In this comprehensive study of current labour relations worldwide, Kim Moody surveys both sides of the picket lines. He provides a measured assessment of multinational managements’ strategies to downsize, introduce flexible production and compel workers to accept less pay for more work. He emphasizes the need, in the face of these changes, for renewal and international coordination among national unions and provides examples, from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, of how this has been achieved.
A bracing riposte to the conventional wisdom concerning the irresistible power of globalization, Workers in a Lean World is a definitive account of contemporary labor relations on a global scale.
In an article for Counterfire, Kim Moody writes that the recent waves of worker demonstrations across the Midwest are ‘putting new ideas about class politics and power on the trade union agenda.’ Charting the emergence of a revitalised union movement in reaction to fresh union-busting legislation being put forward by newly-elected Republican governors, Moody argues that:
The laws were put forth by recently elected Republican governors in those and other states designed to destroy the power of public worker unions. The attack on public sector workers, often focused on teachers, is long standing, sponsored by big business and embraced by many Democrats as well as Republicans, from the Whitehouse to state legislatures and town halls across the country. The recent Great Recession provided a further opportunity for state governments facing growing deficits to propose the final coup de grace to public worker rights. The first sign of worker resistance came on Monday, 14th February when some 400 Minnesota union members filled the hearing rooms of the state legislature to oppose a bill that would undermine union security and cut wages by 15 percent.