This dissertation argues that despite the near universal levels of state ratification of treaties protecting international labor organizing rights, states do not necessary comply with these rights under the current period of economic globalization. This is because the foundational conditions of these norms--specific to the political, ethical and economic concerns of the post-war liberal order--have changed as increased economic competition, financial and trade flows have created new material and political priorities for states. However, the human rights aspects of labor organizing rights have provided useful opportunities for labor unions to promote these norms within international institutions. International institutions are empowered by law to then make recommendations to states regarding states' compliance with these labor rights norms. I investigate this interaction between states, labor unions, and international institutions in their contestations over labor organizing rights. I call this process norm contestation, as the actors involved participate in a process of contestation regarding a state's obligations to protect labor organizing rights, resulting from the softer legalization of these norms in international law. I argue that both interest and identity-based factors can lead to greater compliance, despite these changes in state incentives. Compliance is more likely to occur when three factors are present: recommendations from multiple international institutions, trade union and other activist networks, and a state's international identity or reputation ambitions. I investigate this argument through historical comparative case research on the recommendations by international institutions on labor organizing rights laws in South Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
University of Minnesota. Ph.D dissertation. June 2008. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Kathryn A. Sikkink. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 433 pages.
Kang, Susan Lee.
Contestation and collectivies: protecting labor organizing rights in the global economy..
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