Unions Without Borders: Recent Developments in the Theory, Practice and Law of Transnational Unionism

Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, Forthcoming

Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Papers No. 040

63 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2009 Last revised: 17 Apr 2009

See all articles by Alan Hyde

Alan Hyde

Rutgers University - School of Law

Mona Ressaissi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 6, 2009

Abstract

Unions facing global capital, or representing migrant workers, or both, should adopt a strategy of: (1) insisting, to the extent possible, on representation of workers by national labour movements covering the location where work is performed; (2) linking those national labour movements in enduring transnational union organizations that coordinate reciprocity; and (3) vigourously seeking alliances with worker support organizations outside the union movement. These conclusions follow a review of recent experiences, which confirm a game-theoretic account in which transnational institutions arise to solve coordination problems among national institutions. (1) The insistence on the local responds to union defeats in European Union law, in which Swedish unions, insisting that Latvian workers building a school in Sweden be paid Swedish wages, were held to have interfered with the free movement of capital. North American unions representing migrant farm workers must avoid the analogous claim that such workers were hired in Mexico or Jamaica, then posted to Canada or the U.S. (2) While existing formal transnational union organizations and framework agreements have achieved little, they offer the promise of future reciprocity. By contrast, ad hoc campaigns seeking union support have achieved less, while engendering cultural misunderstanding harmful to future support. (3) Although systematic comparison is not possible, many anecdotes suggest that alternative worker support organizations in the developed world, are more effective allies for unions in the developing world, than are developed-world unions.

Keywords: labor law, human rights, global economy

Suggested Citation

Hyde, Alan Stuart and Ressaissi, Mona, Unions Without Borders: Recent Developments in the Theory, Practice and Law of Transnational Unionism (January 6, 2009). Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, Forthcoming; Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Papers No. 040. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1323807

Alan Stuart Hyde (Contact Author)

Rutgers University - School of Law ( email )

NJ
United States
973-353-3163 (Phone)
973-353-1445 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~hyde

Mona Ressaissi

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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