Created: 9/1/1982

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Organized Labor in Brazil |

A Rnarch Paptt




Organized Ubor

in Brazil

r nnliJ/fi,,:

For years Brazilian labor was co-opicd politically by ihe governmeni. Specific measures and corporatisl policies lo ensure thai il would nutallying point for dissidence keptelatively safe vassal of thc slalc. The mililary regime ihai came io poweroreover, only reinforced ihe corporaiisi labor tradition of predecessor civilian governments.

Beginningowever, the broader process of abenura (or Brazilian political liberalization) and ihe gradual erosion of ihe corporatistof labor relations led lo changes in ihe way the central governmeni dcali with lubor. Asa result, thereeturn io high levels of strikes and the emergence of some independent labor lenders who had the capacity to mobilize worker protest. Thus:

truck successfully in record numbers for higher wages and bciier working conditions and 'li'monsiraled their capacity to pressure government and business.

- Unions, particularly those belonging lo key economic sectors in urban areas, took concrete actions io influence government policies and to promote labor unity.

last year convened the first Conference of the Working Classes io plan ihe formation oru singl- labor con federalove ihe regime connisicnifyxposed und considers illegal.

As the crucial November elections approach, labor is poised to play iu mosi direct role in ihe political process in almost twoewworkers' pariy, ledharismatic former union chief, is actively seeking ioabor constituency with the help of influential elements within ihe Calholie Church. Other newly formed political parties also are wooing labor and claiming io represent its interests.

Labor, in spile or its longer lerm potential io emergeorce of nalio-a) influence, still faces important challenges such as:

The legacy of Brazils corporatisl labor tradition.

Lack or labor uniiy. broadly based leadership, and common political ground.

The regime's sensitivity io ihe potential political aclivism of workers.

Rank-and-file concern thai open pursuitolitical role couldrecent gains.

Because of these challenges, we do not expect thai organized labor will make uny substantial inroads inio ihe political process. Still, ihe experience of greater activity in the political process will probably build

confidence and establish precedentsidei tole in future years, achievements lhal could have substantial importance should abxnura being even more opportunities for cooperation with other sectors of society.

Irrespective of how labor's role evolves in the short andm. we expect (hat tlx re willenerally higher incidence of strikes in this decade than ineriod. The government probably will remain more tolerant of strikes if they emphasize legitimate bread-and-butter issues and avoid political ones, and labor therefore will noi be as reluctanttrike as in (heabor factiousness in any particular year will tend to be driven by (he conditions of the economy.

As opporiunitics permit, labor will continue to broaden its rote by becoming more representative of workers, organizing itself more effective' ly, entering the political arena on labor-related issues, andore effective dialogue with management.




and the State

The Oebel Government

Figuciredo Governmeni New Wage Law

I9S0trike Conference of the Working Classes


Importance of CONCLAT II

and Society



Catholic Church 8






of Brazilian Labor



This researchomponcni of ihe DDI Priority Research Issues, is the most recent contributioneries of building-block papers that examines factors influencing political stability in Brazil. We believe Ihe future direction and role of Brazil's evolving labor movement arc key factors in assessing the prospects for political stability in Brazil. Labor is. however, only one of several elements that are likely to affect Ihc course oft.

Orsani/et^Uhor In Bra/ifl

ong period of relative dormancy. Brani's fledgling labor movement is slowly broadening its politicalevelopmentesult of ihe government's gradual liberalization policies. As the crucial November electionslevel of elective office will be contested and the results will influence the presidential succession inis potted to play its most direct political role in two decades. Al the same time, the traditional corporatisi relations between labor, business, and government are eroding, and less paternalistic ones are evolving. The political effects of these complex and interrelated changes are beginning to appear, but labor still has to contend with constraints on lis political role and on its abilily to change the structure of labor relations.

