To meet the challenges of globalization, unions must improve their understanding of the changing nature of corporate ownership structures and practices, and they must develop alliances and strategies appropriate to the new environment. Global Unions includes original research from scholars around the world on the range of innovative strategies that unions use to adapt to different circumstances, industries, countries, and corporations in taking on the challenge of mounting cross-border campaigns against global firms.
This collection emerges from a landmark conference where unionists, academics, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations from the Global South and the Global North met to devise strategies for labor to use when confronting the most powerful corporations such as Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil. The workplaces discussed here include agriculture (bananas), maritime labor (dock workers), manufacturing (apparel, automobiles, medical supplies), food processing, and services (school bus drivers).
Kate Bronfenbrenner's introduction sets the stage, followed by contributions describing specific examples from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Bronfenbrenner's conclusion focuses on the key lessons for strengthening union power in relation to global capital.
Contributors: Terry Boswell, Emory University; Kate Bronfenbrenner, Cornell University; Henry Frundt, Ramapo College; Samanthi Gunawardana, University of Melbourne; Tom Juravich, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Kevin Kolben, Rutgers Business School; Valeria Pulignano, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium; Darryn Snell, Monash University; Dimitris Stevis, Colorado State University; Ashwini Sukthankar, International Commission for Labor Rights; Amanda Tattersall, University of Sydney; Peter Turnbull, Cardiff University; Peter Wad, Copenhagen Business School
"A highly useful book for anyone interested with the worldwide struggle for worker and labor rights."—Bruce Nissen, Work and Occupations
"The contributors to Global Unions address one of the most pressing questions facing labor and unions in the world today: how can unions confront and address the implications of globalization? The distinctive and original feature of this book is to show in a systematic and sustained way how cross-border campaigns are generated and how problems arise for unions that try to implement them. Kate Bronfenbrenner has set the standard for debate on the effectiveness of global unions."—Peter Fairbrother, Cardiff University
"This is an important book. Kate Bronfenbrenner has brought together a series of essays that examine strategies for cross-border union campaigns. The deeply informed essays engage with strategic questions. The success of such campaigns may well determine the future of unions here and elsewhere, and the future of unions will help to shape the future of us all."—Frances Fox Piven, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
"Global Unions sets a rigorous new standard for research on global union campaigns. It is historic, exciting, and a crucial text for readers in several disciplines such as labor studies, sociology, and political science who are grappling with the most important question of our era: global inequality and modes of collective action to advance democracy and justice."—Dorian T. Warren, Columbia University
"This book confronts the received wisdom that global capital is unchallengeable. It looks at globalization from the perspective of those who actually create the wealth—workers from across the world. In the past trade unions have largely limited their activity to within their own geographical boundaries, usually within the nations in which they are located, yet Global Unions provides a fascinating theoretical understanding of the possibilities for uniting across boundaries. Using well-researched case studies, the book demonstrates the strongest case yet for a new praxis of global unionism. This is a book for academics and unionists alike."—Jane Holgate, Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University