Forging new labor activism in global commodity chains in Latin America

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International industrial restructuring has fomented a decline in unionization in Latin America and has forced labor organizations to pursue new forms of activism. Due to the segmentation of the production process and the dispersion of the locations of production sites, the coordination of collective action has become more difficult. At the same time, labor law reforms have failed to respond to the challenges presented by market-oriented industrial reforms. As a result, labor activists are resorting to new or modified forms of labor organizing, ranging from domestic cross-class collaboration to international alliances and sporadic campaigns with labor and nongovernmental organizations. The sources of this variation in new labor actions can be found not only in contemporary political and economic contexts, but also in labor histories and ideational influences. An exploration of labor actions in the Salvadoran export apparel sector and the Brazilian automobile industry illustrates these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-41
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Labor and Working-Class History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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