Mark Anner

Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science Director, Center for Global Workers’ Rights, Pennsylvania State University
Chapter Member: Central Pennsylvania SSN
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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.

In the News

Quoted by Steven Greenhouse in "Too Often, Workers Speak Loudest from the Grave," CNN, April 25, 2018.
Quoted by Jasmin Malik Chua in "Speed is Key in Reforming Bangladesh's RMG Sector," Just-Style, April 23, 2018.
Quoted by Nadra Nittle in "What the Rana Plaza Disaster Changed about Worker Safety," Racked, April 13, 2018.
Quoted by Tanushri Sundar in "University Study Suggests Compliance with Labor Standards Benefits Companies," Brown Daily Herold, February 12, 2018.
Research discussed by "American Retailers Lowering Prices of Bangladeshi Apparel," Daily Star, June 26, 2015.
Quoted by A'ndrea Elyse Messe in "El Salvadoran Workers Face Triple Threat to Securing Better Treatment,", February 11, 2015.
Research discussed by Rosemarie Anner, in "Greenwich Mother Recalls Horror of a Son in Peril in a Dangerous Land," Greenwich Time, October 30, 2014.
Opinion: "Penn State Should Suspend Its Contract with Adidas in Support of Workers' Rights," Mark Anner, Daily Collegian, March 11, 2013.


"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.

"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.