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Our Preoccupation with the relation between unions and employers and that between unions and political processes has diverted us from studying the underlying relation between the union and its members. Study of this relationship is of the greatest difficulty. The relationship cannot be viewed in purely legal terms, for in most countries there is relatively little positive law concerning internal union affairs. We must look beyond the judicial decisions and statutes to the union's own internal law. The union's constitution or rules are the governing statutes defining the rights of the individual in the union. But examination of these documents is not enough, for they are so overlaid with custom and reshaped by institutional forces that the words may fail to reveal the rules applied in practice. We must, therefore, look to the rules and practices actually applied within the union.

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