Meeting the challenges of industrial restructuring: Labor reform and enforcement in Latin America

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Despite a strengthening of collective labor rights in Latin America over the last 15 years, most labor movements in the region have lost power because neither the content nor the enforcement mechanisms associated with the labor reforms fully took into consideration the challenges presented by economic restructuring. Reforms facilitating union formation did not strengthen unions but instead increased union fragmentation. Collective bargaining structures did not respond to the exigencies of international outsourcing; and the initial round of reforms in the 1990s did not contemplate the need to strengthen labor law enforcement mechanisms at a time when heightened international competition created a need for greater state vigilance of labor standards. Recent reforms or proposed reforms hold more promise for labor, but truly union-friendly labor relations regimes require deeper changes. A review of several Latin American cases is followed by a closer examination of Brazil and El Salvador.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-65
Number of pages33
JournalLatin American Politics and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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