Collective mobility power: Grassroots unionism in the Italian meat-processing sector

Author/s Valeria Piro
Publishing Year 2024 Issue 2023/167 Language English
Pages 22 P. 141-162 File size 255 KB
DOI 10.3280/SL2023-167007
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In the last decade, several sectors of the Italian labour market have witnessed a rise in conflictual union activities carried out mostly by subcontracted migrant workers. Taking two grassroots unions in the North Italian meat processing sector as case studies (SICobas and ADLCobas), this paper investigates why and how migrant workers organise themselves through rank-and-file unions. In particular, the paper aims at understanding whether and how migrant workers’ mobility power interplays with and influences their associational power, shedding light on the nexus between labour mobility and its mobilisation. After illustrating how grassroots unions develop in the Italian context, the paper analyses how migrant workers enhance their mobility power through rank-and-file unions and how these unions, in turn, utilise members’ mobility as a resource to broaden their organisations. In conclusion, the paper argues that the presence of a highly mobile labour force does not weaken and could even strengthen mobilisations. Consequently, mobility power can be conceptualised not only as an individual strategy but also as a collective resource.

Keywords: Mobility power, grassroots unions, meat processing industry, COBAS unions.

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Valeria Piro, Collective mobility power: Grassroots unionism in the Italian meat-processing sector in "SOCIOLOGIA DEL LAVORO " 167/2023, pp 141-162, DOI: 10.3280/SL2023-167007