Ilhe netl several

years may be erueiai tn determining the longer term shape and direction of the Brazilian labor movement. To evaluate that view, this paper examines the in-craned aclitixm uf liibur and Inbor's reunions wiih various sectors ofstale, business, the church, political parlies, and the radical left. In so doing, it assesses the prospects for laboraclor for political change in (he context of Ihe upcomingand the longer term process of political liberalization.

l-aboi and (he StaU

Authoritarian military ruleung tradition of state dorruMtioa of labororporatisi system ha. precluded labor's emergencenified political force capable of challenging ihe regime The virtual eicluuon of labor from ihc political processta tied from deli Urate government actions Unable to act aulueturvaotitlyressure group or to influence government poltcict uibauntial-ly. Hrarilun labor failed iu evolve significantly in tuial orerm, until resent I)

Sincencsloodest liberalization program, however. Brazil hatignificant evolutionore open and responsive political system. Wc believe President Jcao Figueircdo, inaugurated inas reinforced this process and improved Ihc prospectsivilian successor when he steps down inpecific actions undertaken by Figueircdo to promote liberalirationroad amnesty for political prisoners andew law permitting more political parties: relaxation of restrictions on media, student and labor activities: and the first popular

Labor haseneficiary ofbe rait rat ton policies.8 labor has been increasingly active in criticizingpolicies, promoting its economic and political interests, cooperating with other lectors of society, and questioning the corporatisi model of laborLabor's relations with the state, however, re-nmhi Ihe pndominutu factor thaplng the movenieniN role in society and determining its future direction.

The Cebel

The US Embassy and most observers agree that an illegal strike in8 by Sao Pauloas Brazil's best organized and mosta period of new activism bylabor. For the first timeegmcnt of the labor movement successfully challenged the government in support of wage demands and obtained forettlement substantially exceeding the official index. Government and management accepted negotiated settlements and did not attempt to enforce the amistrike provisions of the labor code. Similar strikes look placeainly in the metallurgical industry of Sao Paulo, and were settled on the same ban*.


Labor Organization and Characieeluici

diversity exists within organised labor, both geographically and by lector The movementinorityodern-minded industrial workers who* outlook often commit sharply with that of ihe mrjeeii, of workers who art mil tied lo trod-Homal values The Industrial workers, who Oft em-plo,ed b, largeaie entities, and modern motionalfirms, are concentrated in about JOO unions mainly in southeast Braiil. They or, vocal, well organised, and politically conscious, bui not representative of laborhole

OfS nates, severalisproportion-alt number of labor unions and union members Sao Paulo and Rio dt Janeiro, ft* example, together ronialn more than half ofonagrlcultural union workers, while Rio Grande do Sul. Pa-ana. and Cea'o contain mote than one-third of union workers in agriculture Almtul half of urban unions ate located in three nPaulo. Rio Grande do Sul. Rio 4ea similar percentage id rural unions art situated In five states

abor development has thus been shaped by regional Influemrs. lie Sao Paulo area, whichfor about half of national industrial output and employment. Is the hub of the labor movement. Tht Sao Paulo unions, moreover, are sufficiently large and well organized to provide its leaders wiih an Independent base; they are likely lo continue playing Ihe definitive role In labor development. The Rio dt Janeiro area, perhaps because of an economic base of commerce and tourism. Is least militant and eshibtts ihe pettiest conformity to the laboroutlined by ihe labor code.

labor relations la the south, which comprises the states of Santa Catatina. Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul. are eharacieritedigh level of labor awartneit and relatively sophisticated un jos. The Rio Grande do Sul area, moreover, reflecti the regions greater luropean tradition an* demography. By contrail, unions In northeast Braiil generally operate within the corpoeotist structure, with rural, agricultural workers outnumbering those in urban areut

The majority of workers do not belongnions As9 total union membership wai almoii 9or roughly one-fifth of ihe approximatelyillion in ihe labor force. Satlonwtde population0 was estimatedillion Ofnion rani and file, however lets than half pay union dues in addition to the mandatory lai collectedhe,

More than twtce as many persons work in nonagricul-lural occupations as those In agriculture. Theof union members in agriculture, however. Is about equal to the number In all the nonagricultural sectors combined The number of women making up Ihe labor force has Increased steadilyO and now stands al almost iO p. rent, but the number of female union workers npfUfatt onlyf the labor force andercent of total union membership

The labor code created ih'ee hierarchical le+rls of orgamiaiua. The smduato"or union local usually

pecific sector (for esampit.transport! In one or more countlti. It provides social welfare services and dealt with workplace grievances. The federation generally Is composed of at least five "slndicaios" in the same siaie.are national bodies and are composed of at least three federations. The loiter two organizations deal mainly with political and administrative matters and usually have close contact with Labor Ministry officials.

