1st Edition

International Trade, Labor Relations, and Bargaining Power International Strawberry Commodity Networks

By Matthew M. Fischer-Daly Copyright 2023
    212 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    International Trade, Labor Relations, and Bargaining Power: International Strawberry Commodity Networks examines power in the commercial food system through the history of always available strawberries. Applying an interdisciplinary approach to case studies on strawberry production and sales in Mexico, Spain, and the United States, the author untangles the symbiotic relationships between the economic boom and labor strife in the sector. By comparing workers’ struggles in the sector, he develops a novel model of workplace bargaining power in which the process of dignity catalyzes change.

    Since international trade in strawberries began three decades ago, the sector’s growth has paralleled the rise of retailer dominance of food sales. Highlighting inequitable gains from the sales boom, workers have organized mass strikes, boycotts, and pressure campaigns. The divergent results ranged from ephemeral acknowledgments of workers’ concerns to the establishment of union collective bargaining and steadily improving working conditions.

    Grounded in extensive research, the book provides fresh analytical approaches to understanding the social dimensions of international trade and workplace bargaining power. The book unpacks the relationship between poor working conditions and economic growth by applying a new method, international commodity network analysis, which builds on prior global supply chain approaches. It explains differences in workers’ initiatives to improve employment conditions by identifying the process of dignity in the creation of solidarity.

    Chapter 1. On International Commodity Networks and Dignity: New Approaches to the Social Dimensions of International Trade and Bargaining Power

    Chapter 2. Dignity as Catalyst: Reorganizing Work in Strawberry Production in Washington, United States

    Chapter 3. Divided, Demobilized: Containment of an Uprising in Strawberry Production in San Quintín, Mexico

    Chapter 4. A Fragmented Labor Movement and Persistent Abuses in Strawberry Production in Huelva, Spain

    Chapter 5. The Construction of Walmart’s Power to Set Terms of Exchange in the Strawberry Sector

    Chapter 6. Why Poor Working Conditions Persist and Some Workers Transformed Labor Relations in the Strawberry Sector


    Matthew M. Fischer-Daly is an Assistant Research Professor, Center for Global Workers’ Rights, School of Labor and Employment Relations, The Pennsylvania State University.