonstrating their commitment by working on a major organizing drive and subsequent contract issues. The second source of organizers is:
“…those who come to the work for ideological reasons, who may then have a very different class background. They’re more upper middle class or even upper class whites, who go through college, are idealistic and want to make a difference in our society.” D#2
The attraction-selection process appears to help create strong cultural norms within the organization explicitly by channeling employees’ anger toward labor’s cause.
“I used to be angry at everything that I couldn’t do anything about; whereas, now, having this job; it allows me to use it in a good way. And when I look for workers to hire as organizers, I look for people who are upset. I look for people who are angry and, hopefully, I can figure out a way to focus them.” D#1
“…people who come to this work, both by organizational selection and by self-selection, come with anger inside of them because it’s a major piece of the motivating force for doing the work … It is a work that you bring a political and social commitment to. The hours are very long. The work is very challenging. And if there isn’t something lighting a fire in your belly you can’t do it … You’ve really got to have a profound emotional motivation to do [the work] – and anger is a piece of that.” D#2
Not surprisingly, the work also generates some attrition. Not everyone can stay with this work because it is intense, expectations are high, and experience burnout:
“You put a tremendous amount of yourself into the work. And that can have great personal benefits for you, but it’s also very risky. And there’s a significant amount of divorce and alcoholism, substance abuse problems, within our movement, that is closely related to …burn out.” D#2
In summary, while expectations about anger expression are apparent in the labor organization, they were not manifest in explicit “Thou shalt…” display rules about when anger is acceptable. Instead, the norms appear to be embedded in a strong culture, developed through an attraction-selection-attrition process (Schneider, 1987), in which anger expressions are evaluated based on whether they help or hinder the goals of the organization. The culture is sustained with stories of successes and failures.