Labor Unions and CSR

Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 19:229-235 (2008)
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This paper aims to take stock of the emerging international literature on the role of labor unions in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Where unions are discussed in the North American CSR literature at all, authors see them as foregrounding membership benefits over wider societal interests and hence contributing to systematic environmental degradation. In Europe, the managerialdiscretion of CSR clashes with the more regulated frameworks for employees and labor unions to influence corporate decision-making. Hence many European unions express a considerable degree of skepticism of CSR. On the international scene, companies have become increasingly sensitive to how their labor management activities are perceived by the wider society, yet they may nevertheless continue with even highly controversial labor policies if they do not see a business case for changing these. In other words, CSR commitments by themselves would not seem to be sufficiently powerful to bring about systematic change in the management of labor.



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