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Lecture 6

Week 6 - February 10, 11, & 13 -- The Global "North"

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Labour Studies
John Barkans

LABR ST 2G03 – LECTURE – February 10, 11, 13, 2014 LECTURE – FEB 10 CHINA, GLOBALIZATION AND LABOUR… continued - Phased in redundancies o Didn’t sever all labour relationships with employee o Retained some of former obligations  Livelihood wages and medical costs  Retraining employees to allow them to keep employment o Cushioned the blow - Workers not tied to production process, so once became completely redundant, no more “power” and protests had no impact o no work to strike against” - China started to experience labour shortages o ‘factory of the world’ requires a lot of labour o Population control instated effected this - Recognize shift between labour and capital - Protests: collective bargaining by riot o Didn’t have labour side unions (only state influenced ACFTU) o Caused ACFTU to start changing  Started acting more like a real union (most representative of workers)  Engaged in real collective bargaining  Certain officials started changing policies  Traditional ACFTU pattern of organizing workers altered to a regional industrial bargaining pattern o Regional industrial bargaining pattern  Wanted to get migrant workers in ACFTU  State policy to increases membership  Problem: How effective can a union of 10 people be?  Started unionized by sector: clothes, radios?, etc.  Real collective bargaining as it covered more workers who had similar interests  Resemble traditional Western unions (not the same, but in a similar style)  Younger, more educated workers who know their rights and demand more GLOBAL SUBCONTRACTING, TRANSNATIONAL PRODUCTION CHAINS AND LABOUR IN THE “NORTH” - 1995: high publicized police raid of underground factory o 70 Thai women imprisoned in a basement of dwelling establishment that was ringed with barbed wire fences and doors that locked from the outside; very few windows that were small with iron bars  Making clothing for brand retailers  Forced to work from 7am – midnight each day  Minor, minimal dates  Paid approx. $1.60/hr -- $27.27/day -- $190/week  Teenagers  Building was in El Monte, California - Apparel Industry o Early in North America and Europe, industry developed in sweat shop conditions  Substandard wages, working conditions, safety, etc.  Lots of incidents • Ex. Workers burned to death due to one fire escape and one door out o The reason for high amounts of health and safety now-a-days o Also caused workers to organize o Increased amount of inspections  61% of southern California garment firms violated minimum wage  ~70% failed to pay overtime  74% has record keeping violations  41% paying workers in cash (unrecorded)  96% violated health and safety license • 72% had serious violations that could result in death or injury o US Department of Labour estimates that between 40% and 60% of registered garment firms violate wage and overtime; 66% in Los Angeles  That’s just registered firms  There is an underground economy of unregistered firms LECTURE – FEB 11 – SARAH K. sent THE GLOBAL “NORTH”… continued - Micheal Burawoy - "hegemonic despotism" - Replaced with the rational tyranny of collective mobility of the collective worker - Kate Bronfenbrenner study o Illegal in United States and Canada o Every single time there were unions in this, there was a threat of plant closure o The union tried to take wages and working conditions out of competition (when unions were accepted) o Where individual workers are not competing with each other, working collectively o Back to competition on a global scale o Restraint on wages and industries in the Global North - Alan Greenspan - Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the USA o Influential position he held in US o "Sustainable economic expansion linked to atypical restraint on compensation increases that appear to be mainly the consequence of greater worker insecurity"  Greater restraints than usual  Going to be affected by these global processes  Hold onto skilled/ semi-skilled, that exist in more capital intensive industries (steel mills, car plants), more skill required, this will remain preserve of the better jobs of the global north  You can't move a capital intensive factory as easily as a labour intensive industries  Eventual
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