[Excerpt] The globalization of product, financial, and labor markets has made it easier for companies to produce many of the goods and services they sell wherever in the world the right skills can be found at the lowest cost. The desire to sell products worldwide has also created incentives for firms to have a presence in multiple countries. Together these facts have made labor relations in many industries global in scope. Globalization is of particular importance to emerging countries. Nearly 50 percent of the world’s manufacturing employment is now located in emerging countries.
Globalization poses significant challenges to labor relations practices. Historically the laws, markets, institutions, norms, and practices of labor relations have developed on a national basis. Globalization has weakened, though not eliminated, the role of national systems of labor relations and given rise to a number of new institutions, structures, and processes for dealing with all of the labor relations functions discussed in previous chapters.
In this chapter we will discuss these new arrangements and the challenges globalization poses to labor relations. To do so we will use the framework laid out in chapter 1 for analyzing labor relations.