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Abstract

The article scrutinizes the feasibility of trade unionism for migrant care workers. Based on a case study of one such attempt that took place in Israel, the article distinguishes between a trade union – in which workers represent their interests and negotiate with an employer to better their working conditions – and other associations in civil society, which extend help, advice and support for migrant works, such as workers' rights centers and community organizations. The article identifies the added value of trade unionism in the context of improving migrant care-work's working conditions and general well-being. This exploration requires to go back to the basic conceptions of workers' collective action and consider what is a “trade union” and how it can match the particular needs and constraints faced by migrant care workers. The article concludes by noting that despite the numerous problems involved in organizing migrant care workers, trade unions contribute to the establishment of industrial citizenship, forming political agency despite the vulnerabilities that are intrinsic to migration processes, gendered work and the occupation of care.