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Full-Text Articles in Labor Relations

Management Whipsawing: The Staging Of Labor Competition Under Globalization, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier Jul 2017

Management Whipsawing: The Staging Of Labor Competition Under Globalization, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier

Ian Greer

The authors examine management whipsawing practices in the European auto industry based on more than 200 interviews and a comparison of three automakers. They identify four distinct ways in which managers stage competition between plants to extract labor concessions: informal, hegemonic, coercive, and rule-based whipsawing. Practices at the three auto firms differed from one another and changed over time because of two factors: structural whipsawing capacity and management labor relations strategy. In the context of economic globalization, whipsawing is an effective means for managers to extract concessions, to loosen national institutional constraints, and to diffuse employment practices internationally.


Identity Work: Sustaining Transnational Collective Action At General Motors Europe, Ian Greer Jan 2016

Identity Work: Sustaining Transnational Collective Action At General Motors Europe, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

What are the conditions under which transnational collective action is initiated and sustained? This paper presents a case study of General Motors Europe, where labor leaders have mobilized the workforce and bargained with management at the transnational level repeatedly over more than a decade as a response to management whipsawing and threats of plant closures. In contrast to structuralist interest-based theories of union behavior, we identify a process of “identity work‟ that was necessary to sustain transnational worker cooperation.


World Champions In Hospital Privatisation: The Effects Of Neoliberal Reform On German Employees And Patients, Nils Böhlke, Ian Greer, Thorsten Schulten Jan 2016

World Champions In Hospital Privatisation: The Effects Of Neoliberal Reform On German Employees And Patients, Nils Böhlke, Ian Greer, Thorsten Schulten

Ian Greer

[Excerpt] Over the past decade, German hospitals have been privatised at a rate not seen in any other country. In response to massive public-sector debt and the resulting investment backlog, many state and local governments have been privatising hospitals. The most common arguments for privatisation are repeated in a recent study commissioned by the association of private hospital owners (Bundesverband Deutscher Privatkliniken - BDPK) namely that private hospitals manage in a more efficient manner and are economically more successful (Augurzky, Beivers et al., 2009). Indeed, in some cases, private for-profit hospital companies have invested generously and turned inefficient public hospitals into ...


How Does Market Making Affect Industrial Relations? Evidence From Eight German Hospitals, Ian Greer, Thorsten Schulten, Nils Böhlke Sep 2015

How Does Market Making Affect Industrial Relations? Evidence From Eight German Hospitals, Ian Greer, Thorsten Schulten, Nils Böhlke

Ian Greer

The introduction of market mechanisms matters for industrial relations. In the German hospital sector, national liberalization policies have put immense pressure on local management and worker representatives and led to the growth of a low-wage sector. In case studies of eight hospitals, we find some locales where market making has led to union revitalization and mobilization, but this effect varies. Using an eight-way comparison, we infer a configuration of three aspects of the local political economy – labour markets, politics, and codetermination rules – that together provide a well fitting explanation for both variation and change.


Two Paths To The High Road: The Dynamics Of Coalition Building In Seattle And Buffalo, Ian Greer, Barbara Byrd, Lou Jean Fleron Sep 2015

Two Paths To The High Road: The Dynamics Of Coalition Building In Seattle And Buffalo, Ian Greer, Barbara Byrd, Lou Jean Fleron

Ian Greer

[Excerpt] Labor-community coalitions are not a new concept. Unions approach such coalitions now, as in the past, as one way to enhance their bargaining power with an employer. Such coalitions are temporary and often issue-based. In recent years, however, some local labor movements have begun to look at coalitions in a broader way – as a means of improving their public image and building power in the political arena. This broad-based approach requires the development of coalitions for the longer run, not just for temporary expediency. This paper develops the notion of a high road social infrastructure as a way to ...


