Worker rights protection in Mexico's Silicon Valley : confronting low-road labor practices in high-tech manufacturing through antagonistic collaboration
Author(s)Salazar Salame, Héctor
Confronting low-road labor practices in high-tech manufacturing through antagonistic collaboration
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Front and center against a backdrop of globalization and the ensuing outsourcing of manufacturing activities to low-income countries, has been a growing interest from scholars regarding the protection of labor rights and the means for improving labor conditions in the developing world. In the past half-decade, scholars have paid greater attention to these issues in the electronics manufacturing industry, particularly in response to recent publications highlighting its onerous working conditions around the globe. Yet, research regarding how specific actors contribute to improving working conditions in this sector remains largely absent. This thesis contributes to these scholarly discussions by analyzing the work of a local NGO, the Centro de Refleccidn y Accidn Laboral (CEREAL-GDL), which has been working to improve working conditions in the electronics manufacturing cluster known as Mexico's Silicon Valley located in Guadalajara for over a decade. Specifically, this thesis analyzes how the organization has evolved its activities over time and the local and international relationships it has developed to protect worker labor rights and promote working condition improvements in this sector. This thesis argues that the organization does not fold neatly into the molds within which scholars typically place and analyze the efforts of developing-country labor rights NGOs. These molds include participation in transnational advocacy and the monitoring of private codes of conduct (COC). While notably CEREAL-GDL was an indirect, yet central, actor in the birth of transnational advocacy related to the global electronics industry, which consequently led to global electronics industry firms establishing the first industry-wide COC, its efforts are not limited to participating in transnational advocacy or related to direct monitoring of firm adherence to the COC. Moreover, in addition to confrontational strategies such as organizing workers, CEREAL-GDL participates in an institutionalized direct dialogue and labor violations remediation process developed through antagonistic collaboration with electronics firms in Guadalajara. Ultimately, by analyzing the organization's activities and the interrelated web of actors and the context in which it operates, this thesis explores how and why there have been some working condition improvements, and whether the forged relationships among actors in Mexico's Silicon Valley may lead to future improvements, and, if so, how.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 101-109).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.