Spillover Effects Across Transnational Industrial Relations Agreements: The Potential and Limits of Collective Action in Global Supply Chains

Sarah Ashwin, Chikako Oka, Elke Schüßler, Rachel Alexander, Nora Lohmeyer

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Using qualitative data comprising interviews with multiple respondents in 45 garment brands and retailers, and unions and other stakeholders, the authors analyze the emergence of the Action Collaboration Transformation (ACT) living wages initiative, asking how the interfirm coordination and firm-union cooperation demanded by a multifirm transnational industrial relations agreement (TIRA) developed. Synthesizing insights from the industrial relations and private governance literatures along with recent collective action theory, they identify a new pathway for the emergence of multi-firm TIRAs based on common group understandings, positive experiences of interaction and trust. The central finding is that existing union-inclusive governance initiatives provided a platform from which spillover effects developed, facilitating the formation of new TIRAs. The authors contribute a new mapping of labor governance approaches on the dimensions of inter-firm coordination and labor inclusiveness, foregrounding socialization dynamics as a basis for collective action, and problematizing the limited scalability of this mode of institutional emergence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Early online date21 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2020

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