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Retrieving the Missing Transmission Belt in Community-Based Small Workplaces? The “Professional Union Leader and Organizer Program” in China

Youqing Fan

A chapter in International Perspectives on Participation, 2014, vol. 15, pp 51-72 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract This paper assesses to what extent the workplace union power has been built under the Professional Union Leader and Organizer Program (PULOP) in China in the local community-based private workplaces. Data obtained from in-depth interviews with union leaders, rank-and-file members, and data from documentary sources are deployed. Findings show that, for the purpose of stabilizing labor-management relations in these community-based workplaces, the PULOP attempts to reinforce implementation of existing labor law and regulations regarding wages and working conditions by organizing community-based private employers. However, without workers’ support from the bottom up, the power of the newly established workplace union associations are rather precarious. The PULOP union leaders are still distant to the organized workplaces and to the workers at these workplaces; and the organized employers are still reluctant or even hostile towards PULOP activities. The paper, therefore, concludes by drawing out the implications of the finding that, without genuine worker participation in union formation and operation processes, the administrative power held by the union bureaucracies cannot be effectively translated into workplace union power via the PULOP initiative.

Keywords: China; worker; union; participation; workplace; representation; J51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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