Exit, Voice, and Solidarity in the Digital Economy
- Date: May 18, 2022
- Time: 05:00 PM
- Speaker: Virginia Doellgast
- Cornell University, ILR School
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While national economies may rely on different growth models, they are all going through a similar “digital transformation.” Telecommunications and IT firms are at the forefront of these developments – responsible for building and servicing networks and data storage infrastructure; and developing and selling new AI- and cloud-based tools to businesses. This talk will look at how labor unions are influencing the strategies of telecom and IT firms in this growing industry, based on case studies in the US and Europe. Unions have shaped strategic choices through campaigns or actions in three areas: first, by influencing state policies in service market regulation, data protection, and infrastructure investments; second, by negotiating at firm and workplace level over adoption and use of new technologies; third, by establishing solidaristic bargaining structures that limit technologically enabled opportunities to segment work. All three can be seen as complementary in establishing the conditions for the social regulation of new digitally enabled markets – by limiting employer exit, supporting collective worker voice, and encouraging inclusive labor solidarity. This talk draws on current research projects and Virginia Doellgast’s forthcoming book, Exit, Voice, and Solidarity: Contesting Precarity in the US and European Telecommunications Industry (OUP 2022).Virginia Doellgast is Professor of Comparative Employment Relations in the ILR School at Cornell University and a Senior Research Fellow at the Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut of the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung. She is currently a visiting researcher at Freie Universität Berlin, where she is studying the politics of technological change and “just transitions” in the ICT services, telecommunications, and auto industries.