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Labor rights in East Asia: progress or regress?

This article examines the impact of recent economic and political change on collective and individual labor rights Labor rights or workers' rights are a group of legal rights and claimed human rights having to do with labor relations between workers and their employers, usually obtained under labor and employment law.  in East Asia East Asia

A region of Asia coextensive with the Far East.

East Asian adj. & n.
. Deploying a new index for measuring de jure [Latin, In law.] Legitimate; lawful, as a Matter of Law. Having complied with all the requirements imposed by law.

De jure is commonly paired with de facto, which means "in fact.
 and de facto [Latin, In fact.] In fact, in deed, actually.

This phrase is used to characterize an officer, a government, a past action, or a state of affairs that must be accepted for all practical purposes, but is illegal or illegitimate.
 labor rights, the article presents new comparative data on labor rights in the region. Democratization de·moc·ra·tize  
tr.v. de·moc·ra·tized, de·moc·ra·tiz·ing, de·moc·ra·tiz·es
To make democratic.

 has produced stronger collective labor rights in much of the region, but labor laws labor law, legislation dealing with human beings in their capacity as workers or wage earners. The Industrial Revolution, by introducing the machine and factory production, greatly expanded the class of workers dependent on wages as their source of income.  in most countries still fall far short of international labor standards. East Asia's labor laws offer similar levels of protection for individual labor rights to the rest of the world when firing costs are taken into account, and low regional averages are primarily an effect of Singapore's extremely weak individual labor rights. Few countries have revised their labor laws in the direction of greater labor market labor market A place where labor is exchanged for wages; an LM is defined by geography, education and technical expertise, occupation, licensure or certification requirements, and job experience  flexibility. However, the distance between law and practice is wide, so improvements in laws are not necessarily reflected on the ground. Flexibility enters through the back door of ineffective labor law enforcement, which in turn has affected the organizing efforts of unions.

KEYWORDS: labor rights, trade unions, East Asia, Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, region of Asia (1990 est. pop. 442,500,000), c.1,740,000 sq mi (4,506,600 sq km), bounded roughly by the Indian subcontinent on the west, China on the north, and the Pacific Ocean on the east. , labor market flexibility, labor law, freedom of association, collective bargaining collective bargaining, in labor relations, procedure whereby an employer or employers agree to discuss the conditions of work by bargaining with representatives of the employees, usually a labor union. , right to strike

For much of the postwar post·war  
Belonging to the period after a war: postwar resettlement; a postwar house.


occurring or existing after a war

Adj. 1.
 era, many of the fastest growing economies of the world were in East Asia. "Beneath the miracle" of East Asia's stunning growth hid the ugly fact of severe labor rights violations (Caraway caraway, biennial Old World plant (Carum carvi) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), cultivated in Europe and North America for its aromatic seeds.  2006a; Deyo 1987, 1989; Hadiz 1997; Rasiah and von Hofmann 1998). Since the late 1980s, however, democratization has opened political space for unions in some countries, and labor law reforms in others have strengthened the collective rights of workers. Yet the Asian financial crisis also gave the international financial institutions and employers an exceptional opportunity to roll back labor back labor Obstetrics A popular term for the location–ie, the lower back, of pain and discomfort due to uterine contractions, which most commonly occurs with posterior presentation. See Labor.  laws that partially shielded workers from market turmoil.

Unfortunately, the impact of these disparate pressures on labor rights in the region has not been fully explored because of the absence of data. In this article, I present data on both collective and individual labor rights that will allow scholars to draw better conclusions about labor rights in the region. (1) Most cross-national datasets that include Asia focus on one or the other; consequently, we have only partial views of how contemporary economic and political forces are affecting labor rights. (2) Collective labor law concerns the regulation of union formation, collective bargaining, and the right to strike, whereas individual labor law regulates employment contracts between individuals and employers. The individual rights index used here, while relying on World Bank data, further develops their work by incorporating firing costs into a unified measure.

Second, this study offers indexes that distinguish between de jure and de facto labor rights. Most cross-national research either combines de jure and de facto indicators (Kucera 2004; Mosley and Uno 2007) or focuses exclusively on the law (Botero et al. 2004; World Bank 2007; for Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies.  only, see Murillo 2005 and Murillo and Schrank 2005). Both matter. Labor laws set the boundaries of the legal rights that workers can claim, but they are meaningless if they are not enforced. Offering separate indexes for de jure and de facto labor rights also expands the set of questions that scholars can address in their work.

The main focus of this article is the presentation and analysis of the regional data on individual and collective labor rights, both de jure and de facto, including a consideration of trends and comparisons with both the advanced industrial states and other regions. But it also offers some preliminary observations about causal causal /cau·sal/ (kaw´z'l) pertaining to, involving, or indicating a cause.


relating to or emanating from cause.
 processes and highlights empirical patterns and puzzles that are worth exploring more systematically in future research.

First, de jure and de facto collective labor rights have improved in the region, largely as a consequence of democratization. Nevertheless, the laws in almost every country--democracies included--still violate some aspects of International Labour Organization (ILO ILO
International Labor Organization

Noun 1. ILO - the United Nations agency concerned with the interests of labor
International Labor Organization, International Labour Organization
) Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize), and Convention No. 98 (Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining). In countries where democratization has heralded significant advances in de jure collective labor rights, consideration of de facto measures shows that the full impact of these improvements in formal rights is eroded e·rode  
v. e·rod·ed, e·rod·ing, e·rodes
1. To wear (something) away by or as if by abrasion: Waves eroded the shore.

2. To eat into; corrode.
 by weak enforcement. Moreover, countries with stronger collective labor rights do not have higher unionization rates, collective bargaining remains rare in most countries, and the right to strike is poorly protected--even in democracies. Unions in East Asia may be freer, but they remain feeble fee·ble  
adj. fee·bler, fee·blest
a. Lacking strength; weak.

b. Indicating weakness.

2. Lacking vigor, force, or effectiveness; inadequate. See Synonyms at weak.

Second, I find that laws on individual labor fights have also improved, suggesting that countries in the region have resisted the competitive and international forces that impel im·pel  
tr.v. im·pelled, im·pel·ling, im·pels
1. To urge to action through moral pressure; drive: I was impelled by events to take a stand.

2. To drive forward; propel.
 labor market flexibility. As codified cod·i·fy  
tr.v. cod·i·fied, cod·i·fy·ing, cod·i·fies
1. To reduce to a code: codify laws.

2. To arrange or systematize.
 in labor law, individual labor fights in the region are close to the world average and are not worsening wors·en  
tr. & intr.v. wors·ened, wors·en·ing, wors·ens
To make or become worse.

Noun 1. worsening - process of changing to an inferior state
decline in quality, deterioration, declension
. Contrary to world trends, several countries even enacted legislation that diminished di·min·ish  
v. di·min·ished, di·min·ish·ing, di·min·ish·es
a. To make smaller or less or to cause to appear so.

 labor market flexibility, and only one country in East Asia--South Korea--has passed legislation that significantly increased labor market flexibility since the Asian financial crisis. Democracy appears to offer at least a partial explanation for this outcome; labor laws in democracies provide for stronger individual labor fights than in nondemocracies. But as with collective labor fights, weak enforcement means that the real level of labor protection is often much lower than indicated by indexes that estimate individual labor fights based exclusively on an analysis of labor laws.

Third, there is no unitary unitary

pertaining to a single object or individual.
 East Asian labor rights regime. Singapore emerges as an outlier outlier /out·li·er/ (out´li-er) an observation so distant from the central mass of the data that it noticeably influences results.


an extremely high or low value lying beyond the range of the bulk of the data.
 because of its extremely flexible labor laws. Excluding Singapore, there is a positive relationship between respect for individual and collective labor rights, both de jure and de facto. China, Laos, and Malaysia cluster together on the low end of the spectrum for both de facto and de jure labor fights, while Indonesia, South Korea, and Taiwan are on the high end. Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines rank high on de jure fights, but they are in the middle of the spectrum of countries on de facto labor rights. Thailand is the only country that lands squarely square·ly  
1. Mathematics At right angles: sawed the beam squarely.

2. In a square shape.

 in the middle of the spectrum for both de jure and de facto labor fights.

I begin the article with an analysis of individual labor fights, which is followed by a discussion of collective labor fights. I then assess whether there is a trade-off between the two and end with some concluding thoughts.

