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Labor and industrial trade unionism - institutional and social power in the context of the pandemic


Affected by the sophistication of labor flexibilization and control mechanisms, unions face perhaps the greatest challenge to their collective power in their history. This text intends to bring arguments to the debate on this “crisis of unionism”, from an analytical perspective (of “power resources”) that values efforts to re-signify practices of resistance, collectivism and solidarity, at the national and international level, and which sees in this pandemic context (2020 and 2021) an opportunity for the recomposition of its repertoires of collective action. (Alonso, 2012; Schmalz et al., 2018). The empirical reference is the metallurgical union experience of a Brazilian industrial sector with the predominance of transnational companies considering their ability to respond proactively to threats to their consolidated power over the last six decades in São Paulo’s ABC. The data used are based on seven recorded interviews (online), conducted in 2020 and 2021, with metallurgical union leaders and a survey, by the method of scraping data, of topics extracted from the newspaper Tribuna Metalúrgica of ABC Metalworkers Union.

work; union; pandemic; transnational corporations; political resistance

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