American Chicken Feet, Chinese Tires, and the Struggle for Labor Rights

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Journal Article
New Labor Forum, 2010, 19 (3), pp. 57 - 63
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When Barack Obama took office, some of China's official "America Watchers" openly worried that the U.S. would start hammering China over the question of labor rights. This has been a longstanding issue between the two countries. For many years, American unions have been critical of China for not honoring two of the core International Labor Organization (ILO) labor rights conventionsâfreedom of association and the freedom to collectively bargain. Some American trade unions persistently wanted to threaten China with trade sanctions. A worry among Chinese officials and their advisors was that the incoming Obama administration, being closer to American labor than the Bush administration had been, would threaten to wield this big stick.
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