Ashe governmentnions. HI federal ions,onfederations lie spue this organisation, however,elativelyand difficult to mobthteroad scale. Only the Notional Confederation of Agricultural Workers has real control over Hi membershipagricultural worker! traditionally have been leu politically aware and militant than their counterparts.

( MiQnentlfll

Geisel liiivcrnmcol respondedeasured way byeerc? in8 recognizingertain legal prohibitions on sirikes were inetTLCiivc and unrealisiic. Although the decree continued to ban walkouts in particularutilities and healthrecognized the legitimacy of sirikes. The Geiscl governmeni later made clear ii would tolerate strikes as long as ihey were:

Limited lo nonessential sectors.


Focused on breod-and-buiicr objccllv?*.

Nonpolilical and nonideological.

Not seeking the support of unions In unrelated sectors.

The faci that8 sirikes and almost all subsc-qucm one* adhered to the criteria established by Brasilia almost certainly influenced the government's moderate stance and helped labor's cause Even so.egime that had routinely and harshly stifled worker protest. Ihe toleration of strikes represcnicd achange.

The Flgueiredo Govern inctti

In ihe pasi three years, organized labor hasBrasiliaegree unprecedentedoreover,esult of the government'* evolving liberaon measures and ihe relaxation of controls on labor activities, labor in general has beenaggressive and vocal in defending its economic interests. Despite ihe challenge, Brasilia has generally responded wilh moderation. Indeed, government spokesmen frequently have cited labor activism as an inevitable and positive resultore open political system.

President Flgueiredo, the fifth retired general to rule Brazilajor ttrike upon taking office inwo days before histhe metalworkers' unions in Sao Paulo weni on strike aflcr failing ioew contract The strike lastedays andorkerslams.

Labor Minister Murilks Maccdo eventuallywith ihe striking unions, replacing their chiefs by invoking ihe labor code. The governmenipcrmiiicd the deposed leaders to continuefor ihe unions,ompromise was finally


achievedovernmeni-imposed cooimg-offBrasilia later allowed Ihe union chiefs to rcassumc iheir posls. however, reinforcing labor's belief thai strikes could be usedargulmng tool

Figuciredo* firsi year in office wnncused moieirikes in jusi ihe first two month*or theal any time sinceOn May Day. for example, rallies were held in mayor cities for theime smkc theO.OOO aitrrrdcca in Sao Paulo alone For Ibe moat part, ihealaaosi invariably over economiccre Killed without significant public inconvenience and in many cases on term* decidedly favoring labor Brands approvedmenu in excess of the inflation rate because unci had been Held down over the year*

Vi. *faf* Law. The ligueircdo government'* ilratc-gy in [he face ol Ihe wave of strikes9ixture of pragmatism und some genuinefrom (he heavy handedness of the past. This attitude was reflected in ihe new nalionul wage legislation promulgated by Brasilia in November

hich was designed lu

Bring labor peace through higher salanc*.

ravor Ihe lowesi puid workers.

Undercut the poaiiton of union thief* in wage negotiations.

The wage law. still in forte, grants aulornaiic ivicc->early increases basedovernment inflation index, under ilie old legislation, wages were adjusted annually. The lowest paid workers now receive raises slightly above ihe rate of milat-jn. while (he best paid workers are graaied increases slightly below icerate. In addition, workers are permitted io ncgoti-ale directly with management for further increases based on productivity.

