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Everyday working lives in a transnational corporation in Mexico: The contradictory cooptation of trade unionists

Mulinari, Diana LU ; rätzhel, Nora and Tollefsen, Aina (2011) In Economic and Industrial Democracy 32. p.379-399
Abstract
This article aims to contribute to the rich literature on neoliberalization and trade unions in Mexico by providing an examination of the contradictory relationships between capital, trade unions and the workers they represent, in a Swedish-based transnational corporation. The article investigates how the broader international relationships of dependency and exploitation are lived by workers and trade unionists in the everyday of a transnational corporation in Mexico, where the power of the trade unions has been undermined by politics of neoliberalization and by the demise of the ruling party, with which the unions are allied. Its thesis is that trade unions are changing from being power brokers between governments, companies and workers... (More)
This article aims to contribute to the rich literature on neoliberalization and trade unions in Mexico by providing an examination of the contradictory relationships between capital, trade unions and the workers they represent, in a Swedish-based transnational corporation. The article investigates how the broader international relationships of dependency and exploitation are lived by workers and trade unionists in the everyday of a transnational corporation in Mexico, where the power of the trade unions has been undermined by politics of neoliberalization and by the demise of the ruling party, with which the unions are allied. Its thesis is that trade unions are changing from being power brokers between governments, companies and workers to becoming mediators of subordination to the company. While they still retain some of their power (for instance their participation in hiring and firing), they are becoming unable to secure work security and workers’ rights. In the everyday working life of a factory this means that unionists are torn between their need and wish to protect workers’ rights and their jobs as union officials. In this context, they experience a need to subordinate themselves and the workers they are supposed to represent to the strategy of the management. They employ a number of strategies to legitimate their existence, none of which appears to be very convincing to the workers. While the union’s strategies undermine their ability and that of the workers to organize for their rights, it also produces a dissatisfaction among workers that counters the company’s attempt to organize consent and motivation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
transnational corporations, resistance, labour unions, gender
in
Economic and Industrial Democracy
volume
32
pages
379 - 399
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • WOS:000293216600003
  • Scopus:79960853729
ISSN
0143-831X
DOI
10.1177/0143831X10377811
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
6967b4d0-59bf-4806-ad5c-96d7682040be (old id 1764290)
date added to LUP
2011-01-26 13:16:01
date last changed
2016-10-13 04:37:35
@misc{6967b4d0-59bf-4806-ad5c-96d7682040be,
  abstract     = {This article aims to contribute to the rich literature on neoliberalization and trade unions in Mexico by providing an examination of the contradictory relationships between capital, trade unions and the workers they represent, in a Swedish-based transnational corporation. The article investigates how the broader international relationships of dependency and exploitation are lived by workers and trade unionists in the everyday of a transnational corporation in Mexico, where the power of the trade unions has been undermined by politics of neoliberalization and by the demise of the ruling party, with which the unions are allied. Its thesis is that trade unions are changing from being power brokers between governments, companies and workers to becoming mediators of subordination to the company. While they still retain some of their power (for instance their participation in hiring and firing), they are becoming unable to secure work security and workers’ rights. In the everyday working life of a factory this means that unionists are torn between their need and wish to protect workers’ rights and their jobs as union officials. In this context, they experience a need to subordinate themselves and the workers they are supposed to represent to the strategy of the management. They employ a number of strategies to legitimate their existence, none of which appears to be very convincing to the workers. While the union’s strategies undermine their ability and that of the workers to organize for their rights, it also produces a dissatisfaction among workers that counters the company’s attempt to organize consent and motivation.},
  author       = {Mulinari, Diana and rätzhel, Nora and Tollefsen, Aina},
  issn         = {0143-831X},
  keyword      = {transnational corporations,resistance,labour unions,gender},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {379--399},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x9897618)},
  series       = {Economic and Industrial Democracy},
  title        = {Everyday working lives in a transnational corporation in Mexico: The contradictory cooptation of trade unionists},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0143831X10377811},
  volume       = {32},
  year         = {2011},
}