Solidarity Action in Global Labor Networks. Four Cases of Workplace Organizing at Foreign Affiliates in the Global South
AbstractGlobalization transforms workforces of transnational corporation from predominantly home countrydominated workforces into foreign-dominated, multinational workforces. Thus, the national grounding of trade unions as the key form of labor organizing is challenged by new multinational compositions and cross-border relocations of corporate employment affecting working conditions of employees and trade unions in local places. We assume that economic globalization is characterized by expanding global corporate network of vertically and horizontally integrated (equity-based) and disintegrated (nonequity-based) value chains. We also assume that globalization can both impede and enable labor empowerment. Based on these premises the key question is, how can labor leverage effective power against management in global corporate networks? This question is split into two subquestions: a) How can labor theoretically reorganize from national unions and industrial relations institutions into global labor networks that allow prolabor improvement in global workplaces? b) How and why has labor in a globalized economy secured the core International Labor Organization (ILO) international labor right to organize companies and conduct collective bargaining? The Global Labor Network perspective is adopted as an analytical framework. Empirically, a comparative case methodology is applied comprising four more or less successful industrial disputes where labor achieved the right to organize and undertake collective bargaining. The disputes took place in affiliated factories of foreign transnational corporations located in Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Turkey. The conclusion is that the combination of global labor capabilities and global labor strategizing must generate strategic labor power that adequately matches the weaknesses of the counterpart’s global corporate network in order to achieve prolabor outcomes. The most efficient solidarity action was leveraged by a cross-border alliance of workplace collectives, national industrial unions, and a global union federation using global framework agreements (GFAs) with key customers of the employer. The least efficient campaign relied primarily on domestic developing country state institutions supported by a foreign labor nongovernmental organization (NGO).
Copyright (c) 2014 Author and Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Copyright Holder of this Journal is the authors and the Journal. This Journal gives Open Access with CreativeCommons license CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.
You can download all the content of the Journal and share it with others as long as you credit the authors and the journal, but you can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
More specifically this license means that you – authors and users – may:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form as long as you follow the license terms. The freedom to share includes parallel publishing on authors’ own website and in institutional repositories or in ResearchGate after publication in NJWLS, or if you want to reprint your article as part of publication of a PhD-thesis or a dissertation
You may share under these terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license. Appropriate credit implies that you provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. The link used should be its DOI.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Merely changing the format never creates a derivative.
Exceptions to the license terms may be granted
If you want to use content in the Journal in another way then described by this license, you must contact the licensor and ask for permission. Contact Bo Carstens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Exceptions are always given for specific purposes and specific content only.
The Journal is listed as a blue journal in Sherpa/Romeo, meaning that the author can archive post-print ((ie final draft post-refereeing) and author can archive publisher's version/PDF.
Copyright of others
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere.
All published material is archived at Roskilde University Library, Denmark, and transmitted to the Danish Royal Library in conformity with the Danish rules of legal deposit.
We do not screen articles for plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the authors to make sure they do not plagiate.