Strike, state and territory: The geography of strikes in Chile

Strike, state and territory: The geography of strikes in Chile

Año de inicio: 2016
In Process
The objective is to understand territorial determinants that affect labor conflict. Specifically, the researchers will explore the economic and government penetration aspects at the territorial level that affect the frequency and characteristics of labor strikes. The specific objectives of the project are: (a) to determine the effect of various territorial economic and political factors on the frequency of strikes; (b) to determine the effect of various economic and political territorial factors on the characteristics of strikes; and (c) to explore the mechanisms through which the characteristics of the territory modify the tactics and strategies employed by strike participants.


The discussion regarding the situation of strike conflict in Chile has centered on the distinction between legal strikes, which are framed by regulated collective bargaining processes, and extralegal strikes, which are conducted outside of that framework (OHL, 2015; Medel et al., 2016).  In this regard, researchers have tried to explain the growth of the extralegal strike through legal arguments, based on the elevated “proceduralization” of the exercise of the right to strike (Ugarte, 2008), its restrictive general framework (Gamonal, 2013) or its restriction on union freedom in that it limits options to regulated collective bargaining (Rojas, 2007; Caamaño, 2008). On the other hand, attention has been paid to worker organization characteristics such as their level of politicization, their organizational strength and their capacity to mobilize workers (Velásquez, Medel and Pérez, 2016).  However, none of these approaches takes up the unequal geographic distribution of the many characteristics of strikes.


A mixed design will be used for the research.  On the one hand, quantitative methods will be used through the COES Labor Strike Database 2010-2015, to model the role of the territory and the communes’ characteristics in trends of strikes in Chile.  Combining hierarchical and survival models and spatial econometric techniques (LeSage and Pace, 2009), the researchers will seek to explain the frequency and characteristics of strikes.  The analysis will be complemented by in-depth interviews with union leaders in the context of FONDECYT Project 1150860, which covers Regions IV, V, VI, VIII and the Metropolitan Region of Chile.  Special attention will be paid to regional differences and references to territorial characteristics and the presence of the state in the definition of workers’ tactics and strategies in the analysis of these interviews.

Start Date: August 2016.