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Evaluating the Strategic Reaction of Labor Union Movement toward Labor Reforms: The Two National Centers' Reaction toward Park, Guen-Hye Government's Labor Market Restructuring

  • Korea Social Policy Review
  • Abbr : KSPR
  • 2016, 23(1), pp.1-23
  • DOI : 10.17000/kspr.23.1.201603.1
  • Publisher : Korean Association of Social Policy
  • Research Area : Social Science > Sociology > Medical / Welfare / Social policy
  • Published : March 31, 2016

Lee Byoung-Hoon 1

1중앙대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study evaluates the strategic capacity of Korean labor union movement by examining policy alternatives and strategic steps that the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions have shown in response to Park Geun-Hye government's labor market structuring policies. While the government-led labor reform was carried out as intended, organized labor has not simply failed to achieve progressive labor reforms to enhance employment security, but also to exert their strategic capacity effectively for preventing Park's labor market flexibilization policies. The two national centers have not been able to exert their strategic capacity (such as intermediating, framing, articulating, learning) for mobilizing the resources of internal solidarity, network embeddedness, narrative discourse, and organizational infrastructure. In particular, the formation and diffusion of public discourse is a significant part of strategic capacity of labor unions dealing with the labor politics of labor market restructuring, since organized labor, which is under the unfavorable constraints of limited movement resources and power imbalance with the business circle, needs to mobilize massive support and participation from union members and civil society organizations. In this light, it becomes of more importance for labor union movement to exert their strategic capacity toward internal solidarity and network embeddedness in the stage of labor market reforms. Under the recent stage of labor reforms, however, the labor unions has not harnessed their movement resources effectively, but undertaken their protest in a traditional manner, thereby losing its public efficacy from inside and outside. Moreover, it is necessary to build and activate the network of organic solidarity among organized labor, civil society organizations and progressive political parties, in order to cope with the pro-business coalition of power elites for accomplishing pro-labor reforms.

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