Industrial Citizenship, Social Citizenship, Corporate Citizenship: I Just Want My Wages

Guy Mundlak


The Article critically examines the adaptation of citizenship rights to industrial relations and labor law. Starting with T.H. Marshall’s discussion of industrial citizenship, the Article examines the coupling of industrial citizenship with trade unions. While Marshall’s concept of industrial citizenship may seem to be in decline, other labor market institutions are trying to bridge the divide between citizenship and labor rights: workplace democracy, which assumes the constituency of workers in the corporation; and corporate citizenship, which is used to entrust corporations with obligations that are traditionally expected of human citizens. Citizenship’s contribution to the analysis of labor market institutions lies in the emphasis on the public nature of workers’ rights, in the association of rights with obligations, and in the emphasis on active participation. However, citizenship also has "blind spots" that other theories address more coherently. Human rights are a preferred concept for distinguishing fundamental rights (including rights of citizenship) from "ordinary" rights. Labor rights are more effective in identifying power structures that citizenship rights may overlook. Consequently, the concept of citizenship may compromise workers’ capacity to negotiate fair remuneration, protection from dismissal and the dignity of labor.

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