Wednesday, March 13, 2013
César F. Rosado Marzán (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago - Kent College of Law) has posted on SSRN his forthcoming piece in the UC Irvine Law Review entitled: Organizing Unions in the U.S. with International Framework Agreements: An Exploratory Study.
Here is the abstract:
Union density continues to decline, while income inequality continues to climb. But while union density falls we have experienced the counterintuitive rise in international framework agreements (“IFAs”), or agreements signed by global union federations (“global unions”) and multinational corporations. IFAs can be construed to contain employer pledges to not put obstacles on workers who want to organize. Can a global employer’s pledge to not oppose workers’ organization facilitate their unionization? In an exploratory fashion, I interviewed union and multi-national firms that signed IFAs to better comprehend how these novel agreements can aid the organization of workers. The results of this exploratory study show that the organizational inroads vary from nonexistent to very modest, even with the employers’ pledges not to oppose unionization. Economic and political obstacles seem to significantly hinder union organization even when the employers sign IFAs. The article concludes that even though the organizational results of the cases were not entirely positive, the cases suggest that unions that think creatively and experiment with the IFAs beyond mere neutrality pacts could counter the economic and political roadblocks to unionization. Therefore, the article provides hypotheses for further research to clarify how IFAs can be more effective organizing tools and for unions to experiment with the global agreements.
I really like how Cesar went to the proverbial horse's mouth to interview those involved in such agreements in Germany and other countries (during hsi research leave in Europe last year). I think his insights will be very helpful going forward in deciding whether IFAs can play a meaningful in the post-Wagner Model world we now find ourselves in.