Individual Labor Rights

Individual labor fights pertain to pertain to
verb relate to, concern, refer to, regard, be part of, belong to, apply to, bear on, befit, be relevant to, be appropriate to, appertain to
 the regulation of labor contracts between individuals and employers. Labor laws with strong individual labor fights partially decommodify labor by cushioning workers from the impact of volatile market cycles. Such laws make it more difficult and expensive for employers to fire workers; they also restrict the use of nonpermanent labor contracts and outsourcing (1) Contracting with outside consultants, software houses or service bureaus to perform systems analysis, programming and datacenter operations. Contrast with insourcing. See netsourcing, ASP, SSP and facilities management.  and limit the ability of employers to unilaterally u·ni·lat·er·al  
1. Of, on, relating to, involving, or affecting only one side: "a unilateral advantage in defense" New Republic.

 determine the length of the working day. The international financial institutions commonly describe labor laws that protect individual labor rights as "rigid" because they constrain con·strain  
tr.v. con·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
1. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.

 employers; the consequence, they argue, is reduced formal sector employment. They therefore recommend legislative reforms that create more labor market flexibility. Highly flexible labor market institutions give employers more control over setting the terms of labor contracts and thus constitute the opposite end of the spectrum from labor laws that protect individual labor rights. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, laws that provide for high levels of labor market flexibility have weak individual labor rights; "rigid" or protective labor laws, by contrast, promote strong individual labor rights.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the World Bank's labor market data show that Asia, renowned for its booming economies, has comparatively flexible labor markets. (3) Yet this finding stands on two weak pillars. First, Singapore's laws are far more flexible than others in the region, which lowers the regional average. Second, the World Bank's measure of rigidity rigidity /ri·gid·i·ty/ (ri-jid´i-te) inflexibility or stiffness.

clasp-knife rigidity
 excludes firing costs, which are actually very high in East Asia. When firing costs are incorporated, East Asia offers higher protection for individual labor rights than the world average. Even more interesting, the regional average masks sharp variations between countries in the protection of individual labor rights. Individual labor rights are stronger in democracies, and income levels are not correlated cor·re·late  
v. cor·re·lat·ed, cor·re·lat·ing, cor·re·lates
1. To put or bring into causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relation.

 with labor market flexibility. However, labor laws are poorly enforced in many countries in the region, so actual levels of flexibility are higher than indicated by law. Democracies fare no better than other regimes in enforcing individual labor laws--as measured by the gap between de facto and de jure indicators--but rich countries do better than poor countries.

The analysis of individual labor law draws on the World Bank's "Doing Business" report's rigidity of employment index (REI), which is an average of three indexes that measure the difficulty of hiring, rigidity of hours, and difficulty of firing. (4) The three indexes have scores from 0 to 100; higher values indicate more rigid regulation (stronger individual labor rights), and lower values indicate greater labor market flexibility (weaker individual labor rights). The average REI in the region is 29, which is slightly below the world average--33 (see Table 1). East Asia's scores are close to the world average on every subindex Subindex

A group of securities that is part of an index but is also tracked separately as a smaller, separate index.

A software index, for example, would be a sub-index of a computer index.
 except rigidity of hours. Africa has the most protective individual labor laws, East Asia and the Pacific the least. The World Bank's regional average is significantly lower than the subset A group of commands or functions that do not include all the capabilities of the original specification. Software or hardware components designed for the subset will also work with the original.  of countries discussed here because the island countries in the Pacific, as well as Hong Kong Hong Kong (hŏng kŏng), Mandarin Xianggang, special administrative region of China, formerly a British crown colony (2005 est. pop. 6,899,000), land area 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km), adjacent to Guangdong prov. , Brunei, and East Timor East Timor (tē`môr) or Timor-Leste (–lĕsht), Tetum Timor Lorosae, republic, officially Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (2002 est. pop. , have extremely flexible labor laws. Flexibility increases with income category worldwide, including in East Asia.

Although the low REI indicates that the region is relatively flexible compared to other parts of the world, the index does not include firing costs, which are relatively high in the region. The world average for the cost of firing is forty-eight weeks of salary, but the regional average is sixty-eight, which is the highest of any developing region in the world (tied with Africa), as seen in Table 2. The comparatively high levels of severance pay Severance Pay

Compensation that an employer gives to someone who is about to lose their job.

Severance pay is not always paid to employees. It depends on the situation in which the employee is losing their job and whether legislation requires severance to be paid.
 in the region run counter to its image of flexibility. A particularly striking finding is that democracies in the region have much higher firing costs than nondemocracies. (5) Income category also has a different effect in East Asia. Although worldwide firing costs are highest in low-income countries and lower in richer countries, the lower-middle-income countries have the highest firing costs in East Asia.

The REI and firing costs can also be combined into a de jure employment protection (DJEP) index (see Appendix for further explanation). This combined index provides a better picture of individual labor rights than either measure on its own. The average DJEP in the region, 49, is slightly above the world average of 48 (see Table 2). Since Singapore pulls the regional average down significantly, individual labor rights in the region are much stronger than conveyed by the regional average. In the combined index, then, East Asia's labor laws are more protective than the world average and every developing region except Africa. Democracies once again score higher than nondemocracies, and the distinct income pattern in the region also repeats itself, with the lower-middle-income countries' having the most protective labor laws. Still, even within income and regime categories there are notable variations. Among democracies, individual labor rights are by far the weakest in Thailand, and Cambodia's laws are as protective as those in democracies. South Korea and Taiwan stand in marked contrast to Singapore and Malaysia in the upper-middle-income and higher category. And among lower-middle-income countries, Thailand once again stands out as having the least protective laws. All the authoritarian countries in the sample are also socialist, which helps explain the surprising pattern of higher firing costs in authoritarian countries than in semidemocratic countries.

Part of the reason for these patterns is the legacy of "protective repression repression, in psychology: see defense mechanism; psychoanalysis.

In metabolism, a control mechanism by which a protein molecule, called a repressor, prevents the synthesis of an enzyme by binding to (and thus hindering the action of) the
." Hagen Koo (2000) has observed that under authoritarianism authoritarianism

Principle of unqualified submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. As a political system, authoritarianism is antidemocratic in that political power is concentrated in a leader or small elite not constitutionally
, South Korea combined brutal repression of collective labor rights with strong individual labor rights that encouraged firms to retain workers. I (Caraway '2004) coined the term protective repression to describe a similar labor rights regime in Indonesia. Taiwan and (to a lesser extent) the Philippines, also fall in this category. With the exception of Thailand, all of the countries that are democracies today were protective and repressive re·pres·sive
Causing or inclined to cause repression.
 under authoritarianism. Historical legacy, rather than regime type, is probably the reason that democracies have far stronger individual labor rights than nondemocracies. Communist countries also clump closely together, and Singapore is exceptional in having much more flexible labor laws than its neighbors, although it should be noted that Malaysia's REI is also very low. Firing costs, however, are much higher in Malaysia than in Singapore.

An index based purely on legislation, however, overestimates the strength of individual labor rights in the region, since labor laws are only as strong as their enforcement. Existing research therefore greatly overestimates the protection of individual labor rights, since it relies only on the coding of labor laws. The de facto employment protection index (DFEP DFEP Diagnostic Front End Processor ) offers a way to estimate the impact of enforcement on individual labor rights, allowing scholars to distinguish between laws on the books and practice on the ground. The index incorporates a rule of law measure that essentially discounts the de jure score--the discount is largest for countries with strong laws and weak rule of law, smallest for countries with weak laws and strong rule of law (see Appendix for more information on how the index is constructed). Since labor laws are poorly enforced in most of the region, the scores of many countries fall dramatically (see Table 3). Regime type does not have an effect, but rich countries show a less precipitous drop in their scores than poor countries. The richest countries have weaker laws but enforce them better, whereas low and lower-middle-income countries have stronger laws but enforce them poorly. The DFEP score for the world is 41, the same as East Asia.

In neither de jure nor de facto terms, then, is East Asia more flexible than the rest of the world. But has East Asia been heading in the direction of greater flexibility? In fact, individual labor rights as codified in labor law have improved in some countries, and even those that have adopted changes that weaken individual labor rights have combined them with other reforms that protect them. The most common flexibilization measure adopted in the region was the expansion of flexible working hour arrangements. Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam expanded the range of flexible working hour options available to employers; Vietnam also raised the upper limit on yearly overtime. South Korea gave employers more latitude latitude, angular distance of any point on the surface of the earth north or south of the equator. The equator is latitude 0°, and the North Pole and South Pole are latitudes 90°N and 90°S, respectively.  in unilaterally setting working hours but constrained con·strain  
tr.v. con·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
1. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.

 them with a shorter work week.

South Korea experienced the most dramatic change in the region in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. Strongly pressured by the International Monetary Fund (IMF IMF

See: International Monetary Fund


See International Monetary Fund (IMF).
), South Korea enacted reforms that dramatically weakened weak·en  
tr. & intr.v. weak·ened, weak·en·ing, weak·ens
To make or become weak or weaker.

weaken·er n.
 individual labor rights (Kim and Moon 2000; Koo 2000). With the support of employers, South Korea instituted reforms in the areas where pressure was most intense--liberalizing layoffs and outsourcing. Previously, employers could only dismiss workers for "justifiable jus·ti·fi·a·ble  
Having sufficient grounds for justification; possible to justify: justifiable resentment.

" reasons, and the South Korean courts interpreted "justifiable" narrowly. In practice it was difficult to fire workers on personal, behavioral, or economic grounds (Lee 2002). Although the new law required employers to make efforts to avoid dismissals, to establish "rational and fair standards" for selecting the workers to be laid off, and to give sixty days' notice to unionized workers, employers were allowed to dismiss workers for "managerial reasons," which included retrenchments, mergers, and acquisitions. Labor law reforms in South Korea also facilitated outsourcing. Until 1998, the minister of labor tightly limited the use of labor supply services (Lee 2002). (6) The Dispatched Workers Act of 1998 removed labor suppliers from the scope of the Employment Security Act and stipulated the terms on which dispatched (temporary or outsourced) workers could be employed. The types of work that could be permanently outsourced cover twenty-six job categories. (7) But South Korea's new laws New Laws: see Las Casas, Bartolomé de.  did not give employers a free hand--jobs could be outsourced for no more than one year, then extended once for up to one year, after which workers became permanent employees. The law, moreover, mandated equal treatment of dispatched workers, which eliminated one of the main advantages of employing them in the first place. The law is vague about what constitutes equal treatment, however, so it has been unenforceable Adj. 1. unenforceable - not enforceable; not capable of being brought about by compulsion; "an unenforceable law"; "unenforceable reforms"
enforceable - capable of being enforced

However, several countries have moved in the direction of more, not less, protection. In Indonesia, severance The act of dividing, or the state of being divided.

