Tanya Basok


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The Intersections of the Economic and Cultural in the U.S. Labor’s Pro-Migrant Politics

The article analyzes recent pro-migrant advocacy by U.S. labor organizations. In line with theorists such as Iris Young, Nancy Fraser, and others, who argue that both economic and cultural dimensions are present in most social justice struggles, this article analyzes labor’s pro-migrant activism in the U.S. as a reflection of specific economic class interests (such as the need to recruit new members and preclude the deterioration of national labor standards) and an expression of cultural values (such as commitment to values of social unionism and recognition of diversity within the labor force), identities, and sentiments linked to these identities. In emphasizing the economic and the cultural dimensions of labor’s pro-migrant activism, the article fills the gap in the scholarship that has focused predominantly on economic reasons behind the interest of unions in the fate of migrant workers.

migration, labor identity, ethnicity, work, trade unions, North America

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 35, No. 4 (2008): 12-32