Binational guestworker unions: moving guestworkers into the house of labor

In the mid-1990s, Francisco Hernandez Juarez, head of the Mexican telephone workers’ union, proposed the establishment of “an International Union for Migrant Workers.” (1) This idea never came to fruition, but the recent success of three unions in organizing groups of agricultural guestworkers (2) again raises the question of how unions might best represent workers who cross borders for employment.

Agricultural guestworkers are temporary employees hired in their home country who travel to the host country to work for a limited period of time. Under U.S. and Canadian immigration laws, agricultural guestworkers are intended to fill positions when a shortage of domestic workers exists. (3) Each country’s guestworker program includes provisions that make guestworkers more expensive to hire than workers already in the host country; the goal is to ensure that domestic workers and labor standards are not undermined.

Binational guestworker unions: moving guestworkers into the house of labor | Fordham Urban Law Journal | Find Articles at BNET

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