The new wage policy ha* contributedemarkable reduction of strikes and labor agnation. Major sirikes, foe example, fell fiom JJO90 and onlyasi year according io the unions' staiislical bureau. Rising unemployment laterin ihe industrial sector, also actedeterrent


Real Minimum Waal- Trend* in Sao Paulo and Rio dt Janeiro

2 Unemployment

iljitxifBi.lan run I'll


strikes, bul we believe ibe government's wage policy was the first factorave an impact.

Aspects of ibe wage policy, however, haveource of continuing controversy between Planning Minister Antonio Delfim Nedoand someon one side, and Labor Minister Macedo on ihe other. Delfim Nelio and his supporters claim ihe law is inflationary and imprecise regarding Increases in productivity, and have sought to modify il. The Labor Minister, on ibe other hand, hasso far(he policy as socially just and politically wise. Although President Figuciredo has ihus far sided with the Labor Ministry, pressures from certain business sectors and (he Planningarc building againsi parts of Ihe wage policy and we believe modifieaiurns are possible afier thein November.

0 Metalworkers' Strike. Despite its beneficial effect in significantly reducing ihe number of sirikes. the wage law did not prevent one of Braiil's most controversial and well-publicizedsis-week walkout byao Paulo metalworkers in the spring0 ihai was actively supported by ihe church. The strike amply demonsiraied ihe potential of organized labor in important sector*onfront management and (he government andeighten tensionsangerous level. Bui i> iltodsincnstraied Brasilia's firm opposition to what ii regarded a* politically motivated labor activism and itsto confront the challenge

The metalworkers, mostly frwn Sao Paulo's industrialilkcd off (he jobpcrccni wage increase beyond (he scheduled aulonulic adjust-men I. Management. wilh the concurrence of Brasilia,ercent. Led by Brazil's most prominent labor figure, Sao Bernardo union chief Luis Inacio da Silva (bciier known ashe metalworkers held huge rallies and marches almost dally lo pressure management and the government to give in.

Lula's rule in the wage negoiiaiions complicated the situation. He wo! removed by (he governmeni from his post9 for leadingday strike bui was permitted later to rcassume the presidency of his union.owever, statements of some workers indicated an underlying question about whether he was acting in their interests when he excessively dragged out the negoiiaiions. Many media observers and labor leaders believe Lulu overplayed his hand by holding out for unreasonable terms to enhance his political image. (He was then in ihe midst ofa Worker's PartylPTland utilized ihe publicity lo gain national exposure.!

Following unsuccessful mediation efforts and aboor court decision pronouncing the strike illegal, Brasilia arrested Lula and other anion leaders and permanently removed ihcm from their push. Under the Naiional Security Law. ihey were iricd and convicted for inciting workers to strike, bul remained free until ihe conviction was successfully appealed. Although labor's political activity, which roseith the emergence of Lula,noticeably In ihe aftermath of his displacement, events of the past year have again rekindled labor's political involvement.

Con/rrtrntr of thelaws. The level of union activism and rhetoricew high inhen moreorker-delegates attended the first Conference of ihe Working Classeshe meeting was organized lo forge labor umiy, io bring union concerns to Brasilia's attention, and lo Lay ihe gioundwurk foringle national labor confederationlthough ihe conference failed lo fosteractually underscored divisions it nevertheless demonstrated thai diverse union leaders with conflicting interests want to work for common goals.

The conference leveled the standard charge* atprotested unemployment and ihe cost of living, called for reforms in agrarian and social security programs, and demanded job security. Mom of Ihe discussion, however, focused on ibe advssabiliiy ofatiossal strike and how to proceed with the establishment offter much debute. CONCLAT agreed tonational day of protest" and to simultaneouslya list of labor demandsrasilia,esponse requested byovember.

