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This paper examines rejuvenated labor, environmental and campus movements in the U.S., in case studies of living wage, anti-sweatshop, sustainable development and Justice for Janitors campaigns. The cases offer surprising evidence for the resurgence of progressive activism in America, at a critical historical juncture in which contrasting perspectives contend for prominence - Washington consensus versus Seattle coalition, employer-driven deunionization versus union-led mobilization, corporate power and corruption versus labor-inclusive social movement upsurge, and in the global arena, unilateral domination versus multilateral negotiation. Predominantly local, the coalitions examined in this research, taken together across the United States, amount to a substantial movement for broad economic and social policy reform, an American movement with potentially global ramifications. The argument presented here contends that this revitalization of social forces in the U.S. is significant enough to need explanation, and presents evidence pointing toward key causal forces at work: chronic inequality, strategic leadership, and coalition building.


Suggested Citation
Turner, L. (2004). Labor and global justice: Emerging reform coalitions in the world's only superpower [Electronic version]. Industrielle Beziehungen, 11(1/2), 92-111.

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© Rainer Hampp Verlag Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.