Anner

Mark Anner

Affiliations
Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science Director, Center for Global Workers’ Rights, Pennsylvania State University
Areas of Expertise:
  • International Development
  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Jobs & Workers
  • Unions & the Labor Movement

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About Mark

Anner’s research examines international labor solidarity in the Americas, apparel global supply chains, and corporate social responsibility. He also has studied labor law enforcement in Latin America and the limits of Corporate Social Responsibility programs, specifically in the area of Freedom of Association rights. His current research project examines the wildcat strike wave in Vietnam. Mark Anner has collaborated with the Worker Rights Consortium and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity on global workers’ rights projects. He has worked for many years as an advisor to the International Solidarity Section of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions. He also was a union organizer for a brief period of time in Boston, and he spent eleven years working with labor unions and labor research centers in El Salvador. He has been an expert witness in the U.S. on Salvadoran labor unionist asylum cases, and he is currently involved in a court case charging a high-ranking ex-military colonel, Inocente Montano, with responsibility in human rights abuses that Anner and his labor union colleagues suffered during El Salvador’s civil war.

Podcast

Publications

"Meeting the Challenges of Industrial Restructuring: Labor Reform and Enforcement in Latin America" Latin American Politics and Society 50, no. 2 (2008): 33-65.
Presents the limitations to Latin America’s post-democratization labor reforms, which, despite some legal modifications that strengthened collective labor rights, failed to take into consideration the challenges presented by international economic restructuring and to provide adequate enforcement mechanisms.
"The Impact of International Outsourcing on Unionization and Wages: Evidence from the Apparel Export Sector in Central America" Industrial & Labor Relations Review 64, no. 2 (2011): 305-322.
Illustrates, using time-series data on wages and unionization rates, how outsourcing hurts labor at the plant-level in the global apparel industry by reducing labor’s strike leverage and by increasing labor costs relative to total costs, which creates an incentive for employers to keep wages low and unions out.
Solidarity Transformed: Labor's Responses to Globalization and Crisis in Latin America (Cornell University Press, 2011).
Argues that global supply chain governance, state structures, and labor ideologies shape four major worker responses to globalization, which vary between progressive forms of labor transnationalism and regressive labor-employer domestic pacts.
"Corporate Social Responsibility and Freedom of Association Rights: The Precarious Quest for Legitimacy and Control in Global Supply Chains" Politics & Society 40, no. 1 (2012): 604-639.
Finds that, based on the author’s coding of 805 factory audits by the Fair Labor Association, corporate-influenced Corporate Social Responsibility programs perform particularly poorly in the area of Freedom of Association rights due to corporate desire to control labor in their supply chains.
"Workers’ Power in Global Value Chains: Fighting Sweatshop Practices at Russell, Nike and Knights Apparel" in Transnational Trade Unionism: Building Union Power, edited by Peter Fairbrother, Marc-Antonin Hennebert and Christian Lévesque (Routledge, 2013), 23-41.
Suggests nuances to four forms of worker power in the global economy – structural, associational, symbolic, and political – and illustrates how they interacted to account for local and transnational activist campaigns to ensure unionization rights in Russell Athletic production facilities in Honduras.
"Towards Joint Liability in Global Supply Chains: Addressing the Root Causes of Labor Violations in International Subcontracting Networks" (with Jennifer Bair and Jeremy Blasi). Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal (forthcoming).
Finds that the root causes of many systemic violations of workers' rights in apparel industry global supply chains are tied to corporate sourcing and pricing practices, and argues that it is thus necessary for corporations to be part of a collective bargaining process with labor and suppliers.

In the News

Mark Anner quoted on worker safety in Tripti Lahiri, "One Chart Shows the Pressure from the Global Supply Chain That Imperils Garment Workers" Quartz, April 26, 2018.
Mark Anner quoted on workers' rights and safety in Steven Greenhouse, "Too Often, Workers Speak Loudest from the Grave" CNN, April 25, 2018.
Interview on worker rights in BangladeshMark Anner, GQ, April 24, 2018.
Mark Anner quoted on labour reform in Jasmin Malik Chua, "Speed is Key in Reforming Bangladesh's RMG Sector" Just-Style, April 23, 2018.
Mark Anner quoted on worker safety in Nadra Nittle, "What the Rana Plaza Disaster Changed about Worker Safety" Racked, April 13, 2018.
Mark Anner quoted in Tanushri Sundar, "University Study Suggests Compliance with Labor Standards Benefits Companies" Brown Daily Herold, February 12, 2018.
Mark Anner's research on a decline in apparel prices discussed in "American Retailers Lowering Prices of Bangladeshi Apparel," Daily Star, June 26, 2015.
Mark Anner quoted on violations to workers’ rights in El Salvador in Matt Swayne, "Global Competition Drives Sweatshop Conditions" Centre Daily Times, April 25, 2015.
Mark Anner quoted on the challenges to rights and fair practices that factory workers face in A'ndrea Elyse Messe, "El Salvadoran Workers Face Triple Threat to Securing Better Treatment" Phys.org, February 11, 2015.
Mark Anner's research on global workers' rights and experience with labor unions in El Salvador discussed in Rosemarie Anner. Mark Anner, "Greenwich Mother Recalls Horror of a Son in Peril in a Dangerous Land," Greenwich Time, October 30, 2014.