Union Responsibility to Migrant Workers: A Global Justice Approach

TitleUnion Responsibility to Migrant Workers: A Global Justice Approach
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsAlbin, Einat
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
Pagination133 - 153
Date Published2014///
Keywordsglobal justice, globalization, Laval, migrant workers, trade unions, Viking, work migration

At a time when trade union activity is becoming more global, the article provides a theoretical framework that places a moral obligation on unions towards work migrants from the time they take a first step in the direction of movement, and continuing after they enter the receiving country and throughout the period of their work. The argument is based on theories of global justice and offers a three-axis framework that enables a complex analysis of union responsibility: direct and political responsibility, labor connectedness and solidarity. The moral obligation of unions stemming from global justice differs from the citizenship-based model or that of human rights. Its basis is global. Such an obligation should be recognized by various institutions, including the courts, thereby adding a global dimension to rights relating to collective action, such as the right to unionize, the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike. The article analyses the ECJ’s decisions in the Viking and Laval cases, showing how the court failed to recognize this global dimension, and claiming that if such recognition were to be extended, a more accurate balance could be achieved between rights relating to collective action and economic interests in an era of globalization.