Mega Sporting Events: Innovative Trade Union Strategies at the Construction Industry in Brazil

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Mauricio ROMBALDI, Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB), Brazil
This paper analyses international trade union campaigns in the construction industry for mega sporting events. It seeks to understand how the strategy developed by the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) during the preparations for the 2014 World Cup (WC) in Brazil achieved positive results in terms of mobilization and negotiations and its continuations in the actions performed for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Based on a power resources approach, variegated achievements and results are identified for both campaigns. The BWI previous experience in negotiating with the WC organizers and a lack of national coordination among Brazilian unions contributed to the willingness of local unions to take part in the international campaign and strengthened ties with the international union federation. The main outcomes of the 2014 WC campaign included an unprecedented unified national bargaining agenda of the unions in the construction sector, which was supported by a series of strikes at the WC stadium construction sites and a massive move towards affiliation of Brazilian unions in the international trade union federation. The 2016 Olympic Games campaign achieved wage increases and had other positive outcomes such as the occupational safety protocol, which defines safety and security rules for construction work, and an agreement on the use of certified wood products. During the Rio preparations, however, there were significant obstacles in developing coordination between the international and the national level as well as among unions at the local level, as local unions tried to enforce their local priorities.