Großbritannien: Noch Immer Heimat Des Neoliberalismus?, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Großbritannien: Noch Immer Heimat Des Neoliberalismus?, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Großbritannien wurde zur Referenzgröße für neoliberale Reformen, und dies nicht nur aufgrund der Entwicklung unter Premierministerin Thatcher. Die Regierungen von New Labour (1997-2010) leiteten ebenfalls kontinuierlich Reformen ein, um die »Abhängigkeit vom Sozialstaat« zu bekämpfen. Damit hielten sie Großbritanniens Status als eine der am meisten ungleichen Gesellschaften Europas aufrecht. Der leichte wirtschaftliche Aufschwung führte dazu, dass die Erwerbslosenquote bei ungefähr acht Prozent verharrte, und eine neue Regierungskoalition von Konservativen und Liberaldemokraten verschärfte Kürzungen bei Sozialausgaben und kündigte Entlassungen im öffentlichen Sektor an, so dass eine weitere Verschlechterung der Lage zu erwarten ist.


Special Interests And Public Goods: Organized Labor’S Coalition Politics In Hamburg And Seattle, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Special Interests And Public Goods: Organized Labor’S Coalition Politics In Hamburg And Seattle, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Why do some unions engage in special interest politics while others pursue broader social goods? In this chapter I examine the effect of global markets for capital and local political mobilization. I argue that protecting jobs requires unions to engage in coalition politics, sometimes in pursuit of social goods that have benefits beyond the interests of union members. In cases, however, of high- stakes economic development projects involving large employers, the affected unions join business-driven coalitions with narrowly economistic pro-jobs agendas. I demonstrate this argument by comparing union involvement in the politics of economic development in Seattle and Hamburg. Because ...


Sozialpartnerschaft Als Gewerkschaftsstrategie - Beispiele Aus 5 Ländern, Michael Fichter, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Sozialpartnerschaft Als Gewerkschaftsstrategie - Beispiele Aus 5 Ländern, Michael Fichter, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Wie konnen Gewerkschaften in einem gewandelten, neoliberalen Umfeld erfolgreich agieren? Die Privatisierung der stadtischen Kliniken in Hamburg - bei der seitens der Gewerkschaft sowohl der Weg der Kooperation wie der der Konfrontation beschritten wurde - gibt ein bemerkenswertes Beispiel fur den Wandel von Arbeitgeber - und Gewerkschaftsstrategien, Mit Anleihen bei sozialen Bewegungen konnen Gewerkschaften, so zeigt die Erfahrung, solche Konflikte nicht nur besser bestehen, sondern gestarkt aus ihnen hervorgehen.


The European Migrant Workers Union: Union Organizing Through Labour Transnationalism, Ian Greer, Zinovijus Ciupijus, Nathan Lillie Sep 2015

The European Migrant Workers Union: Union Organizing Through Labour Transnationalism, Ian Greer, Zinovijus Ciupijus, Nathan Lillie

Ian Greer

Despite the presence of hyper-mobile migrant workers in the European Union, there is very little research on transnational union organizing efforts. This paper examines the European Migrant Workers Union (EMWU), which signalled a shift by the German union Industriegewerkschaft Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) in its approach to migrant workers away from national protectionism and toward transnational organizing. The EMWU, however, failed to thrive as an organization, primarily because of decisions by other unions to reject the transnational approach and instead to defend existing jurisdictions. We argue that this inaction constitutes a setback for union reassertion of control over markets and for ...


Social Movement Unionism And Social Partnership In Germany: The Case Of Hamburg’S Hospitals, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Social Movement Unionism And Social Partnership In Germany: The Case Of Hamburg’S Hospitals, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

This paper traces the emergence of social movement unionism in Hamburg, Germany, as labor’s channels of influence have broken down and economic pressures have intensified. Trade unionists have responded to the privatization of the municipal hospitals by mobilizing members and building coalitions around issues beyond their members’ immediate interests, including democracy and public service quality. Although the loss of union influence has facilitated social movement unionism, in East Germany economic crisis has had a demobilizing effect.


