As the economy globalizes, would it be beneficial for labor movements to become global as well
As the economy globalizes, would it be beneficial for labor movements to become global as well?
Workers from some nations, especially developing nations seek for better opportunities in developed countries. These workers may face discriminations based in color or paid low-wages than their white counterparts. Workers also face other problems such as unfavorable working conditions and abuse of their rights. Globalization has caused many industries to strive to gain more profits and survive in the competitive global market. Some firms do this at the expense of their workers. This is where labor unions come in. they fight for the rights of workers. This paper explores the global economy, and the role of global unions. Unions such as Uni global union and united for a fair economy are focused. It also discusses the pros and cons of global labor movements as well as the benefits that low-wage workers gain from union projects.
Keywords: Global labor union, workers, equality, workers’ rights, global economy
A labor movement is an organization that represents workers from diverse backgrounds. It solves disputes between workers and their employers and also ensures that workers work under favorable conditions. Currently, there is a growing change towards economic globalization. Globalization has enhanced economic growth. However, at the same time, it has caused social problems such as inequality in income distribution. This has raised the attention of labor movements from regional, national and international levels. To avoid problems that labor unions face due to globalization, it would important for the movements to become global as well.
From Hodson and Sullivan’s book, Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx highlight issues about workplace problems. They conceptualized industrialization as involving challenges to human dignity and a just and fair society (Sullivan, & Hodson, 2011). Marx focuses on the control of labor by capitalists and how they exploit workers leading to what he calls alienation from meaningful work, and their exploitation of workers, resulting in alienation from meaningful work. For Durkheim, highlights social norms that govern workplace relations. These issues lead to the formation of labor unions both nationally and globally. By coming together in a global union, labor movements they obtain the strength to push for workers’ rights, promote their ability to organize and gain in the global economy. Global labor movements also ensure that workers’ rights are protected and that workers have decent jobs and reasonable pay. An example of a global labor movement is the Uni global union that is found in Nyon, Switzerland. This union represents more than twenty million workers from more than nine hundred trade unions in the world. Uni global union focuses on offering decent jobs for workers and protecting their rights, for instance, the right to collective bargaining. Its strategy is based on changing the rules of the game in the global economy and ensuring justice for workers. It is a union that has benefited workers in the current volatile global labor market.
To the workers, global labor movements have no disadvantage. They operate for the benefit of the workers. However, to the employer, global labor unions are a disadvantage. The progress of global economy means that unions push the employers to increase the wages for the workers. Some industries even file for bankruptcy when they don’t succeed in negotiating with union leaders. As a result, many workers lose their jobs. In addition, global unions are a disadvantage in that since their offer decent jobs and stand for the rights of workers. They deprive developing nations of skilled labor. Many individuals opt to seek jobs in better places where there are high wages.
Many global labor movements focus on projects that prohibit economic equality. United for a Fair Economy is a movement that states the damages of unequal wealth distribution. It builds and supports other social movements towards greater equality. Currently, United for a Fair Economy is undertaking projects that counteract economic inequalities. The projects are of great benefit to workers. These projects are Racial Wealth Divide, which offers resources that deepen understanding about obstacles to economic equality among color communities. There is also the Responsible Wealth Project, a group of investors, leaders, and inheritors in the richest 5% who campaign for corporate accountability and fair taxes. The Popular Economics Education project is a sequence of participatory workshops that change economic statistics into attractive learning experiences to move people to action. Another beneficial project being undertaken by United for a Fair Economy (UFE) is the Estate and Federal Taxes project that conducts campaigns, to expand public conversations, and influence policy makers on important federal tax policy and economic issues. UFE is also carrying out Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative project that promotes adequate and fair taxation at federal and state levels. All these projects focus on ensuring fairness and equality and protecting workers from the volatile global market economy. The projects will help workers in the low-wage sector in that their wages will be taxed fairly, and they will not be discriminated based on color.
Ehrenreich writes that there are no secret economies that nourish the poor. He explains the hardships that low-wage workers face in America (Ehrenreich, 2011). This is what global labor movements are trying to fix; to ensure decent jobs, better payments, and good working conditions. In the article about social and economic justice, social justice involves what is good for the person, both individually and in institutions. Institutions should be tools for social and personal development. Economic justice deals with the morals that guide the economic institutions that are; how an individual earns a living, trades or enters contracts with others for economic sustenance. Industries are expected to promote social justice through its workers. Workers are also expected to achieve economic justice. If employers and workers play their parts, then the global economy would benefit all and global labor movements would concentrate on other issues.
As the economy globalizes, labor movements should also go global. As globalization advances, multinational corporations, to gain more profits, try to restrict labor’s right to organize. They push to halt any attempts to negotiate collective labor agreements. Unions should, therefore, ensure that they are at par with globalization by having solidarity efforts workers of all nations and activate unity and equality and ensure collation in the course of globalization struggles.
Sullivan, T.A., & Hodson, R. (2011). The Social Organization of Work, 5E. London: Cengage Learning
Ehrenreich, B. (2011). Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. (10th Anniversary Ed.). New York, NY: Picador. ISBN-13: 9780312636686
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