An Enduring Dilemma: Immigration and Organized Labor in Western Europe and the United States

Janice Fine and Daniel J. Tichenor

in Oxford Handbook of the Politics of International Migration

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780195337228
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 An Enduring Dilemma: Immigration and Organized Labor in Western Europe and the United States

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This article compares Fine and Tichenor's research on the United States to scholarly treatments of labor movements in the European Union and uses these accounts to examine the ways that shifting labor market structures, immigration flows, national attitudes toward specific immigrant groups, and the disposition of the state toward unions have contributed to the positions on immigration adopted by national labor movements. It begins with a brief historical and policy overview highlighting the dilemmas that labor immigration has posed for labor movements in Western Europe and the United States. The next section provides a summary of the major immigration policy debates and labor's policy stances in the post-World War II period in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and discusses the most important factors that seem to have influenced labor's evolving stance in each country. Although labor movements in each of the three countries have their own unique historical dynamics, all follow a similar arc of early hostility to migration, emergence of internal divisions, and important reversals on key policy questions that eventually lead to pro-immigration positions.

Keywords: labor movements; labor market; immigration policy; labor policy; Fine; Tichenor

Article.  19583 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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