The Industrial Determinants Of Transnational Solidarity: Global Interunion Politics In Three Sectors, Mark Anner, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier, Nathan Lillie, Nik Winchester Sep 2015

The Industrial Determinants Of Transnational Solidarity: Global Interunion Politics In Three Sectors, Mark Anner, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier, Nathan Lillie, Nik Winchester

Ian Greer

This article compares forms of labour transnationalism in three industrial sectors: motor manufacturing, maritime shipping and clothing and textile manufacturing. In each case, unions engage in very different transnational activities to reassert control over labour markets and competition. As institutions of transnational cooperation deepen, unions continue to struggle with competitive tensions (worker to worker and union to union) which vary from one industry to another.


Automobile Workers Strikes, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Automobile Workers Strikes, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Automobile workers' strikes occurred in essentially four eras: the lost strikes by the industry's craft unions in the early twentieth century, the dramatic sit-down victories of the 1930s, the mixture of wildcat and authorized strikes during the postwar economic boom from the 1940s through the 1970s, and the decline of strikes that accompanied the policy of "jointness' between company and union after J9S0. Autoworkers' strike strategies reflected, in part, the particular structure of the industry, which took shape in the 1920s. Auto production is a complex process of interdependent operations to produce parts and assemble vehicles, each containing tens ...


Business Union Vs. Business Union? Understanding The Split In The Us Labour Movement, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Business Union Vs. Business Union? Understanding The Split In The Us Labour Movement, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

In summer 2005, the trade union movement formalised its split into two rival confederations. The split was precipitated by the 2001 disaffiliation of the carpenters’ union, the Republican electoral victory of 2004, and the decline in union membership. Seven unions, accounting for forty per cent of the membership of the AFL-CIO formed Change to Win as a response to that federation’s ineffectiveness. This article concludes that the split may lead to new techniques for campaigning, but that it will not affect the fortunes or the social vision of the trade union movement.


Beyond National “Varieties”: Public-Service Contracting In Comparative Perspective, Ian Greer, Ian Greenwood, Mark Stuart Sep 2015

Beyond National “Varieties”: Public-Service Contracting In Comparative Perspective, Ian Greer, Ian Greenwood, Mark Stuart

Ian Greer

[Excerpt] In this chapter, we will explore how work in contracted-out public services, including that in the voluntary sector, maps onto the broader international political economy of work. Comparative scholars often write about society correcting the excesses of the market, and it is hard to imagine a more relevant phenomenon to this than the voluntary sector. Yet this sector is itself subject to market forces, ironically perhaps, due to its ever-closer relationship with the state. Our study of employment in welfare-to-work services in the UK and Germany, whose findings are summarised below, shows how this relationship works and what its ...


Labor And Urban Crisis In Buffalo, New York: Building A High Road Infrastructure, Ian Greer, Lou Jean Fleron Sep 2015

Labor And Urban Crisis In Buffalo, New York: Building A High Road Infrastructure, Ian Greer, Lou Jean Fleron

Ian Greer

With inequality growing and competitive market forces on the march, can unions play a constructive role in solving the problems of capitalist economic development? Should they try? In this study of coalition building in Buffalo, New York we find that regular procedures of problem solving involving multiple coalition partners – what we call a high-road social infrastructure – have developed in the city. We discuss the progression of union approaches to economic development, including in-plant and regional labor-management partnership, community coalitions and the creation of labor-led nonprofit organizations. In response to long-term economic and social crisis, a group of union leaders has ...


When Does Marketisation Lead To Privatisation? Profit-Making In English Health Services After The 2012 Health And Social Care Act, Nick Krachler, Ian Greer Sep 2015

When Does Marketisation Lead To Privatisation? Profit-Making In English Health Services After The 2012 Health And Social Care Act, Nick Krachler, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Governments world-wide have attempted to use market mechanisms and privatisation to increase the quality and/or reduce the cost of healthcare. England’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 is an attempt to promote privatisation through marketisation in the National Health Service (NHS). While the health policy literature tends to assume that privatisation follows from private-sector entry points, we argue that this is more likely if firms expect to make a profit. This paper examines the link between privatisation and marketisation in England drawing on 32 semi-structured interviews with private-sector and public-sector respondents, campaigners, and other experts conducted 6-10 months ...