The term severance has unique meanings in different branches of the law. Courts use the term in both civil and criminal litigation in two ways: first, when dividing a lawsuit into two or more parts, and second, when
 payments increased dramatically for most types of dismissal in 2000 and then again in 2003. The Manpower Act of 2003 also introduced restrictions on outsourcing, previously unregulated Adj. 1. unregulated - not regulated; not subject to rule or discipline; "unregulated off-shore fishing"
regulated - controlled or governed according to rule or principle or law; "well regulated industries"; "houses with regulated temperature"

, permitting it only for noncore work. Thailand increased the maximum level of severance pay from six months' to ten months' wages and eliminated the distinction between permanent and temporary workers on matters such as weekend pay, annual holidays, traditional holidays, and sick leave. The reform of the Labor Protection Act in 1998 also resulted in tighter restrictions on the use of fixed-term contracts, limiting them to jobs that are occasional, seasonal, have a definite beginning or end, or that are not part of the normal business of the employer. The revised labor law also capped the length of time for which fixed-term contracts could be used to two years. Not a single country in the region reduced severance pay for workers who are not at fault.

The experience of East Asia, then, does not support contentions that countries are making dramatic changes to their labor laws in response to international competition and pressure from the international financial institutions. Only Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand have made significant changes to the regulation of individual labor contracts, and in two out of three--Indonesia and Thailand--these changes have made the formal regulations more protective. South Korea, which made the most dramatic reforms weakening weak·en  
tr. & intr.v. weak·ened, weak·en·ing, weak·ens
To make or become weak or weaker.

weaken·er n.
 individual labor rights, partially offset them by introducing measures that limited the scope of their impact. And in spite of these reforms, South Korea's labor market is still less flexible than the world average. The IMF continues to push South Korea to further flexibilize its labor markets. In 2005, labor unions labor union: see union, labor.  fiercely opposed the government's efforts to pass the Non-Regular Workers' Protection Law, which would have partially mollified the international financial institutions and employers (Doucette 2005). Most recently, a new law introduced limitations on the duration of fixed-term contracts and mandated equal pay for equal work. The law went into effect in large workplaces in July 2007 and will be phased into smaller workplaces over the next two years. China is also moving in the direction of less flexibility. China's new law on labor contracts, which went into effect in 2008 and is not reflected in the 2007 data presented above, placed limits on the duration of fixed-term contracts and outsourcing.

East Asia's reputed reputed adj. referring to what is accepted by general public belief, whether or not correct.  flexibility is thus largely a myth. When firing costs are taken into account, East Asia is more protective than the world average and all developing regions except Africa. Democracies have more protective laws, but they are poorly enforced, especially in the lower-income countries. Higher-income countries have less protective laws but enforce them better. The legacy of protective repression is pronounced in all democracies except Thailand and helps explain why Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan have the most protective labor laws in the region. Cambodia compares favorably fa·vor·a·ble  
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.

2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.

 with them, but the roots of its protective laws probably lie in the special circumstances special circumstances n. in criminal cases, particularly homicides, actions of the accused or the situation under which the crime was committed for which state statutes allow or require imposition of a more severe punishment.  in which its labor laws were drafted in the 1990s (Bronstein 2005). East Asia also seems to be bucking world trends by moving in the direction of more, not less, protective laws. These responses are probably due in part to the increased de facto flexibility on the ground. The analysis presented here suggests that tightening laws will lead to limited gains in individual labor rights in most countries in the region; investments in improved enforcement would probably yield more benefits to workers.

Collective Labor Rights

Respect for collective labor rights varies dramatically between countries in the region. Not a single country has labor laws that are in full compliance with Conventions Nos. 87 and 98. The average score in the region for de jure collective rights (DJCR) is 69 (out of 100), which reflects the weak protection for many collective labor rights in national labor codes (see Table 4; see also Appendix for further explanation of the DJCR). Cambodia and Indonesia have the strongest legal protections for collective labor rights. The legal protection of collective rights does not correlate perfectly with regime type. Although democracies and semidemocracies fare better than authoritarian countries, Vietnam has the third highest score in the region, and Malaysia's scores are comparable to authoritarian countries. Only one democracy in the region has strong legal protections for collective rights--Indonesia. The labor laws in the other democracies--South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand-all retain many provisions that violate international labor standards. Among democracies, Thailand once again scores lowest, and among semidemocracies, Cambodia remains exceptional. As with individual labor rights, Cambodia's exceptionalism ex·cep·tion·al·ism  
1. The condition of being exceptional or unique.

2. The theory or belief that something, especially a nation, does not conform to a pattern or norm.
 stems from the deep involvement of the ILO in crafting its new labor code in the 1990s (Bronstein 2005).

Labor laws in the region violate all three categories of collective rights--union formation, collective bargaining, and the right to strike--but countries vary in the degree to which their labor laws violate international labor standards, and some countries have strong protections for some rights but not others. Of the three main collective rights, collective bargaining is the most widely respected in law (if not in practice), while the right to strike is the least respected.

The Right to Establish Unions

Although the right to form unions has strengthened in the last two decades, workers still face many challenges in organizing to defend their interests. Democracies do not fare better than other regime types with respect to union formation, largely because several democracies prohibit pro·hib·it  
tr.v. pro·hib·it·ed, pro·hib·it·ing, pro·hib·its
1. To forbid by authority: Smoking is prohibited in most theaters. See Synonyms at forbid.

 civil servants from organizing unions. Democracies, however, are less likely to erect e·rect
1. Being in or having a vertical, upright position.

2. Being in or having a stiff, rigid physiological condition.
 administrative obstacles to union formation and to interfere in internal union affairs than semidemocracies and authoritarian regimes Noun 1. authoritarian regime - a government that concentrates political power in an authority not responsible to the people
authoritarian state

authorities, government, regime - the organization that is the governing authority of a political unit; "the
. Surprisingly, laws that conform more closely to international labor standards are not correlated with higher unionization rates.

Indonesian labor law conforms most closely to ILO standards on union formation. After the fall of Suharto in May 1998, successive Indonesian governments worked closely with the ILO to produce new labor laws that addressed many of the ILO's criticisms of Indonesian labor regulation (Caraway 2004). Most notably, Indonesia moved quickly to recognize freedom of association by eliminating the legal monopoly Legal monopoly

A government-regulated firm that is legally entitled to be the only company offering a particular service in a particular area.
 enjoyed by the state-backed union (Ford 2000). The main weakness of existing law is the status of the right of civil servants to unionize. Although acknowledged in the Trade Union Act, the law stipulates that the unionization of civil servants is to be regulated by another law, which Indonesia has yet to produce. Civil servants have yet to test the law, but state enterprise employees and some teachers have successfully registered. In spite of the relatively strong legal status of the right to form unions, the ILO has raised some concerns about Indonesian labor laws, most notably questioning the state's authority to suspend unions for failing to report financial assistance from overseas and changes in union statutes to the authorities. In addition, the ILO deems protections against antiunion discrimination to be insufficient. (8) While Indonesian law has strong language on antiunion discrimination, current law requires workers to go through cumbersome cum·ber·some  
1. Difficult to handle because of weight or bulk. See Synonyms at heavy.

2. Troublesome or onerous.

 procedures to file such complaints, and state authorities have proven reluctant to press forward with criminal charges against employers. In practice, this means that employers can fire labor activists at will, as long as they pay them severance.

After Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia are fairly compliant with international labor standards for union formation, but both fall short in important respects. In Cambodia, the ILO has raised concerns about the exclusion of most civil servants from the fight to organize, restrictions on eligibility for union office, and insufficient protections against antiunion discrimination. As in Indonesia, the Philippines made changes to its labor code after the transition to democracy in 1986 (Bacungan and Ofreneo 2002), but since 1989 there has been no progress in rectifying aspects of Filipino law that are not in full compliance with ILO standards. (9) The ILO has identified the membership threshold for registration, set at 20 percent of workers in a workplace, as constituting an obstacle to unionization. In addition, the ILO considers the restrictions on alien involvement in trade union activities and the high number of unions required to form a federation (ten) to violate Convention No. 87.

The legislation in communist countries--Vietnam, Laos, and China--imposes union monopolies, and none of them has ratified rat·i·fy  
tr.v. rat·i·fied, rat·i·fy·ing, rat·i·fies
To approve and give formal sanction to; confirm. See Synonyms at approve.
 Convention No. 87. Nevertheless, since their laws conform to Verb 1. conform to - satisfy a condition or restriction; "Does this paper meet the requirements for the degree?"
fit, meet

coordinate - be co-ordinated; "These activities coordinate well"
 ILO standards with respect to the categories of workers permitted to unionize, the kinds of unions or worker organizations that can be formed, and union participation in political activities--although it should be noted that the ILO considers requirements for unions to support the socialist state  The term socialist state (or socialist republic, or workers' state) can carry one of several different (but related) meanings:
  • Strictly speaking, any real or hypothetical state organized along the principles of socialism may be called a
 to be problematic--they score relatively high on union formation. Laos and China score lower than Vietnam as a result of administrative hurdles to union formation in Laos and the legality le·gal·i·ty  
n. pl. le·gal·i·ties
1. The state or quality of being legal; lawfulness.

2. Adherence to or observance of the law.

3. A requirement enjoined by law. Often used in the plural.
 of state interference in internal union affairs in China.

South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and Malaysia score lower than communist countries on union formation (the countries are listed from highest to lowest). The low scores for Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand are surprising, since they are democracies. All three exclude many or all civil servants from unionization and restrict union pluralism pluralism, in philosophy, theory that considers the universe explicable in terms of many principles or composed of many ultimate substances. It describes no particular system and may be embodied in such opposed philosophical concepts as materialism and idealism.  in some or all sectors of the economy. (10) Both Taiwan and Thailand erect administrative hurdles to union formation, limit the kinds of unions or worker organizations, and permit state interference in internal union affairs. South Korea and Thailand also prohibit some workers from participation in political activities--teachers and public servants in South Korea, state-enterprise employees in Thailand. In Taiwan, however, some of these provisions in the law are no longer enforced, so the actual labor rights situation is stronger than indicated by the legislation (Wang and Cooney 2002).

In addition to these common issues, the ILO has also criticized South Korea for its restrictions on the payment of wages to trade union officers, the prohibition prohibition, legal prevention of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, the extreme of the regulatory liquor laws. The modern movement for prohibition had its main growth in the United States and developed largely as a result of the  against dismissed employees continuing to be union members and officers, and the requirement for third parties to register with the Ministry of Labor in order to consult with unions during collective bargaining negotiations and labor disputes. (11) Thailand has also come under criticism for placing restrictions on state enterprise employees--25 percent of workers must join a union in order for it be registered, workers can only form enterprise unions, and the freedom to combine into federations with unions in the private sector is constrained.

Singapore and Malaysia show a different pattern of violations on union formation than South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Malaysia and Singapore place fewer restrictions on the freedom of civil servants to unionize, but they erect administrative and legal hurdles to union formation, limit the kinds of unions or worker organizations, permit state interference in internal union affairs, and prohibit union participation in political activities (Ayadurai 1993; Leggett 1993). In Singapore, one effect of the heavy state hand in labor relations is a de facto union monopoly (Leggett 1993). By contrast, the registrar See domain name registrar.  in Malaysia has used its authority to fragment (1) In networking, one piece of a data packet that has been broken into smaller pieces in order to accommodate the maximum transmission unit (MTU) size of a network. See IP fragmentation.  the labor movement and to impede im·pede  
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.

[Latin imped
 unionization in the electronics industry (Ahmad 2002; Jomo and Todd 1994). Malaysia has come under sharper attack by the ILO than Singapore in part because unions, both domestic and foreign, have filed cases with the ILO's Committee on Freedom of Association. (12) The ILO also considers protections against antiunion discrimination to be insufficient in Malaysia. (13)

On balance, respect for the right to form unions has improved, largely as a result of the increasing number of democracies in the region, but even democracies perform pretty miserably. Moreover, as Mark Anner (2008) has observed in Latin America, unionization rates show little sign of improving and are probably in decline. Strikingly, the protection of the right to form unions has little correlation with levels of unionization in the region (see Table 5). Countries that score relatively high on indicators for union formation have both high and low levels of unionization; those with low scores show a similar pattern. Assessing comparative levels of unionization in the region is difficult, since few countries publish reliable statistics, and country specialists use different measures of union density. The most comprehensive data come from the ILO (International Labour Organization 1997). Though dated and incomplete, the data show that with few exceptions, unionization rates are low in the region. The US Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs also produces a useful report, Foreign Labor Trends, which calculates unionization rates as a percentage of the total workforce. (14) This measure results in lower union density estimates than those calculated based on the nonagricultural workforce, especially if a significant proportion of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Since the data are not comparable, they cannot be used to assess trends but do once again show that unionization rates in the region are low.

China has the highest rate of unionization in the region, followed by Taiwan, but the figures are misleading as indicators of union strength in these countries. In China, the high figure reflects compulsory membership for state employees and masks the top-down nature of much unionization in the private sector (Taylor and Li 2007). In Taiwan, the relatively high union density is largely a product of increases in membership in occupational unions, which are largely composed of self-employed workers that join in order to receive health insurance (Chu 1996). Malaysia and the Philippines have relatively high unionization rates for the region, but membership levels are stagnating or in decline (Ahmad 2002; Bacungan and Ofreneo 2002). In South Korea, union density was in decline until the late 1990s, when teachers and state employees were permitted to unionize (Kim and Kim 2003). Vietnam, in contrast, may be experiencing an increase in unionization. Union density is relatively low because such a large proportion of the workforce is still in agriculture. The state sector is almost entirely unionized, and in recent years unionization in the private sector has expanded considerably (Clarke, Lee, and Chi 2007; Manyin, Lum n. 1. A chimney.
2. A ventilating chimney over the shaft of a mine.
3. A woody valley; also, a deep pool.
, McHugh et al. 2002). Indonesia and Thailand both have extremely low rates of unionization, but union density has probably increased modestly in Indonesia as a result of the expansion of organizing efforts after the fall of Suharto in 1998 (Caraway 2008). The disconnect disconnect - SCSI reconnect  between law and unionization rates leads to new avenues of research. If countries with laws that are more compliant with international labor standards do not have higher rates of unionization, then it suggests that other factors are at work. One possibility is my observation (Caraway 2006b) that liberal labor laws that make it easier to form unions are not necessarily the most likely to increase unionization rates. Instead, they may encourage union fragmentation (1) Storing data in non-contiguous areas on disk. As files are updated, new data are stored in available free space, which may not be contiguous. Fragmented files cause extra head movement, slowing disk accesses. A defragger program is used to rewrite and reorder all the files.  and competition. Another is that union busting Union busting is a practice that is undertaken by an employer or their agents to prevent employees from joining a labor union, or to disempower, subvert, or destroy unions that already exist.  is rampant due to poor law enforcement, implying that if the laws were enforced, unionization rates would increase.

Collective Bargaining

Compared to the regulation of union formation and strikes, collective bargaining is the most widely respected of the collective labor rights in the region. Cambodian and Indonesian law are in closest compliance with international labor standards that pertain to collective bargaining, although the ILO has raised some concerns in both countries. In Cambodia, civil servants do not fall under the scope of the labor code, so they do not have a legal right to bargain collectively, (15) and in Indonesia the bargaining rights of civil servants are in legal limbo limbo

In Roman Catholicism, a region between heaven and hell, the dwelling place of souls not condemned to punishment but deprived of the joy of existence with God in heaven. The concept probably developed in the Middle Ages.
. The ILO has also requested that Indonesia make two minor adjustments to its labor laws to bring them into full accord with ILO standards. The first is to eliminate the requirement that employers attend votes to determine bargaining agents A union that possesses the sole authority to act on behalf of all the employees of a particular type in a company.

A bargaining agent is certified by the national labor relations board 
, and the second is to explicitly guarantee the bargaining rights of federations and confederations. (16)

South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan also have relatively strong legal provisions on collective bargaining. Again, the main weakness in the laws is that workers excluded from the right to form unions also do not enjoy the right to bargain collectively. Aside from these exclusions, South Korea's and Thailand's laws are largely in compliance with international labor standards for collective bargaining. Both place some restrictions on the scope of bargaining. In Thailand, wages cannot be set in collective bargaining agreements The contractual agreement between an employer and a Labor Union that governs wages, hours, and working conditions for employees and which can be enforced against both the employer and the union for failure to comply with its terms.  in state enterprises; unions are consulted but ultimately the state determines the salary scheme (Anonuevo 2001). In South Korea, teachers and state employees can negotiate wages freely, but the Ministry of Planning has rejected some provisions of the agreements concluded by teachers and state enterprise unions (Anonuevo 2001). Taiwan's laws violate international labor standards by excluding some issues from the scope of collective bargaining and by giving the state the authority to strike wage provisions in collective agreements.

Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines have an average level of legal protection for the right to bargain collectively. The Philippines permits only majority unions to bargain, and the Civil Service Code has yet to be amended to permit collective bargaining by civil servants. (17) Singapore brought its laws more closely in accord with Convention No. 98 when it repealed a provision of the Industrial Relations industrial relations
Relations between the management of an industrial enterprise and its employees.

industrial relations
Noun, pl

the relations between management and workers
 Act (Article 25) that restricted the scope of collective bargaining in "pioneer industries." In spite of this improvement, other aspects of Singapore's law still fall short of international labor standards. Employers may refuse to recognize a union as a bargaining agent if it does not represent a majority of workers, and the law excludes promotions, transfers, hiring, and terminations from the scope of collective bargaining agreements. The law also sets limits on wage supplements, and the state has the authority to amend provisions of collective bargaining agreements. (18) Since civil servants are not covered not covered Health care adjective Referring to a procedure, test or other health service to which a policy holder or insurance beneficiary is not entitled under the terms of the policy or payment system–eg, Medicare. Cf Covered.  by the Labor Code in Vietnam, they do not have full rights to bargain collectively.

