The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Scott Walther


Globalization has allowed large multinational corporations to shop for low cost labor markets with little intervention by governments. These markets are attractive to multinational corporations because their labor standards and laws tend to be poorly regulated and enforced. Specifically, China’s labor class has been abused and exploited by multinational corporations because of the country’s failure to adequately enforce its labor laws. Turning a blind eye to the violations of workers’ rights in China makes these corporations just as culpable by demanding more from the local manufacturers then evading responsibility for the resulting working conditions. Because multinational corporations do business with these habitual violators of labor laws, they share in the responsibility to make sure business is being run in accordance to all laws. These corporations should engage in educating Chinese workers about the Chinese Labor Contract Law (LCL). Educating workers on their rights under the LCL would empower them with the needed knowledge to fight for the benefits and wages they are entitled to receive. This could be achieved by consolidating the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) within the national and provincial federations instead of delegating all policymaking and implementing to the various local trade federations. These corporations must engage in corporate social responsibility by educating the Chinese workforce of the rights they are entitled to under the LCL. If the Chinese government continues to delegate the enforcement of its LCL, then it must ensure that local labor representatives represent the interests of the workers, which they are legally mandated to do. Finally, if the ACFTU continues to be an inefficient trade union, then the Chinese government must engage in either reforming the ACFTU or allow workers to create independent labor trade unions to adequately represent the workers in negotiations with their employers.

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The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

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St. Mary's University School of Law