The "naiional day of protest" failed to produce significantations.erson* gathered in Sao Paulo andeaceful rally. Catherines in other ciiies were disappointing The efforts of Lata and caber Labor leaders, moreover.ersonalty present demands to acting President Aurcluno Chaves were unsuccessful.esult, labort ciovember toeneralnstead decided io debate the question further aid to prepare for CONCLAT II, originally scheduled for2

The low-key. almost restrained nature of Ihemeeting in our view reflected rank-and-file fears of ibe cffccti of the 'eccssicet that has gripped Brazil! Alihortgk sriiny workers remainedwith working conditions, wages, and general government policies. Ihe primary goal of the rank and file in the face of massive layoffs and highwas andretention

rieiy of pubiWed auosati mkc dear tkat CONCLAT brought into the open dhvrgenoet aiihia labor on thru sod other auci The iiucm affiliated with LaU aad his PT. wwh are luppoiled by the Catholic Church, favorad (he indrpndrncc of uniom aad nerr castiouiinal, strike The rrewdeni ol the Confederation of Agricultural Workers. Sea* Franrbeu da Silva. aad the pmtdeni of lit sao Paulodcrauoa. Soaejrm do* Stnlca Andraoc. Ltd the forces -hied luppsriru ihe outlet lion of uatomeneral nrik* Although modern* vcwci dominated CONCLAT. radical elcesenu "ere pineal ia force and worked cacigdMntly io influent* ihr conference Gioupa *ueh at (he Br miniCommtaitt Panyke Convnaoin Paily or Braii! IPC do Bl and theiotultoarii)

Mmceuni |MR-Rx tucfuilod di Silas and Actodc lo danlniih

nnuioer Thernmcn. bslieving thai the Lula-churck alliance tvied gteaurrciicillyumacr of net* boliler ihe tadieal force*


Fit tmpotu-xtCONCH TII. Labor leaders have continued their factional defies and political inf.ghi-

iwhile preparing for CONCLAT II. Thus, ihe pie.ideni of Ihe Suo Paulo Eleeirical Workers Fcdcra-lion. Anionic Mlfrf. proposed in January that ihe conferenceponed3void election year polliici. He also disagreed wilh ihe creation oftingle confederal inn. favored by nvosi CONCLATnd wilh the method foi selecting dciegaiei established ai ihe firai conference.

unions is likely to emerge from the ncsl CONCLAT conference. He further believes that Lula probably will be clccied the litular head of ihe newwhich wouldentral spokesman and lobbying agent for labor, facilitate imerunionand serve as the focus for uniting the labor vote in pursuit of political objectives.

Workers" Pany forces and supporters of the Brazilian Communist Pany-ihat mighl other-njfcja mcreaie their influence at CONCLAT IL

Magri's position, however, apparently has gained support since January. Labor leaders in July voted to poaipune CONCLAT IIiling iheihai partisan politics prior to Ihe elections and lack of grass-rools organization might complicate ihe conference. They were slated to meet in} io nisess lite situation andate3ew conference.

We believe the successor failure ol*CONCLAT II will depend on the eiient io which rank-and-filend thechanged and oh the outcome of ongoing factional disputes.ike fundamental -seo*ogical. regional, and secdifferences between labor groups. Isowew. the prospecit forleast at ibe oral conference do nol appear promising Brasilia's few public stale -mcntiariness of CONCLAT. in particular its effuria toingle confederation, but il probably will permit preparationsecondto proceed in the hope that division; once again will overcome effons to forge unily, insteadIhe cittling doa.-ray. We believe thai theif il fccli labor hat increased its political involvement to unacceptable levels, could nevertheless curtail SdlM of CONCLAT* activities.

later aad Society

Although organized labor's retauoeaZnp withsuit ii the dominant factor determining its poiiiical role, its interaction with Otherbusiness, the church, newly formed political parties. Ihe increasingly visiblereater impact on its development than in the reeeni past Significantith the church and Lula's Workeri' Party is already taking place and is likely io conitnue. The prospects for labor cooperation with the radical left arc less promising, but labor's relations with business pzok.Lly will be characterized by greater nceom modal ion.


Wc and the US Consulate at Suo Puulo-bclicve Ihat labor's relations with business,he industrial sector, are broadeningariety of ways. The conditional acccpubilily of strikes as aloot hat given union,h asanagcmcnl ihat formerly did not estst. Business,ecognized that some change is necessary lo aetcen-modaie the transfer ma lions ibal several decades of rapid ccorwenK growth have brought to theThe eaplKH governmeni changes in wagehave also pui management on notice thai il no longer isfrom dealing directly with labor, contequenily it has been morengage in collective bargaining on issues not within ihepurview.

