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[Excerpt] Most unions are seen as protectionist, and the label is often justified. "Stop Imports" and "Buy American" have been the main themes of many union campaigns. These sentiments stir the blood, but they are devoid of political content. They define the enemy as foreign products and, by implication, foreign workers willing to work cheaply. As long as workers abroad are seen as part of the problem, however, the American labor movement cannot solve either its trade problem or its collective bargaining crisis. Protectionism accepts the employers' premise that U.S. workers are locked in competition with third-world pay levels — a contest Americans can never win.


Suggested Citation
Compa, L. (1986). The faces of global competition. [Electronic version]. Commonweal, 13(6), pp. 458-461.

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©1986 Commonweal Foundation, reprinted with permission. For subscriptions: