Towards Transnational Labor Citizenship: Restructuring Labor Migration to Reinforce Workers Rights
63 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2009 Last revised: 24 Feb 2009
Date Written: January 4, 2009
In a 2007 article, I proposed "Transnational Labor Citizenship" as a new approach to labor migration policy. Transnational Labor Citizenship would link permission to work in the U.S. to the migrant's membership in a network of cross-border worker organizations rather than to employment by a particular enterprise, as is currently the norm. Migrants would make a commitment to refuse work under conditions that violate legal standards or labor agreements, and would get assistance from the worker organizations to enforce baseline labor rights. This report, "Restructuring Labor Migration to Reinforce Workers Rights," carries the Transnational Labor Citizenship idea forward by exploring emerging experiments around the globe that echo two of the proposal's central elements: origin country efforts to enforce labor rights for their migrants (both alone and in collaboration with destination country governments), and migrant labor organizing efforts that involve collaboration between trade unions in origin and destination countries. I reflect on the lessons these experiments offer with regard to some of the challenges a Transnational Labor Citizenship regime will face, and suggest questions for further study.
Keywords: immigration, migration, migrant, labor, union, transnational
JEL Classification: F22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation