Mundlak, Guy. “Organizing Workers in ‘Hybrid Systems’: Comparing Trade Union Strategies in Four Countries — Austria, Germany, Israel and the Netherlands.” Theoretical Inquiries in Law 17 (2016): 163-200.
The freedom and right to associate carries distinct meanings in different systems of industrial relations, giving rise to distinct institutions. Where bargaining is based on grassroots association, rates of membership in trade unions and coverage of collective agreements are low. Where bargaining is actively endorsed by the state, high rates of membership are matched by considerable coverage. Over the last two decades, some countries, four of which are studied here, have gone through a process that I designate as hybridization, in which a gap emerges between a rapidly declining rate of membership and persistent relatively high level of coverage. The article accounts for the growing gap between coverage and membership and its implications. On the basis of extensive interviews with trade union officials, organizers, works councils’ members, Labor Chamber representatives, academics and journalists in the four countries, the article further seeks to document and explain new organizing practices at two levels. First, why do unions seeks to organize, despite persistent power accorded to collective agreements by the state? Second, which strategies are used for current recruitment and organizing practices? The discussion highlights the ongoing tension that is folded in the meeting of institutions that are aimed at sustaining the centralized system of bargaining and social partnership, with the dynamics that are characteristic of raising membership levels. Some best practices that seek to address this tension are identified, but are also characterized as difficult to emulate and extend as a general practice.
In late 2010, the ‘European Freedom Alliance’, a group of four European politicians from populist radical right parties: Heinz-Christian Strache, Chairman of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ); Filip Dewinter, a senior leader in Belgium’s Vlaams Belang (VB); René Stadtkewitz, founder of Germany’s Die Freiheit; and Kent Ekeroth, the International Secretary for the Sweden Democrats (SD), travelled to Israel and the West Bank. Their trip culminated in the signing of the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’, a document conveying their staunch support for Israel and its right to defend itself against ‘Islamic aggression’. The author analyses key interviews and the Declaration to demonstrate how the event is indicative of a reformed and realigned populist radical Right. Open anti-Semitism, he argues, has been replaced by calls to prevent Islam’s supposed contamination of the nation’s cultural heritage and new positions are being adopted on post-national cooperation and European identity. Also, wider transformations in Western European politics have resulted in the populist radical Right increasingly framing the electorate’s insecurities as evidence of the cultural erosion of the nation state. Through comparing the experiences of Israelis with those of non-Muslims living in Europe, the Alliance argues for the need to toughen Europe’s defence against a common enemy.