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Cross-National Comparisons of Social Movement Unionism

Diversities of Labour Movement Revitalization in Japan, Korea and the United States


Edited By Akira Suzuki

For the past two decades efforts to halt the decline in union numbers and revitalize the labour movement have largely resided in social movement unionism (SMU). In the first English-language book to compare SMU in Japan, Korea and the United States, scholars from the three countries examine its emergence as a response to neoliberal globalization. Cross-National Comparisons of Social Movement Unionism moves beyond previous studies of SMU and union revitalization which have focussed on the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The eleven chapters offer empirical and theoretical analyses of the impact of SMU on existing labour movements, and explain the mediating factors that account for the diversity of SMU across national boundaries, arguing that its forms and activities are mediated by different institutional, political and economic contexts.


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Acknowledgements ix Akira Suzuki 1 Introduction: Theoretical and Empirical Issues of Cross-national Comparisons of Social Movement Unionism 1 Part One The Impact of Social Movement Unionism on Existing Labour Movements 35 Jennifer Jihye Chun 2 The Power of the Powerless: New Schemas and Resources for Organizing Workers in Neoliberal Times 37 Akira Suzuki 3 The Limits and Possibilities of Social Movement Unionism in Japan in the Context of Industrial Relations Institutions 61 Joohee Lee 4 A Renewal of Solidarity or Continued Decline? The Korean Retail Workers’ Struggles against Neoliberalism 91 vi Part Two Social Movement Unionism from a Cross-national Perspective 115 Nobuyuki Yamada 5 The Diversity of Social Movement Unionism: Towards a Cross-National, Comparative Framework 117 Minjin Lee 6 Varieties of Community Unionism: A Comparison of Community Unionism in Japan and Korea 147 Part Three Meso-level Mediating Factors Explaining the Diversities of Social Movement Unionism 181 Stephanie Luce 7 Labour and Community Coalitions: Challenges for Growth 183 Charles Weathers 8 Political Activism and Union Revival in Australia, the United States and Japan 213 Koshi Endo 9 Women’s Labour NPOs and Women’s Trade Unions in Japan 239 Heiwon Kwon 10 Success While Others Fail: Union Strategy against Railway Restructuring in South Korea 261 vii Hirohiko Takasu 11 The Formation of a Region-based Amalgamated Union Movement and Its Possibilities 289 Appendix 325 Notes on Contributors and Translators 335 Index 337

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