Bernhard Ebbinghaus, Jelle Visser
European Labor and Transnational Solidarity: Challenges, Pathways, and Barriers

Arbeitsbereich I; 11
ISSN: 0948-0072

Organized labor in Europe faces the challenges of European political integration and global economic interdependence. National labor unions adopted alternative responses, ranging from adverse nationalist and opportunist international to solidaristic supranational strategies. The authors discuss the responses, pathways and barriers to transnational solidarity from both comparative and supranational perspectives. The paper reviews three pathways: 1) the market option: the promotion of transnational collective bargaining; 2) the hierarchy option (and problem): the formation of a European peak association and the hierarchical integration of transnational sector organizations; 3) the network option: the cross-border exchange of information by unionists and works councilors. However, these pathways have met several barriers deriving from the problems of cross-national diversiy and entrenched national labor relations. Moreover, the weak regulatory capacity of the European Union's social policy and the unwillingness of European employers to engage in transnational collective bargaining are further, external barriers to advancing the European Social Dimension.