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Portable Labour Rights for Migrant Workers in North America

According to 2017 UN figures, there are 258 million international migrants and 750 million internal migrants worldwide. Many international immigrants face precarious working conditions and limited labor rights. Immigrants with low levels of education and limited language skills in countries of reception are frequently subject to low-wage positions with flexible arrangements and are forced to join a global “precariat” workforce that is hirable and available on demand, highly exploitable, and easily firable.

The goal of this project is to analyze current advocacy practices of transnational civil society organizations interested in advancing a portable labor rights framework and how these practices are constituted at different scales, ranging from the local to the transnational. This research addresses multiple strategies that these organizations pursue to expand their influence across borders and questions the meaning of associating effective communicative power with discursive spaces that do not necessarily correlate with sovereign states.

Xóchitl Bada is an associate professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her articles have appeared in Forced Migration Review, Population, Space, and Place, Latino Studies, and Labor Studies Journal.



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