38 Comp. Lab. L. & Pol'y J. 187 (2016-2017)
The State, the Unions, and Collective Bargaining in China: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

handle is hein.journals/cllpj38 and id is 227 raw text is: 









   THE STATE, THE UNIONS, AND COLLECTIVE
   BARGAINING IN CHINA: THE GOOD, THE BAD,
                          AND THE UGLY


                   Mingwei  Liut  and Sarosh Kuruvillatt

                            I.      INTRODUCTION

     Observers  paint a  variegated picture of Chinese   trade unions. Most
foreign observers are deeply skeptical that the All-China Federation of Trade
Unions  (ACFTU)   can play a reasonable role in worker representation as long
as they are subordinate to the Party and there is a lack of the genuine freedom
of association that allows workers to choose who represent them.' Empirical
support for these views  can be found  in numerous  reports that the Chinese
trade unions  are usually more pro-management than pro-worker, based on
their actions in numerous  labor-management conflicts such as the widely
reported strike at a Honda parts factory in Foshan  in 2010 and  the 40,000-
worker  strike at Yue Yeun (the largest footwear contract manufacturer in the
world) in Dongguan   in 2014.2
     An  alternative (and emerging) view is more positive. A few scholars see
the potential of  ACFTU transformation within a communist Party-state
framework.3  Empirical  support for these views  can be found  in illustrative



     t Associate Professor, Rutgers University.
     tt Professor of Industrial Relations, Asian Studies and Public Affairs, Cornell University.
     1. E.g., ELI FRIEDMAN, INSURGENCY TRAP: LABOR POLITICS IN POSTSOCIALIST CHINA (2014);
MARY E. GALLAGHER, CONTAGIOUS CAPITALISM: GLOBALIZATION AND THE POLITICS OF LABOR IN
CHINA (2005); CHING K. LEE, AGAINST THE LAW: LABOR PROTESTS IN CHINA'S RUSTBELT AND SUNBELT
(2007).
    2. See, e.g., Keith Bradsher & David Barboza, Strike in China Highlights Gap in Workers Pay,
N.Y. TIMES, May 28, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/business/global/29honda.html?_r-0.
See, e.g., Demetri Sevastopulo, China Charges Labor Activist after Yue Yuen Shoe Factory Strike, FIN.
TIMES, Apr. 29, 2014, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8242a8d2-cf92-11e3-9b2b-00144feabdcO.html#ax
zz4BIR5bmw3.
    3. See, e.g., Simon Clarke & Tim Pringle, Can Party-Led Trade Unions Represent Their
Members?, 21 POST-COMMUNIST ECON. 85 (2009); Mingwei Liu, Union Organizing in China: Still a
Monolithic Labor Movement?, 64 INDUS. & LAB. REL. REV. 30 (2010); Mingwei Liu, Chunyun Li &
Sunghoon Kim, Chinese Trade Unions in Transition: A Three-Level Analysis, in CHINA'S CHANGING
WORKPLACE: DYNAMISM, DIVERSITY AND DISPARITY 277 (Peter Shelton et al. eds., 2011); TIM PRINGLE,
TRADE UNIONS IN CHINA: THE CHALLENGE OF LABOR UNREST (2011); Chang-Hee Lee, William Brown
& Xiaoyi Wen, What Sort of Collective Bargaining Is Emerging in China?, 54 BRIT. J. INDUS. REL. 214
(2016); Chunyun Li & Mingwei Liu, A Pathway to a Vital Labor Movement in China? A Case Study of a


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