Research Partnership With The Solidarity Center

In 2011, Rutgers SMLR Dean Susan J. Schurman and Professor Adrienne Eaton, chair of the department of labor studies and employment relations, were selected as the principal investigators for a five-year research partnership with the Solidarity Center, a non-profit organization that assists workers around the world who are struggling to build democratic and independent trade unions. 

The research partnership is aimed at documenting the effects of globalization on the nature of work and on labor and employment relations around the world. In particular, the research has focused on three programmatic areas thus far: unions and informal workers, unions and women workers and unions and migrant workers. Studies have been undertaken in Cambodia, Colombia, Dominican Republican, Jordan, South African, and Tunisia and have involved researchers based both at Rutgers and at other institutions around the globe.  

These reports are made possible through support provided by the Office of Democracy and Governance, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, US Agency for International Development, under the terms of Award No. AID-OAA-L-00001. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Agency for International Development. 


Research Reports

"A Review of Trade Union Organizing in the Informal Economy"
January 2012
Principal Investigators: Professors Susan J. Schurman and Adrienne E. Eaton
The purpose of this report is to review the existing literature on efforts throughout the globe by workers who labor outside the formal labor and employment relations policy framework of their country to form or join trade unions as well as unions’ efforts to organize and represent them. Details of our findings are contained in the full report.

"Gender Equality and Labor Movements: Toward A Global Perspective"
February 2012
By Dorothy Sue Cobble, Distinguished Professor
This report offers a critical review of the English-language research on gender equality and labor movements with an eye to highlighting theoretical insights and “best practice” case studies around the world most relevant to those engaged in building democratic, just, and humane societies. Where possible, I utilize case studies that illuminate developments in the Global South, including but not limited to Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Details are contained in the full report

"Trade Unions Organizing Workers 'Informalized From Above': Case Studies from Cambodia, Colombia, South Africa, and Tunisia"
January 2013
Principal Investigators: Professors Susan J. Schurman and Adrienne E. Eaton
This report is the second working paper from a five-year study aimed at documenting the effects of globalization on the nature of work and on labor and employment relations around the world. In particular the research seeks to describe efforts by trade unions to organize workers in the informal economy in order to provide these workers the benefits attached to formal employment. Details are contained in the full report

"Emergent Solidarities: Labor Movement Responses to Migrant Workers in the Dominican Republic and Jordan"
January 2013
By Professor Janice Fine 
This paper explores four questions: First, what are the main dynamics of labor migration and what are the main issues faced by migrant workers? Second, what is the process by which a labor movement becomes engaged with their state’s immigration policy regime and organizing immigrant workers? Third, what types of activities do unions undertake when they do become engaged?  Fourth, what factors account for a union federation or national union’s willingness to organize migrant workers both in terms of organizing and bringing them into membership as well as supporting more liberalized immigrant admissions or legalization policies? Details are contained in the full report.