Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Hans Gunter

First Page



The present article explores the effects of the operations and growth of multinational enterprises (MNEs) on power, role, and legitimation of the trade unions within the national industrial relations systems in the industrialized countries of Western Europe and North America. This study neglects the effects of MNEs on international union cooperation and labor solidarity, which are dealt with in other contributions to this issue. This focus reflects the author's thesis that the main trade union concern and strategy in the countries in question is the integration of MNEs into the existing national industrial relations setting, while the development of border-crossing, "transnational" relations with these enterprises is a much weaker trend. Most of the activities of international union organizations vis-a-vis MNEs are geared toward the integration of these enterprises into the environment of the nation-state and the strengthening of local union counterparts (a second best solution to the more difficult transnational union strategies).