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In Defense of Transnational Domestic Labor Regulation

Posted by on Thursday, July 5, 2012 in Articles, Vol. 43 No. 4, Volume 43, Volumes.

Transnational domestic labor regulation (TDLR) is unilateral regulation introduced by a government to influence labor practices in foreign jurisdictions.  TDLR has the potential to empower foreign workers and influence the balance of power in foreign industrial relations systems in ways that might lead to improved labor conditions.  Particularly interesting is the potential for TDLR to harness or steer private labor regulation—the many non-state sources of labor practice governance already active in shaping labor conditions within global supply chains.  However, whether governments should try to influence foreign labor practices at all is a controversial question.  This Article explores the arguments both for and against a unilateral legislative strategy that aims to improve working conditions in foreign countries.  While the Article ultimately supports this strategy, it concludes that the design of the model must have as its principal objective the empowerment of the foreign workers themselves.  TDLR that is poorly designed or loses sight of this objective can produce harmful results that leave the workers even worse off.

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