Transnational Labor Collaboration: Mexican Union's Perspectives and Experiences

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 12:00 PM
Room: Booth 41
Distributed Paper
Sarah HERNANDEZ , Division of Social Sciences, New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL
The study of transnational collaboration in social movements has a long tradition, yet a focus on labor union solidarity across borders is rather recent and, surprisingly, there is very little cross continental fertilization among scholars. In this study I seek to bring together scholarship from the Americas and Europe as I seek to understand the experience Mexican labor unions have had with transnational labor collaboration. I contribute to our understanding of transnational labor collaboration by viewing it from the perspective and experience of unions in the South. Through interviews with 27 leaders of 16 unions, both corporatist and independent unions, I offer a broader picture of the factors that influence transnational labor collaboration. Unlike previous US scholarship, I do not only study independent unions, but also corporatist ones. Rather than select the enticing cases, I use a sample of various kinds of unions in Mexico, and explore what is their experience and view of transnational labor collaboration. This approach allows me to reveal more complexities in our understanding of transnational labor collaboration. Supporting earlier findings, I identify internal, external, structural, and economic factors influencing the possibility and shape of collaboration. However, I pay closer attention to ideological factors than has previously been done. This research also permits me to explore the difference between corporatist and independent unions’ transnational relations and the way national-level disagreements among unions and intra-union tensions play out at the international level.