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Global Unions Local Power

Author: Jamie K. McCallum
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801469481
Size: 39.44 MB
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News about labor unions is usually pessimistic, focusing on declining membership and failed campaigns. But there are encouraging signs that the labor movement is evolving its strategies to benefit workers in rapidly changing global economic conditions. Global Unions, Local Power tells the story of the most successful and aggressive campaign ever waged by workers across national borders. It begins in the United States in 2007 as SEIU struggled to organize private security guards at G4S, a global security services company that is the second largest employer in the world. Failing in its bid, SEIU changed course and sought allies in other countries in which G4S operated. Its efforts resulted in wage gains, benefits increases, new union formations, and an end to management reprisals in many countries throughout the Global South, though close attention is focused on developments in South Africa and India. In this book, Jamie K. McCallum looks beyond these achievements to probe the meaning of some of the less visible aspects of the campaign. Based on more than two years of fieldwork in nine countries and historical research into labor movement trends since the late 1960s, McCallum’s findings reveal several paradoxes. Although global unionism is typically concerned with creating parity and universal standards across borders, local context can both undermine and empower the intentions of global actors, creating varied and uneven results. At the same time, despite being generally regarded as weaker than their European counterparts, U.S. unions are in the process of remaking the global labor movement in their own image. McCallum suggests that changes in political economy have encouraged unions to develop new ways to organize workers. He calls these “governance struggles,” strategies that seek not to win worker rights but to make new rules of engagement with capital in order to establish a different terrain on which to organize.

Forces Of Labor

Author: Beverly J. Silver
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521520775
Size: 79.73 MB
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This 2003 book analyzes the dynamics of labor movements, introducing a new database on labor unrest events worldwide.

Threads

Author: Jane L. Collins
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226113739
Size: 42.88 MB
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Americans have been shocked by media reports of the dismal working conditions in factories that make clothing for U.S. companies. But while well intentioned, many of these reports about child labor and sweatshop practices rely on stereotypes of how Third World factories operate, ignoring the complex economic dynamics driving the global apparel industry. To dispel these misunderstandings, Jane L. Collins visited two very different apparel firms and their factories in the United States and Mexico. Moving from corporate headquarters to factory floors, her study traces the diverse ties that link First and Third World workers and managers, producers and consumers. Collins examines how the transnational economics of the apparel industry allow firms to relocate or subcontract their work anywhere in the world, making it much harder for garment workers in the United States or any other country to demand fair pay and humane working conditions. Putting a human face on globalization, Threads shows not only how international trade affects local communities but also how workers can organize in this new environment to more effectively demand better treatment from their distant corporate employers.

Walmart In China

Author: Anita Chan
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801462681
Size: 58.81 MB
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Walmart and "Made in China" are practically synonymous; Walmart imports some 70 percent of its merchandise from China. Walmart is now also rapidly becoming a major retail presence there, with close to two hundred Walmarts in more than a hundred Chinese cities. What happens when the world's biggest retailer and the world's biggest country do business with each other? In this book, a group of thirteen experts from several disciplines examine the symbiotic but strained relationship between these giants. The book shows how Walmart began cutting costs by bypassing its American suppliers and sourcing directly from Asia and how Walmart's sheer size has trumped all other multinationals in squeezing procurement prices and, as a by-product, driving down Chinese workers' wages. China is also an inviting frontier for Walmart's global superstore expansion. As China's middle class grows, the chain's Western image and affordable goods have become popular. Walmart's Arkansas headquarters exports to the Chinese stores a unique corporate culture and management ideology, which oddly enough are reminiscent of Mao-era Chinese techniques for promoting loyalty. Three chapters separately detail the lives of a Walmart store manager, a lower-level store supervisor, and a cashier. Another chapter focuses on employees' wages, "voluntary" overtime, and the stores' strict labor discipline. In 2006, the official Chinese trade union targeted Walmart, which is antilabor in its home country, and succeeded in setting up union branches in all the stores. Walmart in China reveals the surprising outcome. Contributors: Diana Beaumont, coeditor of China Labor News Translations; Anita Chan, University of Technology, Sydney; David J. Davies, Hamline University; Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California, Santa Barbara; Scott E. Myers, Monterey Institute of International Studies; Eileen Otis, University of Oregon; Pun Ngai, Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Katie Quan, University of California, Berkeley; Taylor Seeman, Hamline University; Kaxton Siu, Australian National University; Jonathan Unger, Australian National University; Xue Hong, East China Normal University; Yu Xiaomin, Beijing Normal University

