Labor Standards in International Supply Chains

Labor Standards in International Supply Chains

Aligning Rights and Incentives

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Labor Standards in International Supply Chains examines developments in working conditions over the past thirty years. The authors analyze the stakeholders and mechanisms that create challenges and opportunities for improving labor rights around the world, in sectors including apparel, footwear and electronics. Extended examples from China, Honduras, Bangladesh and the United States, as well as new quantitative evidence, illustrate the complex dynamics within and among key groups, including brands, suppliers, governments, workers and consumers.

Chapter 6: The United States in the struggle for labor standards

Daniel Berliner, Anne Regan Greenleaf, Milli Lake, Margaret Levi and Jennifer Noveck

Subjects: politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, social policy and sociology, labour policy


While US workers are generally better off than their counterparts in developing countries, the United States is a case of rollback of hard-won labor victories, rights, and protections. It is a reminder that changes in the balance of power and alignment of interests within and across clusters does not always signal improvements in labor rights; indeed, some changes have the opposite effect. Simultaneously, the United States is the location of some of the most forceful and successful instances of campaigns to raise labor standards in global supply chains elsewhere in the world. This chapter sets out to explain why the alignment of interests is so different and has such different consequences for labor rights in the United States and in developing countries.

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