Development NGOs and Labor Unions: Terms of Engagement

Edited by: 
Eade, Deborah
Edited by: 
Leather, Alan

ImageDevelopment NGOs and labor unions have much to gain from collaborating in the pursuit of a social justice and rights agenda, yet the two sectors have traditionally tended to operate independently of one another. The 'another world is possible' movement; a continuing series of anti-globalization protests; and conflicting views on core labor standards, corporate codes of conduct, and the WTO have placed civil society organizations at the center of public debates on global governance. While NGOs and unions will naturally pursue diverse strategies and tactics, neither sector can afford to go it alone. The essays collected in this volume elucidate some of the underlying tensions between trade unions and NGOs and illustrate the scope for constructive and respectful dialogue - and potential partnership - between them. Alan Leather is Deputy Secretary General of Public Services International (PSI).


Deborah Eade

Introductory Essay: Labor union and NGO relations in development and social justice
Alan Leather

Part 1: Alliances and Tensions between Labor Unions and NGOs

Trade unions and NGOs: the need for cooperation (abstract)
Dave Spooner

Building bridges across a double divide: alliances between US and Latin American labor and NGOs
Mark Anner and Peter Evans

Challenging relations: a labor-NGO coalition to oppose the Canada-US and North American Free Trade Agreements 1985-1993
Sophia Huyer

Time to scale up cooperation? Trade unions, NGOs, and the international anti-sweatshop movement
Tim Connor

International NGOs and unions in the South: worlds apart or allies in the struggle?
Deborah Eade

Organizing citizenship at Local 890’s Citizenship Project: unleashing innovation through an affiliate organization
Paul Johnston

The trade union solution or the NGO problem? The fight for global labor rights
Joseph Román

Part 2: Experiences of Union-based NGOs

The Global Workplace – challenging the race to the bottom
Jackie Simpkins

Working at the intersection—a story from Australia
Ken Davis

Part 3: Workers in the informal and maquila economies

Organizing home-based workers in the global economy: an action-research approach
Ruth Pearson

Never the twain shall meet? Women’s organizations and trade unions in the maquila industry in Central America
Marina Prieto and Carolina Quinteros

Beyond the barriers: new forms of labor internationalism
Angela Hale

Part 4: Workplace Codes of Conduct

Who should code your conduct? Trade union and NGO differences in the fight for workers’ rights
Rainer Braun and Judy Gearhart

Sweating it out: NGO campaigns and trade union empowerment
Ronnie D. Lipschutz

Labor Unions, NGOs, and corporate codes of conduct
Lance Compa

Workplace codes as tools for workers
Neil Kearney and Judy Gearhart

Part 5: Case Studies

United we stand: labor unions and human rights NGOs in the democratization process in Nigeria
E. Remi Aiyede

Combining worker and user interests in the health sector: trade unions and NGOs
Jane Lethbridge

More than a token gesture: NGOs and trade unions campaigning for a common cause
Jonathan Ellis

Trade unions and women’s NGOs: diverse civil society organizations in Iran
Elaheh Rostami Povey

‘The Sword of Justice’: South Pacific trade unions and NGOs during a decade of lost development
Satendra Prasad and Darryn Snell

Part 6: Resources

Labor unions and development: an annotated list of resources

© Kumarian Press Inc. 2005.
ISBN 1 56549 196 3
All rights reserved.
Available from Stylus Publishing


‘This book presents a frank and critical analysis of the differences in ideology, organization and mode of operation as well as of shared goals, common interests and cooperation between the two major forces of global society. It will be of interest to all committed to social justice in world development.’
Dharam Ghai, Former Director, UNRISD; Adviser, International Labour Office

‘The authors address the new, sometimes difficult, issues raised by the relationship between organized labor, with its longstanding structures and traditions, and the emerging world of independent social movements. This collection should be of significant value to policy makers, activists, and academics.’
Stephen F Diamond, Associate Professor of Law, Santa Clara University