Publication Date

January 1997

Abstract

"Following an overview of US workers' changing relation to free trade in the postwar era, this article offers a critical review of labor's fight against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Breaking the campaign down into a typology of four major themes around which the struggle focused — fear of job losses, the unfair suppression of labor rights in Mexico, cross-border solidarity, and international labor rights — it explores the efficacy of these approaches in terms of their ability to build toward a transnational agenda for unions in North America. The article argues that, although many new and creative ideas emerged from the struggle, the overall tone and content of the anti-NAFTA campaign failed to construct a usable transnational political space for the future of organized labor and instead served to nurture nationalistic social identities within the United States."

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Suggested Citation
Cowie, J. (1997). National struggles in a transnational economy: A critical analysis of US labor's campaign against NAFTA. Labor Studies Journal, 21, 3-32.
http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cb/28/

Required Publisher Statement
Labor Studies Journal is the official publication of the United Association for Labor Education (UALE). For information on how to subscribe, how to contribute to the journal, or on contents of past issues, go to the following website: http://www.uale.org/lsj/lsj.shtml.

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