China, Malaysia, and Laos have the weakest labor legislation for collective bargaining. Malaysian law requires unions to be "recognized" by employers in order to gain bargaining rights (which means that the union must represent a majority of workers), severely restricts the scope of issues that can be negotiated in collective labor agreements (especially in "pioneer companies," which tend to be in export-oriented industries), and curtails civil servants' fight to bargain collectively by restricting negotiations on the terms and conditions of service and remuneration REMUNERATION. Reward; recompense; salary. Dig. 17, 1, 7. . (19) In spite of the ILO's pleas over more than two decades, Malaysia has not changed these aspects of its laws. The state has the authority to strike provisions of collective labor agreements in China. (20) Civil servants also do not have the right to bargain collectively. In Laos, there is no right to collective bargaining spelled out in its labor legislation.

Although the right to bargain collectively fares relatively well compared to other collective rights, in practice collective bargaining is poorly institutionalized in·sti·tu·tion·al·ize  
tr.v. in·sti·tu·tion·al·ized, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·ing, in·sti·tu·tion·al·iz·es
a. To make into, treat as, or give the character of an institution to.

 in the region. Most bargaining takes place at the enterprise level (Caraway 2006a; International Labour Organization 1997). Given the low rates of unionization and the dominance of enterprise-based negotiations, the coverage of collective bargaining is also limited. In Cambodia, collective bargaining is rare, and in 2005 there were only five genuine collective bargaining agreements in the garment industry, where most unionized workers are employed (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) was an international trade union. It came into being on December 7, 1949 following a split within the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), and was dissolved on October 31, 2006 when it merged with the World  2006a; US Department of State 2006a). Collective bargaining also seldom occurs in Taiwan, where only 254 agreements were in place in the whole country, mostly in large companies. These bargains cover only 21 percent of workers in industrial unions (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006b). Collective bargaining covers just a small percentage of unionized workers in the Philippines as well--about 16 percent (US Department of State 2006c). In Indonesia and Thailand, collective bargaining occurs, but workers in many industries depend on annual increases in the minimum wage rather than on collective bargaining for improvements in pay (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006d; US Department of State 2006d). In Indonesia and Vietnam, collective agreements often merely repeat existing law (Clarke, Lee, and Chi 2007; International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006d; Manyin, Lum, McHugh et al. 2002). In China, tens of thousands of collective bargaining agreements have been concluded, but most are in state enterprises, and those in the private sector usually reflect only minimal legal requirements (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006c; US Department of State 2006b). Moreover, collective contracts in China are rarely the product of true negotiations between management and unions. Chinese unions are deferential deferential /def·er·en·tial/ (-en´shal) pertaining to the ductus deferens.

Of or relating to the vas deferens.


pertaining to the ductus deferens.
 to management and usually only make proposals that they think management will accept (Clarke, Lee, and Li 2004). The ILO estimates that coverage rates for employed workers are just 3.3 percent in Malaysia, 12 percent in Singapore, and 7.3 percent in South Korea (Lawrence and Ishikawa 2005).

The Right to Strike

The right to strike is the most weakly weak·ly  
adj. weak·li·er, weak·li·est
Delicate in constitution; frail or sickly.

1. With little physical strength or force.

2. With little strength of character.
 protected right in the region. Not a single country is in full compliance with international labor standards. No legal right to strike exists in China, so it has the lowest score in the region. (21) Cambodia, Taiwan, and Vietnam have the strongest formal protections of the right to strike; restrictions are more severe in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.

Every country in the region erects administrative hurdles to the right to strike. The precise nature of the hurdle HURDLE, Eng. law. A species of sledge, used to draw traitors to execution.  varies from country to country. Many require strike ballots that secure the consent of a majority (sometimes two-thirds) of members before declaring a strike (Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam); allow the state to refer labor disputes in nonessential non·es·sen·tial
Being a substance required for normal functioning but not needed in the diet because the body can synthesize it.
 sectors to binding arbitration (Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand); require time-consuming conciliation conciliation: see mediation.  procedures (Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam); impose long strike notification periods (the Philippines); permit one party to refer a dispute to binding arbitration (Indonesia); or require workers to provide minimum service during a strike, even in nonessential services (Cambodia). The laws in many countries also impinge im·pinge  
v. im·pinged, im·ping·ing, im·ping·es

1. To collide or strike: Sound waves impinge on the eardrum.

 on the right to strike for particular categories of workers--for example, workers in state enterprises (Thailand), educational institutions (Thailand), transportation services (Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand), oil refineries This is a list of oil refineries. The Oil and Gas Journal also publishes a worldwide list of refineries annually in a country-by-country tabulation that includes for each refinery: location, crude oil daily processing capacity, and the size of each process unit in the refinery.  (Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand), banking (Malaysia), teaching (South Korea), and some or all civil services (Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea). Vietnam's labor code allows the state to ban strikes in a list of industries that the government deems to be important to the national economy and national security.

Understandably, the ILO has chided countries for these flagrant fla·grant  
1. Conspicuously bad, offensive, or reprehensible: a flagrant miscarriage of justice; flagrant cases of wrongdoing at the highest levels of government. See Usage Note at blatant.

 violations of the right to strike but to no avail. Even democracies have resisted easing restrictions on strikes. Yet strikes commonly occur in the region, and given the strict limitations on exercising the right, they often violate the law. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 ILO and national data, strikes frequently occur in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam (Manyin, Lum, McHugh et al. 2002). (22) Vietnam experienced a massive strike wave in 2005; all of the strikes were illegal wildcat strikes An employee work stoppage that is not authorized by the Labor Union to which the employees belong.

When employees join a union, they give the union the right to collectively bargain with their employers concerning the terms and conditions of work.
, but the government did not crack down on workers and agreed to raise the minimum wage (Clarke, Lee, and Chi 2007). In spite of the harsh repression, worker protests also commonly occur in China (US Department of State 2005b). Strikes are rare in Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand, and a strike has not occurred in Singapore for twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
 (Frost and Chiu 2003; US Department of State 2005a). (23) Singapore's leaders greeted the mere possibility of a strike by a pilots' union with threats. Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew Lee Kuan Yew (lē kwän y, yü), 1923–, prime minister of Singapore (1959–90).  told unions to be reasonable in negotiating their new collective agreement with Singapore Airlines This article or section is written like an .
Please help [ rewrite this article] from a neutral point of view.
Mark blatant advertising for , using .
, otherwise "there are going to be broken heads" (Straits Straits: see Dardanelles; Bosporus.  Times, December 2, 2003). In some countries, workers who strike face arrest and/or dismissal. In short, the right to strike is not sufficiently protected by law in the region. Even so, workers in many countries do strike frequently, but given the weak legal protections for this right, they often risk dismissal or worse when they do.

De Jure Versus De Facto Collective Labor Rights

Labor law tells only part of the story of collective labor rights in the region. Labor rights are also affected by whether the laws are enforced and by the political climate in the country. To take these factors into account, a number of indicators that assess law enforcement and political climate were incorporated into the index (see Table 6). The final measure is the de facto collective rights (DFCR DFCR Delaware Federation of College Republicans ) index (see Appendix). Folding these factors into the mix lowers the score of every single country.

Most striking are the plummeting scores of Cambodia and the Philippines--the legal protections provided by their laws are undone by weak enforcement and extreme labor rights violations on the ground, most notably the murder and intimidation of trade unionists and widespread unfair labor practices Conduct prohibited by federal law regulating relations between employers, employees, and labor organizations.

Before 1935 U.S. labor unions received little protection from the law.
 (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006a). In one horrific hor·rif·ic  
Causing horror; terrifying.

[Latin horrificus : horrre, to tremble + -ficus, -fic.
 case in the Philippines, the Philippines, The (fĭl`əpēnz'), officially Republic of the Philippines, republic (2005 est. pop. 87,857,000), 115,830 sq mi (300,000 sq km), SW Pacific, in the Malay Archipelago off the SE Asia mainland.  police and the army forcibly forc·i·ble  
1. Effected against resistance through the use of force: The police used forcible restraint in order to subdue the assailant.

2. Characterized by force; powerful.
 put down a strike at Hacienda hacienda
 also called estancia (Argentina and Uruguay) or fazenda (Brazil)

In Latin America, a large landed estate. The hacienda originated in the colonial period and survived into the 20th century.
 Luisita sugar mill and plantation Plantation, city (1990 pop. 66,692), Broward co., SE Fla., a residential suburb of Fort Lauderdale; inc. 1953. The city has grown rapidly along with the development of S Florida.  in November 2004, killing seven protestors (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006f); in 2005, at least eight trade unionists were murdered or disappeared (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2005). In Cambodia, despite the ILO's much-praised Better Factories monitoring program, labor activists routinely face detention and intimidation, and two prominent labor activists were murdered in 2004 (Hughes 2007). China's score, already low, fell dramatically as a consequence of the weakness of political rights and rule of law, unfair labor practices, and the harassment Ask a Lawyer

Country: United States of America
State: Nevada

I recently moved to nev.from abut have been going back to ca. every 2 to 3 weeks for med.
 and imprisonment Imprisonment
See also Isolation.

