Browse by title

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 94 items :

  • Labour Policy x
  • Social And Political Science 2015 x
Clear All
This content is available to you

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

You do not have access to this content

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Chapter 3 asks the question under what conditions should we expect labor rights in global supply chains to improve? How do we make analytic sense of the complex universe of actors and interests involved in global supply chains, as well as their governance and the multitude of relationships and modes of influence among them? What forms of social pressure do we expect to lead to changes in behavior, and under what circumstances? Chapter 3 presents the answers to these complex questions using an analytic framework focusing on four clusters of actors, their incentives and beliefs, and the changing patterns of interest alignment and misalignment among them. The four key clusters of actors, defined by their relationship to the process of production are supply chain workers and their allies, governments, businesses, and end consumers. Each of these clusters in turn comprises myriad types of actors in different geographic locales and structural positions in the supply chain.
You do not have access to this content

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Chapter 8 focuses on the case of apparel production and labor rights in Bangladesh. In this chapter, we demonstrate how the existing political equilibrium in Bangladesh has been poor working conditions, including several major factory fires and building collapses that have made headlines worldwide. We focus on the Rana Plaza tragedy and its aftermath as an example of how an exogenous shock, such as a building collapse or a factory fire, can be an important point of leverage for workers and their allies. While such shocks have the potential to shift the existing equilibrium, sustainable change is by no means assured. Even in the case of Bangladesh where significant international media attention was able to, at least temporarily, align end consumers with workers and their allies, the lack of long-term commitment to punishing brands and suppliers who violate workers’ rights by end consumers in combination with a domestic political equilibrium that disadvantages workers is likely to result in a missed opportunity to significantly improve working conditions in Bangladesh’s apparel industry.
You do not have access to this content

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Chapter 7 focuses on apparel production and labor rights in Honduras. Honduras is home to one of the world’s most repressive labor regimes. Honduran labor activists are routinely intimidated, threatened and assassinated for their efforts to improve working conditions in the country. The case of Honduras is significant as an example of how workers leverage alignment and misalignment within and between clusters of actors. The two labor rights campaigns that are highlighted in this chapter demonstrate how the consumer cluster can be aligned internally and with workers to exert pressure on global brands to improve workers’ rights. We show that alignment between workers and consumers changed the incentives of the corporations, who believed that their business interests and reputation would be threatened by failing to take worker grievances seriously.
You do not have access to this content

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Chapter 10 presents our conclusions and uses our analytical framework as well as the case studies presented in Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9 to draw conclusions about how labor rights can be protected and improved. Chapter 10 argues that doing business and upholding labor rights are fundamentally political processes. The conclusion to our book points out that while advocates of improved labor standards may share a common purpose and, in that sense, interest, the distinctive interests of the members of a potential coalition may cause them to founder on the shoals of the collective action problem. Overcoming these internal obstacles requires political entrepreneurship and the establishment, itself a political act, of common beliefs about the best way to act in the given situation. Promoters of change must turn protest into a political resource. When they do, improved labor standards can result.
You do not have access to this content

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Chapter 4 explores the role of international organizations in raising labor standards. As members of the worker and ally cluster, international organizations use their power to try to align government and business interests with those of global supply chain workers. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that these initiatives generally fail to provide the large and sustained improvements they appear to promise. Where they have had some success is establishing the norms to which all advocates of better labor rights appeal. This chapter reviews the existing international framework governing labor rights. We identify three mechanisms through which international institutions and global governance initiatives have shaped, or sought to shape, the behavior of governments and business vis-à-vis workers.
This content is available to you

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Under what conditions should we expect labor rights in global supply chains to improve? This book asks what has been and what can be done. Although we find that any change is difficult both to achieve and sustain, some progress is possible. Change comes, we argue, when the interests of key actors are aligned to improve labor standards. The achievement of alignment is not a given but requires political and economic processes, and often the explicit use of economic and political power, to compel stakeholders to form commonalties of interest. Our aim is to specify the conditions that align the interests of employers, governments, and consumers with those of the workers. We do this with a particular focus on apparel, footwear, and consumer electronics brands, whose history we trace generally and through case studies of four countries that illustrate a variety of strategies and processes: the United States, Honduras, Bangladesh, and China. We find that the contemporary form of the global supply chain is the source of problematic working conditions we identify and that improved labor standards require transformation in the motivations and practices of owners and managers of supply chain businesses and the governments that house them.
You do not have access to this content

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

In this chapter, we argue that labor violations persist in China because local governments and suppliers collude against the interests of workers, and often against the interests of multinational brands. Local government officials are willing and eager to work with supplier factories because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has created a political equilibrium through use of the cadre evaluation system and fiscal decentralization, which creates short time horizons and a ‘development and investment at all costs’ policy outlook. Those who perform well are rewarded with promotions and other material benefits. Furthermore, there are intense divisions within the worker cluster stemming from the hukou system and strict repression of independent unionization. This has prevented Chinese workers from forming a sustained or coherent countervailing force to business. These factors all combine to create immense barriers to change, even when opportunities for leverage exist. We examine two episodes of labor resistance at Foxconn and Yue Yuen factories. We find that while transnational campaigns and media attention did, temporarily, change the calculations of Foxconn, however, the firm still seems to be acting against the interests of its workers, just in different ways and in different locations. Local officials are still complicit. The unusual levels of alignment among workers during the Yue Yuen strike managed to briefly break down the alignment between local governments and suppliers. However, investment and development had to be threatened in order to change the calculations of the firm and the local government. These two within-country cases illustrate how long-term beliefs about rewards and punishments for upholding labor standards are incredibly difficult to change. They are even more difficult to change in places where the political system consistently reinforces divisions among workers, prohibits independent unionization, and rewards local officials for economic development and revenue generation above all else.
You do not have access to this content

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

In this chapter we use quantitative data to examine what country-level factors can facilitate improvements in labor standards. Our most consistent finding is that a country’s level of development shapes its labor standards. Beyond economic development, our analysis highlights how an examination of a full sample of countries produces different conclusions than a sample comprised only of developing countries particularly important in global supply chains. We also find that distinct sets of factors may be associated with the protection of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights on the one hand, and patterns of enforcement by state authorities on the other. Across these differences, our analysis suggests which features of government can matter. Democracy and the power of left-wing political parties are sometimes associated with improvements in labor standards. Although state capacity is a powerful explanatory factor across all countries, when examining supply-chain-intensive countries alone state capacity offers little explanatory power beyond what is already explained by differences in economic development. That is, given that wealthier countries tend to have greater state capacity, differences in state capacity are not associated with differences in labor standards once we have taken development into account. We find some evidence supporting hypotheses regarding differences between foreign direct investment (FDI) and arm’s-length contracting (Mosley and Uno, 2007; Mosley, 2010) and regarding the diffusion of labor standards via global supply chains (Greenhill, et al., 2009). Countries that have ratified more ILO conventions tend to have better labor rights but not better labor enforcement.
You do not have access to this content

Labor Standards in International Supply Chains

Aligning Rights and Incentives

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Labor Standards in International Supply Chains examines developments in working conditions over the past thirty years. The authors analyze the stakeholders and mechanisms that create challenges and opportunities for improving labor rights around the world, in sectors including apparel, footwear and electronics. Extended examples from China, Honduras, Bangladesh and the United States, as well as new quantitative evidence, illustrate the complex dynamics within and among key groups, including brands, suppliers, governments, workers and consumers.