thema: Transnationale Konzer ne und Menschenrechte
Strategic Campaigning in Multinational Companies: The Case of United Parcel Service (UPS) in Turkey
Molly Elizabeth McGrath / Demet Sahende Dinler ¸
For Gerhard Eggers1 Introduction ˙ On 24th January 2011, TÜMTIS, a Turkish trade union in the transport sector signed a protocol with the global logistics company, UPS. The protocol reinstated the majority of the 163 workers who were fired for joining the union during the UPS organizing ˙ campaign and guaranteed that TÜMTIS could freely continue its organizing activities at UPS workplaces. The protocol was the culmination of a nine-month-long campaign of struggle and negotiation between the company and union. International Transport ˙ Workers’ Federation (ITF), which partnered with TÜMTIS in the global campaign, celebrated the achievement as giving the “three-year global delivery campaign in Turkey a huge boost towards sound industrial relations in the future.”2 In a globalised world, organising multinational companies poses real challenges for national trade unions, with complexity of decision-making structures, hostility to union activity, flexibility of labour force, use of subcontractors and mobility of capital. Yet, it brings new opportunities for unions that strive to grow and cooperate globally with ˙ other unions in improving workers’ conditions. This paper investigates how TÜMTIS and the ITF responded jointly to those challenges and utilized several opportunities in the UPS campaign. In the first part, it examines the use of locally available legal instruments; the second part is devoted to the analysis of strategic toolkit mobilized by the ITF after the internationalization of the local dispute. The period covered is the first ‘strategic campaign’ phase, from August 2010 to February 2011, rather than second ‘organising’ phase.
We would like to dedicate this piece to the memory of Gerhard Eggers, who was a