The New Politics of Transnational Labor
Why Some Alliances Succeed
Over the years many transnational labor alliances have succeeded in improving conditions for workers, but many more have not. In The New Politics of Transnational Labor, Marissa Brookes explains why this dichotomy has occurred. Using the coordination and context-appropriate (CCAP) theory, she assesses this divergence, arguing that the success of transnational alliances hinges not only on effective coordination across borders and within workers' local organizations but also on their ability to exploit vulnerabilities in global value chains, invoke national and international institutions, and mobilize networks of stakeholders in ways that threaten employers' core, material interests.
Brookes uses six comparative case studies spanning four industries, five countries, and fifteen years. From dockside labor disputes in Britain and Australia to service sector campaigns in the supermarket and private security industries to campaigns aimed at luxury hotels in Southeast Asia, Brookes creates her new theoretical framework and speaks to debates in international and comparative political economy on the politics of economic globalization, the viability of private governance, and the impact of organized labor on economic inequality. From this assessment, Brookes provides a vital update to the international relations literature on non-state actors and transnational activism and shows how we can understand the unique capacities labor has as a transnational actor.
Marissa Brookes is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside.