Colloquium speaker Shannon Gleeson: "Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston."
from 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM
In this talk I examine how advocates are working to enforce the rights of Latino immigrant workers. Much of the research on rights implementation tends to focus on the role of state actors and the importance of bureaucratic discretion in activating formal rights. However, rather than view rights as self-propelled imperatives pre-determined solely by the law, my analysis highlights the complexity of the enforcement process and the variety of actors implicated in struggles for immigrant workers’ rights. My work hones in on the relationship between the federal and state labor standards enforcement apparatus, as well as local government actors, civic groups, and even consular representatives who play an especially important role in enforcing the rights of foreign nationals. I draw on the experience of advocates in San Jose, CA and Houston, TX, two traditional immigrant destinations with radically different policy structures and political cultures for enforcing immigrant worker rights. In particular, I emphasize the importance of strategic alliances in contexts where the usual suspects are absent or weak, and where alternative solutions become vital.