Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Marissa Brookes on Transnational Labor Activism in Indonesia and Cambodia

Marissa Brookes. 2017. "Explaining Employer Responses to Transnational Labor Activism: Indonesia and Cambodia Compared." Comparative Political Studies, first published online onn 15th June 2017. 

Abstract: Attempts to expand labor rights are rarely met with automatic acceptance by employers who benefitted from past practices. Workers, thus, sometimes engage in transnational activism in an attempt to secure labor rights on the local or national scale. This article investigates why some employers alter their behavior in response to such activism. I hypothesize that an employer will concede to a transnational labor campaign only when workers fully shift that employer’s attention onto the international scale and directly threaten the employer’s core, material interests. Evidence from a controlled comparison of labor disputes at luxury hotels in Indonesia and Cambodia during a period of institutional transition in the early 2000s supports this argument. This analysis sheds light on the conditions necessary for the implementation of labor rights through transnational activism and the causal mechanisms linking labor and employer strategies to the outcomes of transnational campaigns.