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Labour Law in an Era of GlobalizationTransformative Practices and Possibilities$
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Joanne Conaghan, Richard Michael Fischl, and Karl Klare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199271818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199271818.001.0001

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Difference and Solidarity: Unions in a Postmodern Age

Difference and Solidarity: Unions in a Postmodern Age

(p.429) 22 Difference and Solidarity: Unions in a Postmodern Age
Labour Law in an Era of Globalization

Michael Selmi

Molly S. McUsic

Oxford University Press

This chapter negotiates a path between the apparently conflicting pulls of difference and solidarity. Its concept of ‘cosmopolitan unionism’ locates unity in the recognition of difference and in mutual respect for and empathy with those who are different but with whom one shares a common bond as workers. Although the shift to identity and away from solidarity has valuably highlighted the exclusionary practices of US unions in the past, at the same time, a model that emphasizes differences and suppresses commonalities is unlikely to lead to greater workplace power or equality. Currently, there is too much emphasis on ‘us’ and ‘them’, too much emphasis on difference, and too little focus on potential commonalities among workers.

Keywords:   cosmopolitan unionism, universal worker, USA, collective bargaining, labour unions

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