Labored Relations: Corporate Citizenship, Labor Unions, and Freedom of Association

Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (3):473-500 (2012)
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ABSTRACT:Globalization has brought increased attention to the notion that labor rights such asfreedom of association—the right of workers to organize a union—are fundamental human rights. However, the vigorous opposition to freedom of association by US firms is largely ignored in the business ethics literature and exacerbated by compensatory corporate citizenship rating mechanisms that tend to mask labor rights deficiencies. I argue that because freedom of association is a hypernorm, instrumental to fully realizing basic human rights, labor rights and human rights are largely inseparable. Thus, respect for labor rights is a non-substitutable requisite of corporate citizenship. I conclude by providing examples of corporate labor relations strategies that respect freedom of association and business firms that are leading the way.



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Cedric Dawkins
Dalhousie University

References found in this work

The Politics of Stakeholder Theory.R. Edward Freeman - 1994 - Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):409-421.
Natural Law and Natural Rights.Richard Tuck - 1981 - Philosophical Quarterly 31 (124):282-284.

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