After more than a decade of analyzing efforts to revitalize the U.S. labor movement, many have concluded that organized labor must become a movement again. Nevertheless, most analyses remain based on the traditional view that labor power is derived solely from the portion of the labor market that is unionized. This fact is illustrated by the continued use of union density as the primary means of assessing labor movement strength. This article examines this "density bias" and ways that it constrains analyses of labor revitalization-obscuring alternative sources of movement power, excluding community based labor organizations, and oversimplifying assessments of organizing processes. The article highlights the need for a critical assessment of conventional wisdom in labor studies and argues that treating labor as a social movement may generate new research questions and move theorizing in promising new directions.

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