Why do labor unions resist economic restructuring and adjustment policies in some countries and in some economic sectors while they submit in other cases? And why do some labor leaders fashion more creative and effective roles for labor unions? This book addresses these critical questions in an in-depth elegant comparative study of Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela in the 1990s. In each case, the book studies both the role of national confederations as well as individual unions in specific economic sectors in each country. It demonstrates the importance of the presence and nature of alliances between political parties and labor unions as well as the significance of competition between labor unions for the representation of the same set of workers. This work opens new horizons for appreciating the intellectual and practical importance of the variation in the interactions between workers, unions, political parties, and economic policies.
• Shows that neoliberal reforms required a great deal of bargaining with social actors in general and labor unions in particular in Latin America • Shows that populist coalitions did not vanish and maintained their appeal to labor in order to implement new policies and keep electoral power • Analyzes how national labor unions in Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela responded to their governments' neoliberal economic policies
1. Unions' dilemma: how to survive neoliberalism; 2. A theory of union-government interaction; 3. The populist past and its institutional legacies; 4. A tug of war: labor unions and market reforms in Venezuela; 5. Divided we rule: labor unions and market reforms in Mexico; 6. From pickets to prices: labor unions and market reform in Argentina; 7. Multilevel comparison; 8. Labor competition and partisan coalitions.
'… this study adds significantly to our understanding of the interactions between labour movements and political parties in Latin America and, as such, I heartily recommend it.' Labour History Review
' … a useful study …' Democratization
'This account goes beyond the usual focus on the national labor confederations to examine individual unions in particular economic sectors in each country … this text provides considerable empirical data, especially at individual union level, that may help us understand the context in which the economic restructuring and labor flexibility debates of the 1990s occurred.' Latin American Perspectives