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Article

The Double Standard at Work: European Corporate Investment and Workers' Rights in the American South

20 October 2019

Multinational corporations based in Europe have accelerated their foreign direct investment in the Southern states of the United States in the past quarter-century...

This report examines European companies’ choices on workers’ organizing rights with documented case studies in several American Southern states. In their home countries, European companies investing in the American South generally respect workers’ organizing and bargaining rights... But they do not always live up to these global standards in their Southern U.S. operations.

In the United States [...] labor law gives management a free hand to launch aggressive anti-union campaigns when workers try to form unions...

Flaws in U.S. labor law and practice are even more acute in the American South than in other regions...

European companies’ campaigns against workers’ freedom of association in the Southern United States have wider implications and effects beyond whether employees succeed in forming trade unions. When they apply harsh anti-union strategies and tactics, European firms often argue that they simply are following advice from local business leaders and elected officials to adapt to the corporate customs and culture of the American South...

European firms’ respecting workers’ freedom of association could be a driving force for far-reaching change in the American South...

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