Welfare Reform, Precarity And The Re-Commodification Of Labour, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Welfare Reform, Precarity And The Re-Commodification Of Labour, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

While welfare reform matters for workers and workplaces, it is peripheral in English-language sociology of work and industrial relations research. This article’s core proposition is that active labour market policies (ALMPs) are altering the institutional constitution of the labour market by intensifying market discipline within the workforce. This re-commodification effect is specified drawing on Marxism, comparative institutionalism, German-language sociology, and English-language social policy analysis. Because of administrative failures and employer discrimination, however, ALMPs may worsen precarity without achieving the stated goal of increasing labour-market participation.


Social Dumping As Marketization: Management Whipsawing In Europe’S Auto Industry, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier Sep 2015

Social Dumping As Marketization: Management Whipsawing In Europe’S Auto Industry, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier

Ian Greer

[Excerpt] The focus of this paper is one slow-burning change in the organization of capitalism in Europe, marketization (Greer and Doellgast 2013, Hauptmeier 2011). We argue that a specific species of marketization, management whipsawing, is causing social dumping in the automotive sector. By management whipsawing we mean the staging of economic competition by large corporations with several production units in a way that extracts labor concessions by pitting local workers against each other in contests for investment and production. Multinational companies (MNC) were the first movers and developed various management whipsawing practices; however, the term was also used historically to ...


Vertical Disintegration And The Disorganisation Of German Industrial Relations, Virginia Doellgast, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Vertical Disintegration And The Disorganisation Of German Industrial Relations, Virginia Doellgast, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Drawing on case studies from the telecommunications and auto industries, we argue that the vertical disintegration of major German employers is contributing to the disorganisation of Germany’s dual system of in-plant and sectoral negotiations. Subcontractors, subsidiaries, and temporary agencies often have no collective bargaining institutions, weaker firm-level agreements, or are covered by different sectoral agreements. As core employers move jobs to these firms, they introduce new organisational boundaries across the production chain and disrupt traditional bargaining structures. Worker representatives are developing new campaign approaches and using residual power at large firms to establish representation in new firms and sectors ...


Organized Industrial Relations In The Information Economy: The German Automotive Sector As A Test Case, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Organized Industrial Relations In The Information Economy: The German Automotive Sector As A Test Case, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

This paper explores the effect of the information economy on industrial relations through the lens of the restructuring of German automotive sector. Historically, this sector has generated important insights about national “models” and the political economy of work. I argue that vertical disintegration has created new market-mediated boundaries that have undermined existing patterns of organized industrial relations.


Political Entrepreneurs And Co-Managers: Labour Transnationalism At Four Multinational Auto Companies, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier Sep 2015

Political Entrepreneurs And Co-Managers: Labour Transnationalism At Four Multinational Auto Companies, Ian Greer, Marco Hauptmeier

Ian Greer

This paper examines labour transnationalism within four multinational automakers. In our sample, we find different forms of labour transnationalism, including transnational collective bargaining, mobilisation, information exchange and social codes of conduct. We explain these differences through the interaction between management and labour in the context of the company structure; of particular importance are transnational coercive comparisons by management and the orientations of worker representatives as political entrepreneurs or co-managers. We conclude that, although intensified worker-side crossborder cooperation were not preventing wage-based competition in general (due to the lack of between-firm coordination), they have reshaped employment relations within these MNCs.


Von Sozialen Bewegungen Lernen: Ein Impuls Fur Deutsche Gewerkschaften, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Von Sozialen Bewegungen Lernen: Ein Impuls Fur Deutsche Gewerkschaften, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Wie konnen Gewerkschaften in einem gewandelten, neoliberalen Umfeld erfolgreich agieren? Die Privatisierung der stadtischen Kliniken in Hamburg - bei der seitens der Gewerkschaft sowohl der Weg der Kooperation wie der der Konfrontation beschritten wurde - gibt ein bemerkenswertes Beispiel fur den Wandel von Arbeitgeber- und Gewerkschaftsstrategien, Mit Anleihen bei sozialen Bewegungen konnen Gewerkschaften, so zeigt die Erfahrung, solche Konflikte nicht nur besser bestehen, sondern gestarkt aus ihnen hervorgehen.


