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Towards Transnational Labor Citizenship: Restructuring Labor Migration to Reinforce Workers Rights

Jennifer Gordon

Fordham University School of Law

January 4, 2009

In a 2007 article, I proposed "Transnational Labor Citizenship" as a new approach to labor migration policy. Transnational Labor Citizenship would link permission to work in the U.S. to the migrant's membership in a network of cross-border worker organizations rather than to employment by a particular enterprise, as is currently the norm. Migrants would make a commitment to refuse work under conditions that violate legal standards or labor agreements, and would get assistance from the worker organizations to enforce baseline labor rights.

This report, "Restructuring Labor Migration to Reinforce Workers Rights," carries the Transnational Labor Citizenship idea forward by exploring emerging experiments around the globe that echo two of the proposal's central elements: origin country efforts to enforce labor rights for their migrants (both alone and in collaboration with destination country governments), and migrant labor organizing efforts that involve collaboration between trade unions in origin and destination countries. I reflect on the lessons these experiments offer with regard to some of the challenges a Transnational Labor Citizenship regime will face, and suggest questions for further study.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 63

Keywords: immigration, migration, migrant, labor, union, transnational

JEL Classification: F22

working papers series

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Date posted: February 23, 2009 ; Last revised: February 24, 2009

Suggested Citation

Gordon, Jennifer, Towards Transnational Labor Citizenship: Restructuring Labor Migration to Reinforce Workers Rights (January 4, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1348064 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1348064

Contact Information

Jennifer Gordon (Contact Author)
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-7444 (Phone)
212-636-6899 (Fax)
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