Alcatraz Island

former federal maximum security penitentiary, near San Francisco; “escapeproof.” [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 218]

Altmark, the

German prison ship in World War II. [Br. Hist.
 of labor activists (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006c). The ILO has raised particularly grave concerns about the continued use of arrests, detention, and violence to suppress To stop something or someone; to prevent, prohibit, or subdue.

To suppress evidence is to keep it from being admitted at trial by showing either that it was illegally obtained or that it is irrelevant.
 labor rights there. (24) Brutal crackdowns on strikes and mass arrests of trade unionists mar South Korea's labor rights record as well. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU ICFTU
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
) estimates that over a thousand trade unionists were arrested between 1999 and 2005, most on charges of "obstruction obstruction /ob·struc·tion/ (ob-struk´shun)
1. the act of blocking or clogging.

2. block; occlusion; the state or condition of being clogged.obstruc´tive

 of business" and for organizing unions in the public sector (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 2006e). (25) The scores for Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan dropped the least (about two points), which is a reflection of the relatively open political climate in South Korea and Taiwan and the relatively strong rule of law in all three countries, which is in part a function of their comparative wealth.

Regime type affects the size of the gap between de jure and de facto collective labor rights. Although all regime types experienced sizable siz·a·ble also size·a·ble  
Of considerable size; fairly large.

siza·ble·ness n.
 declines in their scores, the change in the score--in both absolute and relative terms--was lowest in democracies. Scores declined an average of 27.3 points in democracies, 34 points in semidemocracies, and 35.9 points in authoritarian regimes. Democracies therefore not only had better laws, but they also enforced them better. Nevertheless, the gap between law and practice is huge, even in the democracies, and they have not performed particularly well in enforcing labor laws and protecting labor rights.

Individual and Collective Labor Rights: Is There a Trade-off?

Do countries with better collective labor rights also have strong individual labor rights? In other words, is there a relationship between respect for individual labor rights and respect for collective labor rights? Figure 1 plots the DJEP and the DJCR scores for eleven countries in the region. The countries cluster in the two top quadrants; if the outlier, Singapore, is excluded, the data provide some support for the contention that there is a positive relationship between the protection of individual labor fights and respect for collective labor rights. Figure 2 plots the DFEP and DFCR scores. The de facto scores are much lower, but the positive relationship between individual rights and collective rights holds. The most arresting finding is the dismal dis·mal  
1. Causing gloom or depression; dreary: dismal weather; took a dismal view of the economy.

 state of labor fights in the region. All but two countries fall into the low/low quadrant quadrant, in analytic geometry

1 In analytic geometry, one of the four regions of the plane determined by two lines, the x-axis and the y-axis.
 (scores below 50 on both the DFCR and the DFEP), only one case, Taiwan, is in the high/high quadrant (scores above 50 on both the DFCR and the DFEP). In spite of the improvements in collective labor rights and the resistance to greater labor market flexibility, labor rights in the region still have much room for improvement.




Scholars have long observed that rapid economic growth after World War II in East Asia rested in part on authoritarianism and the repression of labor (Cumings 1984; Deyo 1989; Haggard 1990). As more countries in the region have democratized, the labor rights situation in many countries--most notably Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan--has undoubtedly improved. While democratization pushes collective rights on an upward trajectory Trajectory

The curve described by a body moving through space, as of a meteor through the atmosphere, a planet around the Sun, a projectile fired from a gun, or a rocket in flight.
, race to the bottom pressures should be propelling pro·pel  
tr.v. pro·pelled, pro·pel·ling, pro·pels
To cause to move forward or onward. See Synonyms at push.

[Middle English propellen, from Latin
 countries in the region along a downward path for individual labor rights. The data presented here offer some cause for hope but perhaps more ample cause for concern.

The positive relationship between collective and individual labor rights and the strong association of both with democracy suggest that race to the bottom fears are misplaced mis·place  
tr.v. mis·placed, mis·plac·ing, mis·plac·es
a. To put into a wrong place: misplace punctuation in a sentence.

. Countries are not responding to increased economic competition by rewriting re·write  
v. re·wrote , re·writ·ten , re·writ·ing, re·writes
1. To write again, especially in a different or improved form; revise.

 their labor laws in ways that lower individual and collective labor rights. In spite of improvements in democracies, collective labor laws in the region still fall far short of international labor standards, and in the last few years, countries in the region have shown little inclination inclination, in astronomy, the angle of intersection between two planes, one of which is an orbital plane. The inclination of the plane of the moon's orbit is 5°9' with respect to the plane of the ecliptic (the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun).  to close the gap. The reluctance of democracies to embrace the collective mobilization mobilization

Organization of a nation's armed forces for active military service in time of war or other national emergency. It includes recruiting and training, building military bases and training camps, and procuring and distributing weapons, ammunition, uniforms,
 of workers is a vivid demonstration of the incomplete nature of the democratic transitions in the region. Most worrisome is the wave of assassinations of leftists in the Philippines, which has claimed the lives of many trade unionists.

With respect to individual labor rights, East Asia's labor laws offer levels of protection slightly higher than the rest of the world when firing costs are taken into account, and democracies have stronger individual labor rights than nondemocracies. China, Indonesia, and Thailand have revised their laws to provide individuals greater protection from the vicissitudes vicissitudes
Noun, pl

changes in circumstance or fortune [Latin vicis change]

vicissitudes nplvicisitudes fpl; peripecias fpl 
 of the market. Only one country, South Korea, has reformed its labor laws in ways that significantly increase labor market flexibility, but in recent years, it has enacted a new law that raises protections. Claims that flexible labor markets have contributed to East Asia's comparatively good economic performance in recent years must therefore be questioned.

Perhaps the most interesting pattern emerging within the region is that formerly authoritarian countries that have democratized are consistently clustered together for both individual and collective rights. Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, and (to a lesser extent) the Philippines inherited inherited

received by inheritance.

inherited achondroplastic dwarfism
see achondroplastic dwarfism.

inherited combined immunodeficiency
see combined immune deficiency syndrome (disease).
 the protective yet repressive labor laws of the past. Collective labor laws have been rewritten in most cases, but the protective legacy of the past is still with them today. Cambodia and Vietnam cluster closely with these cases, too, but for different historical reasons. Cambodia drafted its new labor laws in the 1990s with significant input from the ILO (Bronstein 2005). Vietnam stands apart from the other authoritarian and communist cases in the region; its exceptionalism calls out for deeper analysis. China, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand also cluster together. All except for Thailand are among the most repressive countries in the region, and they combine fairly to highly flexible individual labor rights regulations with low scores on collective labor rights. Such a pattern is not so surprising in nondemocracies, but why does Thailand have more in common with these cases than with its democratic brethren?

Finally, perhaps the most important finding is that stronger laws do not necessarily translate into better rights on the ground. For collective labor rights, democracies enforce their laws more effectively than nondemocracies, but the gap between de jure and de facto collective labor rights is wide. This relationship does not hold for individual rights. For both individual and collective labor rights, enforcement is strongly correlated with income level, with richer countries enforcing their laws more effectively than poor countries. Poor enforcement may be having a more toxic effect on labor rights now than in the past. Before democratization, the weak enforcement of collective labor law in particular was not as serious an issue, since labor laws were repressive. In some countries, such as Indonesia, anecdotal evidence anecdotal evidence,
n information obtained from personal accounts, examples, and observations. Usually not considered scientifically valid but may indicate areas for further investigation and research.
 and research conducted by labor activists suggests that employers have responded to stronger collective and individual labor laws by flexibilizing labor contracts in flagrant violation of the law (Aliansi Serikat Buruh and Forum Pendamping Buruh Nasional 2004; Forum Pendamping Buruh Nasional 2004). Although Indonesian laws have actually increased individual protections, more workers are on short-term contracts than in the past. Flexibility thus enters through the back door of ineffective labor law enforcement, which in turn has affected the organizing efforts of unions (Anner 2008). Not only do unions face greater obstacles in signing up workers---employers may simply refuse to renew the contract of union members--ineffective enforcement also virtually ensures that if they dare to exercise their fights, they will be fired. As countries enact labor laws that provide better guarantees of collective labor fights and stronger protections for individual labor fights, the struggle for effective enforcement becomes paramount.


This appendix briefly outlines how the de jure employment protection (DJEP), the de facto employment protection (DFEP), the de jure collective fights (DJCR), and de facto collective rights (DFCR) indexes are calculated.


The DJEP combines the World Bank's rigidity of employment index (REI) and firing costs into a single index that estimates employment protection. The DJEP for a country, a, is calculated as follows:

[(Ln (firing [costs.sub.a] + 1)/ln (446) * 100) + [REI.sub.a])]/2

Since firing costs in some countries are 0, we added 1 to the firing costs so that natural logs could be calculated. We divided the firing costs for the country by the natural log of the highest firing cost in the world, 446 (Zimbabwe), which yields an estimate of how generous firing costs are in relation to other countries. We then multiplied mul·ti·ply 1  
v. mul·ti·plied, mul·ti·ply·ing, mul·ti·plies
1. To increase the amount, number, or degree of.

2. Mathematics To perform multiplication on.
 this figure by 100 so that firing costs are scaled 0-00, and then averaged it with the REI.


The DFEP incorporates the rule of law (ROL ROL

In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Romanian Leu.

