Negotiating Agency and Structure: Trade Union Organizing Strategies in a Hostile Environment

CEU Community + Invited Guests
Nador u. 11
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 2:00pm
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm

In the next CPS in-house seminar CPS Research Fellow Dragos Adascalitei will present the paper 'Negotiating Agency and Structure: Trade Union Organizing Strategies in a Hostile Environment', co-authored with Stefan Guga (CEU Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology).


In this article the authors investigate a case of successful union organizing in one automotive plant in Romania. They argue that in order to be able to explain why the union succeeds in defending workers' rights it's needed to be considered both the structural and the agency dimensions that condition labor's capacity to effectively organize. In this respect, they depart from traditional studies of post-communist labor that pay too much attention to either structural- or agency-level variables. Given the state's hostility towards social partnership in Romania, union organizing is generally limited to plant level action. At this level, unions can still organize and do so effectively when they adopt an adversarial stance towards management. The authors find that the trade union at the Dacia plant in Romania has made use of a diverse repertoire of protest activities in order to push for its demands. While striking proved to be a winning strategy for the union in the recent years, it's also found that it is a strategy that is used less and less because of the shifting economic and political environment in which the plant and the union are embedded.