As a consequence of market-oriented reforms and historic shifts in governmentpolicy toward labor, the Mexican organized labor movement has declined substantially in size, bargaining strength, and political influence since the 1980s. Democratization has expanded workers' choices at the ballot box, and some unions have bolstered their position by forging alliances with counterparts in Canada and the United States. By analyzing the changes, continuities, and contradictions characterizing labor politics in Mexico, this book contributes to a broader assessment of organized labor's role in contemporary Latin America. Democratization has had remarkably little impact on the state-labor relations regimeinstitutionalized following the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920. This legal regimeboth underpins the position of unrepresentative union leaders and grants governmentofficials extensive controls over labor organizations. The combination of weakenedunions, unaccountable leaders, and strong government controls fundamentally constrainsworkers' capacity to defend their interests.
This state of affairs - especially the failure to enact progressive labor law reform since democratic regime change in 2000 - limits democracy and imposes heavy costs on society as a whole.
Graciela Bensusan is a research professor at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco in Mexico City and professor (part-time) at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales-Mexico. Kevin J. Middlebrook is professor of politics at the Institute for the Study of the Americas (School of Advanced Study), University of London.
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