From Employment Relations to Consumption Relations: Balancing Labor Governance in Global Supply Chains

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Abstract

Global supply chains are part of the corporate strategy of many multinational companies, often with adverse effects on labor conditions. While employment relations scholars focus on a production-oriented paradigm, revolving around interactions among employers, workers, and government, much of the activism motivating the development of private labor standards is based around companies' relations with their consumers. This article proposes an analytical framework conceptualizing the interface of employment relations and consumption relations within global supply chains, identifying four regimes of labor governance: governance gaps, collective bargaining, standards markets, and complementary regimes. Finally, we suggest a research agenda for examining the role of consumption relations in the changing nature of global labor governance. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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