The Squeaky Wheel’s Dilemma: New Forms of Labor Organizing in the Philippines


McKay, Steven C. 2006. “The Squeaky Wheel’s Dilemma: New Forms of Labor Organizing in the Philippines.” Labor Studies Journal 30 (4): 41–63.

Author: Steven C. McKay


The paper details innovative strategies of local labor organizers to unionize workers under the hostile conditions surrounding export processing zones. The case study from the Philippines outlines a comprehensive, scalar strategy with an analysis of four key elements: first, the local political context; second, community-based organizing attentive to gender and justice issues; third, the adoption of multiple organizational forms; and fourth, the strategic extension of network ties to multiple geographic scales. Through a comparison with campaigns in other export processing zones, the study suggests that the most effective strategy for protecting labor rights combines social movement unionism with strategic international solidarity that supports core local efforts to organize. 

Topics: Gender, Justice, Political Economies, Political Participation, Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Philippines

Year: 2006

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