The Chicken Trail

Author: Kathleen C. Schwartzman
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801468043
Size: 46.62 MB
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In The Chicken Trail, Kathleen C. Schwartzman examines the impact of globalization-and of NAFTA in particular-on the North American poultry industry, focusing on the displacement of African American workers in the southeast United States and workers in Mexico. Schwartzman documents how the transformation of U.S. poultry production in the 1980s increased its export capacity and changed the nature and consequences of labor conflict. She documents how globalization-and NAFTA in particular-forced Mexico to open its commodity and capital markets, and eliminate state support of corporations and rural smallholders. As a consequence, many Mexicans were forced to abandon their no longer sustainable small farms, with some seeking work in industrialized poultry factories north of the border. By following this chicken trail, Schwartzman breaks through the deadlocked immigration debate, highlighting the broader economic and political contexts of immigration flows. The narrative that undocumented worker take jobs that Americans don't want to do is too simplistic. Schwartzman argues instead that illegal immigration is better understood as a labor story in which the hiring of undocumented workers is part of a management response to the crises of profit making and labor-management conflict. By placing the poultry industry at the center of a constellation of competing individual, corporate, and national interests and such factors as national debt, free trade, economic development, industrial restructuring, and African American unemployment, The Chicken Trail makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the implications of globalization for labor and how the externalities of free trade and neoliberalism become the social problems of nations and the tragedies of individuals.

Raising Expectations And Raising Hell

Author: Jane McAlevey
Publisher: Verso Trade
ISBN: 1781683158
Size: 13.47 MB
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The famed labor and environmental justice activist presents a cautionary assessment of the American union movement that notes the current low membership of unionized private-sector workers while sharing the stories of her victories, revealing current conflicts in organized labor and making recommendations for how labor can be revived.

Transnational Collective Bargaining At Company Level

Author: Isabelle Schömann, Romuald Jagodzinski ,Guido Boni, Stefan Clauwaert, Vera Glassner and Teun Jaspers
Publisher: ETUI
ISBN: 2874522775
Size: 57.65 MB
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Transnational collective bargaining (TCB) has become a ‘hot’ topic of European industrial relations. As well as collective bargaining between workers and employers conducted at the sectoral or national level, negotiations on employee rights and working conditions now also take place at the supranational level, within multinational companies. It is a development that poses major challenges for trade unions, as well as for employers and lawmakers. This book takes stock of the particular challenges faced by trade union representatives, works councils and employer organisations; it reviews the existing literature on this topic and examines contrasting views of the prospects for subsequent development of this new practice; it also offers some practical suggestions for policymakers who find themselves having to deal with this new component of the Europeanisation of industrial relations. One of the key questions tackled in the book is whether a regulatory framework for TCB is feasible, necessary and/or useful. Perhaps even more importantly: can we, given the proliferation of instances of TCB, actually manage without such a legal system, and what should be the main elements of such a framework? By providing a better understanding and a critical analysis of the emergence and development of transnational collective bargaining, the authors of this book offer valuable help to trade unionists and practitioners in preparing for – and being prepared for – this next stage in the internationalisation of industrial relations.

Grounding Globalization

Author: Edward Webster
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1444399845
Size: 34.54 MB
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*Winner of the 2009 Distinguished Scholarly Monograph Prize, awarded by the American Sociological Association Labor and Labor Movements section* Claims have been made on the emergence of a new labour internationalism in response to the growing insecurity created by globalization. However, when persons face conditions of insecurity they often turn inwards. The book contains a warning and a sign of hope. Some workers become fatalistic, even xenophobic. Others are attempting to globalize their own struggles. Examines the claim that a new labour internationalism is emerging by grounding the book in evidence, rather than assertion Analyzes three distinct places – Orange, Australia; Changwon, South Korea; and Ezakheni, South Africa – and how they dealt with manufacturing plants undergoing restructuring Explores worker responses to rising levels of insecurity and examines preconditions for the emergence of counter-movements to such insecurities Highlights the significance of 'place' and 'scale', and demonstrates how the restructuring of multi-national corporations, and worker responses to this, connect the two concepts