This paper aims to examine two different scales of trade union action, i.e. global and local, and to assess which of them is more relevant in counteracting the challenges brought up by the current fundamentally capitalist global economic structure. The question to be answered is: given the challenges facing trade unions in the 21st century, which scale or level, i.e. global or local, bears more salience or importance in terms of trade union strategies and engagements? The subsequent hypothesis entails no clear answer, but rather that the outcome of every endeavor depends on a “coterie of contingencies” (Herod, 2001: 407) and that sometimes local focused actions in strategic points of an MNC might prove more (or equally) suitable than trying to act on a bigger scale.
The article is divided into three main parts: first, a short description of the subject and the aim of the paper; second, an introduction to the state of the union movement in the 21st century, emphasizing some of the most important challenges brought up by globalization, followed by the classification of trade union action scales, providing a case-study for each of them in order to analyze the specific conditions of every situation and a couple of lessons and insights drawn from this analysis; and third, a short comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy level.
Mr Cristian Gogu holds an MA degree in Global Political Economy from the University of Kassel graduating with a dissertation on the Economic and Monetary Union and its role in the management of the financial crisis in Europe. He previously graduated from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest, with a thesis focused on the relationship between liberalism and democracy – the limits of the democratic decision. His academic activity is complemented by internships within the Permanent Mission of Romania to the UN and Academics Stand Against Poverty.