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Open AccessArticle

Trade Unions in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: What Shapes Their Participation?

1
Centre for EU-Studies, Ghent University, Universiteitstraat 8, 9000 Gent, Belgium
2
Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4295; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114295
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development)
There is a growing concern about the extent to which multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), designed to improve social and environmental sustainability in global supply chains, give a meaningful voice to less powerful stakeholders. Trade unions are one particular civil society group whose participation in MSIs has received little scholarly attention so far. The objective of this paper is to examine the determinants that enable and constrain trade union participation in MSIs. Based on interviews, focus groups, observations and document analysis we determine local trade union participation in three MSIs, operating at company, national and transnational level respectively, in the Costa Rican pineapple industry. To explain the limited encountered trade union participation, an analytical framework is developed combining structural and agency dimensions, namely the MSI design and trade union’s power resources. The findings show shortcomings in the representativeness, procedural fairness and consensual orientation in the design and implementation of the MSIs. These are, however, not sufficient to explain weak trade union participation as trade union power resources also have an influence. Strong network embeddedness and improved infrastructural resources had a positive effect, whereas the lack of internal solidarity and unfavourable narrative resources constrained the unions’ participation. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-stakeholder initiatives; participation; trade unions; power resources; Costa Rica; pineapple multi-stakeholder initiatives; participation; trade unions; power resources; Costa Rica; pineapple
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martens, D.; Gansemans, A.; Orbie, J.; D'Haese, M. Trade Unions in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: What Shapes Their Participation? Sustainability 2018, 10, 4295. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114295

AMA Style

Martens D, Gansemans A, Orbie J, D'Haese M. Trade Unions in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: What Shapes Their Participation? Sustainability. 2018; 10(11):4295. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114295

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martens, Deborah; Gansemans, Annelien; Orbie, Jan; D'Haese, Marijke. 2018. "Trade Unions in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: What Shapes Their Participation?" Sustainability 10, no. 11: 4295. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114295

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