Strong Party–Union Links under Challenge
Analysing links between trade unions and left-wing parties in Finland, this chapter shows that while the electoral strength of leftist parties has declined quite dramatically, the organizational ties between the main blue-collar confederation, the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), and the Social Democrats and Left Alliance remain largely intact. The links are based on unwritten yet routinized arrangements that draw on decades of experience of working together. At the same time, SAK has been forced to cast its net wider, redirecting its resources into other channels of influence. The same increasingly applies to the Social Democrats, as the party is losing its grip on the working class vote while struggling to formulate goals or an identity that would appeal to broader sections of the electorate. Social Democrats may therefore need to consider whether strong public links with the trade unions are doing them more harm than good.
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