Analysing Social Partnership: A Tool Of Union Revitalization?, Michael Fichter, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Analysing Social Partnership: A Tool Of Union Revitalization?, Michael Fichter, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

[Excerpt] Recently, much has been written about social partnership. Especially in Europe, the spread of national social pacts, the introduction of tripartite institutions to the Central and Eastern European accession countries, and the implementation of the Social Dialogue in the European Union have created a new interest in the effects and effectiveness of such arrangements. In the United States, the meaning of labour-management partnership is developing further, as revitalized unions of service and construction workers have applied this instrument to extend and consolidate gains (Mills 2001; WAI 2002). This chapter focuses on one issue among many with regard to social ...


Marktorientierung Und Anstellungsverhältnisse In Der Aktivierungsindustrie: Fallstudie Zu Großbritannien Und Deutschland, Ian Greer, Ian Greenwood, Mark Stuart Sep 2015

Marktorientierung Und Anstellungsverhältnisse In Der Aktivierungsindustrie: Fallstudie Zu Großbritannien Und Deutschland, Ian Greer, Ian Greenwood, Mark Stuart

Ian Greer

In diesem Beitrag beschreiben wir »Aktivierung« als staatlich finanzierte Industrie mit einem großen Personalbestand. Wir untersuchen die Beispiele Großbritannien und Deutschland, wo die wichtigsten Akteure die öffentlichen Arbeitsämter sind. Gemeint sind damit insbesondere die Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA) und das Jobcentre Plus (JCP), welche selber Arbeitsvermittlung betreiben sowie Weiterbildung und Beratung für Erwerbslose an externe Unternehmen auslagern. Als weitere wichtige Akteure sind große Anbieter wie die deutschen Sozialverbände und die nationalen karitativen Verbände Großbritanniens zu nennen, aber auch Konzerne wie A4e, Maximus oder Ingeus. In vielen Ländern expandierte die Aktivierungsindustrie zusammen mit den steigenden finanziellen Mitteln für Aktivierungsprogramme. Auch veränderte ...


Labor And Regional Development In The U.S.A.: Building A High Road Infrastructure In Buffalo, New York, Ian Greer, Lou Jean Fleron Sep 2015

Labor And Regional Development In The U.S.A.: Building A High Road Infrastructure In Buffalo, New York, Ian Greer, Lou Jean Fleron

Ian Greer

[Excerpt] In a country where worker representatives lack broadly institutionalized roles as "social partners," how can they play a constructive role in solving the problems of regional development? In Buffalo, New York, regularized, labor-inclusive procedures of problem solving involving multiple coalition partners – what we call a high-road social infrastructure – has emerged. Socially engaged researchers and educators have played a role in spreading lessons and organizing dialogue. Despite the emergence of regional cooperation, however, successful development politics are hampered by many of the same problems seen in European regions, including uncertainty about the best union strategy, hostility from business and political ...


Industrial Relations, Migration, And Neoliberal Politics: The Case Of The European Construction Sector, Nathan Lillie, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Industrial Relations, Migration, And Neoliberal Politics: The Case Of The European Construction Sector, Nathan Lillie, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Transnational politics and labor markets are undermining national industrial relations systems in Europe. This article examines the construction industry, where the internationalization of the labor market has gone especially far. To test hypotheses about differences between “national systems,” the authors examine the United Kingdom, Finland, and Germany, alongside European-level policy making. Regardless of overall national institutional framework, employers seek to avoid industrial relations rules, while unions attempt to relocalize labor relations. Both use shop-floor, national, and European power resources. The authors argue that comparative industrial relations should take seriously the connection between action at the national and transnational levels.