Publication Date

January 1997


"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."


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.

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