The currency market, also known as the Foreign Exchange market, is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily average volume of over US $1 trillion.
) measure from the World Bank's governance indicators to estimate the impact of enforcement on individual labor rights. The formula is

DFEP = [alpha] * DJEP + ([1 - DJEP] * DJEP + [DJEP.sup.2] * ROL) * (1 -[alpha])

with [alpha] being the weight given to legislation and 1 - [alpha] being the weight given to the interaction of ROL and legislation; [alpha] was set at .33 Since the effect of weak ROL is worse in countries with highly protective laws, countries with high DJEP are penalized pe·nal·ize  
tr.v. pe·nal·ized, pe·nal·iz·ing, pe·nal·iz·es
1. To subject to a penalty, especially for infringement of a law or official regulation. See Synonyms at punish.

 more (proportionately pro·por·tion·ate  
Being in due proportion; proportional.

tr.v. pro·por·tion·at·ed, pro·por·tion·at·ing, pro·por·tion·ates
To make proportionate.
) than those with low DJEP, holding ROL constant.


De jure collective rights are estimated by evaluating the conformity of national labor legislation with Conventions Nos. 87 and 98 on seventeen indicators pertaining per·tain  
intr.v. per·tained, per·tain·ing, per·tains
1. To have reference; relate: evidence that pertains to the accident.

 to freedom of association, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike. We could have added many more indicators in order to be more comprehensive, but our aim was to develop a relatively simple index that arrayed countries accurately. The author consulted labor law texts, supplemented by readings of the secondary literature, to determine scores.

If a country imposes a general prohibition for union formation, collective bargaining, or strikes, it receives the maximum score in that area (15, 10, and 10, respectively) and the subindicators are not coded. The subindicators do not add up to the score for general prohibitions, since the subindicators are not comprehensive. In other words, the three indicators that we use for the right to strike do not exhaust the list of things that are necessary for workers to enjoy full rights in this area, but we do think that they are the most important.

If a country's laws violate the indicator, it is scored 1. The maximum score is 35, with higher scores indicating worse labor rights. The raw score is then scaled to 100 and adjusted so that higher scores reflect stronger labor rights. Coding guidelines guidelines, a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks.
 are available upon request.


To assess de facto collective rights, we incorporated indicators for law enforcement, political climate, and observed violations. Scores for these indicators are added to the DJCR score to produce a DFCR index. As with the DJCR index, the maximum raw score is 35, with lower scores reflecting stronger labor rights. Although no country in this study had a DJCR score of 35, in such an event, the country's DFCR score would also be 35, based on the assumption that if a country's labor laws prohibit all unionization, collective bargaining, and strikes, there are essentially no meaningful labor rights in the country. China, for example, had a raw DJCR score of 17.5, and de facto considerations raised the score to 30.7. In Indonesia, by contrast, the DJCR score is 4.0, indicating very strong labor law, but de facto considerations raise the score to 14.3. As with the DJCR, the raw scores are adjusted to a 0-100 scale with higher scores reflecting stronger labor rights.

Observed violations are scored 1 if they have occurred, 0 if they have not. Sources for scoring violations are the ICFTU Annual Reports, US State Department Annual Human Rights Reports, and ILO Committee on Freedom of Association reports. We include the following violations:

Murder of trade unionists: weight of 2.0

Harassment, intimidation, detention, arrest, or forced exile exile, in politics and government
exile, removal of a national from his or her country, or the civilized parts of it, for a long period of time or for life.
 of trade unionists: weight of 2.0

Unfair labor practices: weight of 2.0

De facto union monopoly: weight of 1.5

Violations of rights to union formation and/or collective bargaining in export processing zones: weight of 2.0

We also incorporated a general enforcement measure by integrating the World Bank's governance indicator ROL into the following formula:

(1 - [35 - DJCR]/35) * (35 - DJCR)/35 + (35 - DJCR)/35 * (35 - DJCR)/35 * (1-ROL) * l0

As with the DFEP index, the ROL formula penalizes countries with strong laws and weak enforcement more than it penalizes countries with weak laws and weak enforcement.

Finally, we integrated Freedom House's indicator for political rights (1-7), and subtracted 1, so that countries deemed the freest would not be penalized.
Appendix Table 1 Weights Given to Criteria

Criteria                                      Weights

Freedom of association

 1.  General prohibitions against
       union formation and activity             15.0
 2.  Administrative or legal hurdles
       to union formation                        1.5
 3.  Limits on kinds of unions or
       worker organizations                      1.5
 4.  Closed shop or other prohibitions
       against union pluralism                   1.5
 5.  Exclusion of sectors or workers
       from union membership                     2.0
 6.  State interference in internal
       union affairs                             1.5
 7.  General prohibition of union or
       federation participation in
       political activities                      1.5
 8.  Non-ratification of ILO
       Convention 87                             0.5

Right to bargain collectively

 9.  General prohibitions                       10.0
10.  Restriction on scope and/or level
       of collective bargaining                  1.5
11.  Other administrative or legal
       hurdles to collective bargaining          1.0
12.  Exclusion of unionized sectors
       from right to bargain collectively        2.0
13.  Nonratification of ILO Convention 98        0.5

Right to strike

14.  General prohibitions                       10.0
15.  Binding arbitration                         1.5
16.  Administrative or legal hurdles
       to right to strike                        1.5
17.  Exclusion of unionized sectors
       from right to strike                      2.0


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  • Richard Mitchell (academic), U.S.
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I would like to thank Katrina Burgess BURGESS. A magistrate of a borough; generally, the chief officer of the corporation, who performs, within the borough, the same kind of duties which a mayor does in a city. In England, the word is sometimes applied to all the inhabitants of a borough, who are called burgesses sometimes it , Stephan Haggard, Barbara Stallings, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on previous versions of this article. Katrina Burgess deserves special thanks for agreeing to let me use the indexes that we developed together.

(1.) All of the indexes in this paper, with the exception of the World Bank's rigidity of employment index (REI), were produced by Katrina Burgess and the author for a cross-regional project on labor standards and labor market flexibility. This project is led by Barbara Stallings.

(2.) For example, the World Bank's "Doing Business" report focuses on individual fights but ignores collective fights. Kucera (2004) and Mosley and Uno (2007) have collected cross-national data on collective fights but not individual fights. Botero et al. (2004) are a partial exception. They have developed an index and collected data for both individual and collective labor laws, but the index for collective laws assesses the extent to which labor laws favor unions over employers. It is not an index of labor fights. For example, their index gives higher scores to countries with labor laws that do not require conciliation procedures prior to striking. Such provisions, however, do not necessarily constitute a violation of labor rights according to the ILO. They violate labor fights only if they prevent workers from striking or result in excessively time-consuming, onerous on·er·ous  
1. Troublesome or oppressive; burdensome. See Synonyms at burdensome.

2. Law Entailing obligations that exceed advantages.
, or complicated procedures for calling a legal strike that in effect make the fight to strike virtually meaningless.

(3.) The "Doing Business" summary data for East Asia and the Pacific includes cases that are not discussed in this chapter--Hong Kong, Brunei, East Timor, Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (păp`ə, –y , Mongolia, and several small Pacific island nations.

(4.) I used online data for 2007 rather than the published report for 2007. There are some differences in the data, and I chose the online data since they have been updated more recently.

(5.) Thailand is categorized cat·e·go·rize  
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.

 as a democracy in this article with some trepidation trepidation /trep·i·da·tion/ (trep?i-da´shun)
1. tremor.

2. nervous anxiety and fear.trep´idant

1. An involuntary trembling or quivering.
. Although the 2006 coup has undoubtedly weakened democracy, elections were held in 2007, and military efforts to thwart the election of Thaksin's supporters failed. Some changes to the constitution have weakened democracy while others have strengthened it (Ockey 2008).

(6.) Outsourcing was limited to security, janitorial, and engineering work, unless the union agreed to permit the outsourcing of additional job categories.

(7.) The list is a mish-mash of white collar and service sector jobs. Many of the categories are broad, such as computing computing - computer  professionals, business professionals, and administrative secretaries and related associate professionals.

(8.) See the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR CEACR Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations ), Direct Requests for Convention No. 87 (2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006), and Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986) Signed into law in 1986, the CFA was a significant step forward in criminalizing unauthorized access to computer systems and networks. The Act applies to "federal interest computers" that include any system used by the U.S. ) Case Nos. 2116, 2236, 2336, and 2441, available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(9.) CEACR Individual Observations on Convention No. 87 (1990-2006), available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(10.) Although South Korea began to permit multiunionism at the industrial and national levels in the late 1990s, twenty years after its transition to democracy South Korea still prohibits multiunionism at the plant level.

(11.) International Labour Organization, CFA Case No. 1865, available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(12.) International Labour Organization, CFA Case No. 2301, available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(13.) International Labour Organization, CFA Case No. 1552, available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(14.) In recent years the bureau has published the report sporadically spo·rad·ic   also spo·rad·i·cal
1. Occurring at irregular intervals; having no pattern or order in time. See Synonyms at periodic.

2. Appearing singly or at widely scattered localities, as a plant or disease.

(15.) International Labour Organization, CFA Case No. 2222, available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(16.) See CEACR Individual Observation (2004, 2005, 2006) and Direct Request (2006) on Convention No. 98. Indonesian law does not prohibit bargaining at higher levels and permits unions to bargain jointly, but it does not lay out a procedure for determining bargaining agents and rights beyond the enterprise level.

