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The Right to Strike without the Right to Organize Strikes? Workers and Unions in Auto-parts Manufacturers in Southern China, 2010-2016

When: Tuesday, January 16, 2018
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM  

Where: 1902 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


EDGS Graduate Lecture Series

Zhihang Ruan, Political Science

Do unions mitigate the propensity of workers to strike? This talk focuses on the strike wave in auto-parts manufacturers in Guangdong Province of China in 2010, and the subsequent reforms of workplace unions in the industry, to explore how specific political and institutional settings shape the role of unions in representing workers and mitigating/motivating strikes. Using Jon Elster’s differentiation between arguing and bargaining, the talk tries to present a nuanced understanding of changes concerning the right to strike in a country. Specifically, the talk argues, that in the union reform after 2010, workers got a certain degree of the right to strike but unions did not get the right to organize strikes, and this was the reason of the later stagnancy of the reform and the weakened power of unions and workers. The talk argues the differentiation between the two kinds of right may help us understand unions and strikes in other contexts, like in Vietnam.

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