Since the 1990s, observers have seen globalization impairing labor’s rights. We take Charles Tilly as an exemplar of this view, subjecting his 1995 article to critical appreciation. We argue that Tilly, known for his work on the National Social Movement, overlooked the fact that some unions under pressure from global neo-liberalism can employ a protest repertoire employing their citizen rights, while others continue to use labor rights. We use port workers, who are directly exposed to globalization, to show how different political opportunity structures and different strategic choices influence these choices. In Sweden, our exemplar of a neo-corporatist system, we find that the employment of labor rights continues to be robust; in the USA, our exemplar of a fully-fledged neo-liberal system, we find much greater recourse to a repertoire calling on citizen rights. Finally, in Australia and Great Britain, countries undergoing a shift to neo-liberalism in the 1980s and 1990s, we show that strategic choice influences how effectively unions adapt to shifts towards neo-liberalism: Australian unions effectively used citizen rights while the British port unions failed to make this strategic shift.