Political Coalitions and Working Women: How the Tobacco Industry Built a Relationship with the Coalition of Labor Union Women (2006)

Authors: Edith Balbach,  Abby Herzberg, and Elizabeth M Barbeau


Objectives: To assess how the tobacco industry established a political relationship with the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) and to learn from this example how tobacco control advocates can work more effectively with organisations with which working class women are affiliated.

Methods: The study reviewed tobacco industry documents to determine Tobacco Institute strategy, using the CLUW News and other published material to corroborate our findings.

Results: The Tobacco Institute was effective at framing excise tax and smokefree worksite issues in a way that facilitated CLUW’s support of industry positions on these issues. The Tobacco Institute was also willing to reciprocate by providing financial and other kinds of support to CLUW.

Conclusions: While tobacco control missed an opportunity to partner with CLUW on smokefree worksites and excise taxes in the 1980s and 1990s, tobacco control can also use issue framing and reciprocity to form coalitions with organisations representing the interests of working women.

Read more: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health