A New Labor Law for a New World of Work: The Case for a Comparative-Transnational Approach
15 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2007
Professor Stone identifies three major trends in labor relations today: "flexibilization," i.e., the abandonment of internal labor markets and the increasing use of casual, part-time and temporary work relations; "globalization," i.e., the increase in cross-border transactions in the production and marketing of goods and services; and "privatization," i.e., the ideological commitment to shrinking the social safety net and government enforced labor standards. She contends that these three trends, operating together, have undermined job security, dismantled worker protections and increased income disparities around the globe. In the author's view, these trends have so fundamentally altered the nature of work in the 21st century as to make traditional approaches to labor organizing and workplace protections obsolete and to call into question the historic purpose of labor law itself. To respond to this triple threat, Professor Stone argues that labor relations scholars must be comparative in method, transnational in perspective, and local in action in order to develop a cross-national agenda for progressive social action. In particular, she urges labor relations scholars to be comparative in their study of workers' efforts to adapt and survive in the new boundaryless workplace, transnational in imagining the possibilities of cross border organizing and the establishment of international labor standards, and, strategic in developing policies for a new social safety net and workplace regulations that respond to the specific local conditions.
Keywords: trends in labor relations, workplace protections, international labor standards, worker protections
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