Down But Not Out: The Recovery of a Downsized Labor Movement in Argentina (2002-2006)



The shift from state-led ISI to more market-oriented economic models often has the result of shrinking and demobilizing the labor movement. Yet, evidence from Argentina suggests that a subsequent resurgence of even a down-sized labor movement may occur and furthermore that “neocorporatist” patterns may be established in the new economic context. We examine the recent resurgence of the Argentine labor movement and the establishment of a new form of interest intermediation, more akin to that in the more coordinated economies in Europe than to either liberal or traditional populist forms. We argue that the emergence of such a pattern may be driven by economic and political factors that are both immediate and longer-term. In addition to the short-term condition of the labor market and the political strategy of the government in power, of longerterm importance are structural and institutional conditions that derive from the earlier process of market reform, specifically the nature of sectoral shifts in the economy and the degree of labor law deregulation affecting the ”associational power” of unions.