(17.) CEACR Individual Observation concerning Convention No. 98 (2000-present).

(18.) CEACR Individual Observation concerning Convention No. 98 (1989-2005). The government has not used this authority in recent years but it retains the right to do so.

(19.) CEACR Individual Observation concerning Convention No. 98 (1998-present).

(20.) International Labour Organization, CFA Case No. 1930, available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(21.) The ILO has analyzed an·a·lyze  
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.

2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.

 this in some detail; see CFA Case 1652 and 1930. The ILO notes that the law does not explicitly state that strikes are illegal, but disputes that remain unresolved Not completed; not finished; not linked together. See resolve.  after conciliation procedures are automatically referred to binding arbitration. A strike is not listed as a recourse The right of an individual who is holding a Commercial Paper, such as a check or promissory note, to receive payment on it from anyone who has signed it if the individual who originally made it is unable, or refuses, to tender payment.  of action for resolving a labor dispute.

(22.) Data on strikes are available in the LABORSTA database: http:// For Indonesia, strike data were obtained from www.nakertrans, 14,naker Na´ker

n. 1. (Zool.) Same as Nacre.
1. A kind of kettledrum.
 (accessed January 29, 2009).

(23.) Data on Malaysia and Thailand are taken from LABORSTA.

(24.) International Labour Organization, CFA Case Nos. 2031 and 2189, available at (accessed January 29, 2009).

(25.) Under section 314 of South Korea's Criminal Code, workers participating in strikes can be arrested and prosecuted on charges of "obstruction of business."

Teri L. Caraway is associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota (body, education) University of Minnesota - The home of Gopher.

Address: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
. She is the author of Assembling Women: The Feminization feminization /fem·i·ni·za·tion/ (fem?i-ni-za´shun)
1. the normal development of primary and secondary sex characters in females.

2. the induction or development of female secondary sex characters in the male.
 of Global Manufacturing (2007) and numerous journal articles. Her current research focuses on labor rights, comparative labor politics, and gender and comparative politics.
Table 1 Hiring, Firing, and Hours: East Asia and the World (2007)

                      Difficulty   Rigidity   Difficulty   Rigidity of
                      of Hiring    of Hours   of Firing    Employment
                       (0-100)     (0-100)     (0-100)       (0-100)

Cambodia                  56          60          30           49
China                     11          20          40           24
Indonesia                 61          20          50           44
Laos                      11          40          50           34
Malaysia                   0           0          30           10
Philippines               56          20          30           35
Singapore                  0           0           0            0
South Korea               11          60          30           34
Taiwan                    78          40          40           53
Thailand                  33          20           0           18
Vietnam                    0          20          40           20
Average                   29          27          31           29
World                     32          37          31           33
Middle East and
  North Africa            22          40          32           31
Latin America
  and Caribbean           35          33          26           31
South Asia                28          18          38           28
Africa                    41          43          42           42
East Asia and
  Pacific (a)             20          19          19           19
Low-income                39          42          36           39
Lower-middle-income       34          36          33           34
Upper-middle-income       29          35          31           31

Source: World Bank 2007.

Notes: (a) This grouping includes all of the countries in the
top part of the table as well as Hong Kong, East Timor, Mongolia,
Brunei, Papua New Guinea, and several small Pacific island nations.

Table 2 De Jure Employment Protection: East Asia and the World (2007)

                                                     De Jure
                         Rigidity of    Cost of    Employment
                         Employment     Firing     Protection
                           (0-100)     (in weeks)    (0-100)

Democracies                  37            87         55
  Indonesia                  44           108         60
  Philippines                35            91         55
  South Korea                34            91         54
  Taiwan                     53            91         64
  Thailand                   18            54         42
Semidemocracies              20            39         36
  Cambodia                   49            39         55
  Malaysia                   10            75         40
  Singapore                   0             4         13
Authoritarian                26            66         46
  China                      24            91         49
  Laos                       34            19         42
  Vietnam                    20            87         47
Region                       29            68         49 (a)
By income category in
  East Asia (b)
  Low-income                 34            48         48
  Lower-middle-income        30            86         51
    and higher               24            65         43
World                        33            48         48
Middle East and
  North Africa               31            54         48
Latin America and
  Caribbean                  31            55         49
South Asia                   28            65         48
Africa                       42            68         56
East Asia and Pacific        19            38         40
Low-income                   39            62         53
Lower-middle-income          34            50         49
Upper-middle-income          31            40         46

Source: World Bank 2007.

Notes: (a) This figure is not an average of the column. Since
the DJEP formula has a log transformation of firing costs, the
regional average is calculated by putting the regional average
firing costs and regional average REI into the DJEP formula. A
simple average of the column would be 47.

(b) Low-income countries are Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam;
lower-middle-income countries are China, Indonesia, the
Philippines, and Thailand; and upper-middle-income and above
are Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Table 3 De Jure and De Facto Employment Protection:
East Asia and the World (2007)

                        De Jure      De Facto
                      Employment    Employment
                      Protection    Protection    Percent
                        (0-100)       (0-100)     Change

Democracies               55            45          18
  Indonesia               60            44          27
  Philippines             55            43          22
  South Korea             54            47          13
  Taiwan                  64            54          15
  Thailand                42            36          14
Semidemocracies           36            30          17
  Cambodia                55            40          26
  Malaysia                40            36          10
  Singapore               13            13           1
Authoritarian             46            37          19
  China                   49            40          19
  Laos                    42            34          19
  Vietnam                 47            38          18
Region                    49            41          16
By income category
 in East Asia (a)
Low-income                48            37          21
Lower-middle-income       51            41          20
 and higher               43            38          10

Source: World Bank 2007.

Note: (a) Low-income countries are Cambodia, Laos, and
Vietnam; lower-middle-income countries are China, Indonesia,
the Philippines, and Thailand; and upper-middle-income and
above are Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Table 4 Collective Labor Rights in East Asia, 2006

                   De Jure

Democracies           73
  Indonesia           89
  Philippines         74
  South Korea         71
  Taiwan              69
  Thailand            63
Semidemocracies       72
  Cambodia            90
  Malaysia            55
  Singapore           70
Authoritarian         45
  Burma                0
  China               50
  Laos                53
  Vietnam             77
Region                69

Table 5 Unionization Rates: East Asia

                    1995 (as        2000 (as
                  percentage of     percentage   Legal Right
                 nonagricultural    of total      to Form
                    workforce)      workforce)     Unions

  Indonesia             2.6                        High
  Philippines          22.8            12.3        High
  South Korea           9.0            11.8        Medium
  Taiwan               27.9                        Low
  Thailand              3.1                        Low
  Cambodia                              1.0        High
  Malaysia             11.7             8.3        Low
  Singapore            13.5            15.7        Low
  China                54.7                        Medium
  Vietnam                              10.0        High

Sources: The 1995 data are from the International Labour
Organization (1997); the 2000 data are from the Foreign
Labor Trends reports prepared by the US Department of Labor.

Table 6 De Facto Labor Rights: East Asia (2000-2006)

                             Harassment,      Unfair     De Facto
                            Intimidation,     Labor       Union
Country            Murder     Detention     Practices    Monopoly

  Indonesia                     X (b)           X
  Philippines        X          X               X
  South Korea        X          X               X
  Taiwan                        X               X
  Thailand           X          X               X
  Cambodia           X          X               X
  Malaysia                      X               X
  Singapore                     X                           X
  China                         X               X           X
  Laos                                                      X
  Vietnam                       X               X           X

                 Violations    Rule    Political
Country           in EPZs     of Law   Rights (a)

Democracies                             Average:
  Indonesia                     20         2
  Philippines        X          39         3
  South Korea                   73         1
  Taiwan                        79         1
  Thailand                      57         3
Semidemocracies                         Average:
  Cambodia                      11         6
  Malaysia           X          66         4
  Singapore                     96         5
Authoritarian                           Average:
  China                         41         7
  Laos                          12         7
  Vietnam                       42         7

                  De Jure     Change
Country            Score     in Score

Democracies         73.0        27.3
  Indonesia         88.6        29.5
  Philippines       74.3        38.5
  South Korea       70.7        22.8
  Taiwan            68.6        16.7
  Thailand          62.9        29.1
Semidemocracies     71.7        34.0
  Cambodia          90.0        48.4
  Malaysia          55.0        29.7
  Singapore         70.0        24.0
Authoritarian       60.0        36.2
  China             50.0        37.7
  Laos              52.9        27.6
  Vietnam           77.1        43.3

Sources: Data from ICFTU annual country reports, US Department
of State country reports on human rights, and ILO Committee on
Freedom of Association reports.

Notes: High scores on rule of law indicate strong rule of law,
low scores equal weak rule of law.

(a) Freedom House's political rights scores range from 1 to 7. Low
scores denote strong political rights, high scores weak political

(b) X denotes that a violation has occurred in that area. Countries
with an "X" for violations in EPZs have greater obstacles to freedom of
association, collective bargaining, and the right to strike than are
prevalent outside the zones. If violations are just as bad there as in
the rest of the country, it is not marked.
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Author:Caraway, Teri L.
Publication:Journal of East Asian Studies
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:May 1, 2009
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