Providing Labor with a Voice in International Trade Negotiations

Donna McGuire, Christoph Scherrer


Free trade agreements among countries are currently proliferating. These trade initiatives are less about trade than about increasing the power of corporations. In this article, we not only point out some of the likely negative consequences for workers and organized labor but also draw lessons from previous campaigns against trade liberalization. For an  analysis of these campaigns, we utilize the concepts of the political opportunity structure, resource mobilization, and framing capacity. To be able to inluence trade negotiations, unions must prioritize trade as an issue, build up sufficient trade policy expertise and dedicate sufficient resources for mobilization.

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