The new leadership or ihe Federation of Industries of Ihe Slate of Sao Paulolected inymbolizes management'* interest inew

relationship withIESP. long accused by labor ofovernment rubbcrsiamp under its old leadership, is now more aggressive and frequently questions and criticizes Brasilia's policies. Although its political influence is still limited, ii has taken the lead indcmonilraling new attitudes toward labor, is more sensitive to the intricacies of the bargaining process, and is less likely to let disputes result in strikes. Following its lead, the business community is more willing to negotiate outside the formal legal structure* of the government and labor courts lha! in the .last overwhelmingly favored management.

(labor remains wary it it concerned about possible duplicity. There is probably merit in this caution, since in contrast to its privately expressed general suppon of *ome labor goals, for example, we know from press sources that FIESP hasierce public campaign to modify the salary law. The massive layoffs during1 in Sao Paulo, viewed by labor as excessive and inopportune [some came just beforelso rankled ihc unions and even drew criticism from government officials

Moreover, the more flexible approach to labor-man. agemrnl relnliom hai nni been uniformly applied by ihc business community. Brazil's business sector, like many others in the world, is characterized byin terms of practices. On the one hand, stale enlilics. modern national firms, and some mutlina-lional* have been highly innovative in iinproving reunions with labor. On the other hand, traditional family firms and smaller commercial companies have continued to rely on the government as anwith labor. One reason for this latter pattern, accordingumber of US businessmen in Brazil, is lhal labor costsarger percentage of overall production expenditures for smaller firms.

The prominence of multinationals, represci.iing overercent of Brazil's business *ector, has made them important in selling the tone for la bort. management relations, especially in the Sao Paulo industrial bell.

' Cuniidued Braiil!impxialadawritl tabby,oyei atuutkuiu and ama liituvrd rotiiicalajor Aran In tataiiua In the indurtiial kaanland hatwmBrn iniokhoc luniaci- .nd ihe UrgeM


US Firms.

experienced in labor management relations, generally have respondedcaturcd way. neither making gratuitous concessions lo labor nor refusing toumber of German companies, however, have periodicallyard line by refusing to negotiate with labor and expecting government intervention '

limate ol continued economic austerity eal possibahl) in view of Ihc coatiaaed prcssarca arising from Brazil's inter rial tonal paymentsbelieve there will be greater accominooaiion between labor and business At both sectors feel the brunt of Brasilia* economic policies, moreover, the prospects for soint political pressure on iuuet of commonwill probably increase. Evenlimate of relative proaperity.r economic reasons) and business (to ensure laboralso will probably draw closer as iheeduces its role in labor-management relations. The traditionalrelations between labor and business and labor's continued wariness, however, would pose obstacles to the emergenceonsilient and effWlive political coalition.

Th.'iliinlfc (hurch

The author's interview* with diverse Brazilian labor leaders confirm thai most tegment* of labor consider the church an important ally, welcome u* backing, and use its support to strengthen their posjisoo. The church's doseci with labor sterns mostlyoincidence of new* on economic and socialor eiample. the church Long has supported labor's contention lhal ihc coal of Brant's "eeeaxornac miracle" was disnroportioitaiely borne by the workers It not only supports labor's grievances aad efforts to prod ihc regime to reform outdated labor laws, but champion* increased union participation ia. theprocess

'aipnttiliar* Hj flgj image.

n Biaiil't Inniie Ku al.titled akstMd

worker* toninuioniiipmiii iu -un laria Alihaaaa tie QasstssUUuuaraiiillua itui paiicdanduh uudci-able iScpiKiim Irum vn'oni ihe -Mutina. nunhmi. mavt>n Hunt

The Suo Paulo archdiocese, under ihe leadership of Paulo Cardinal Evarisio Arnt. has been in ihe fore' front of churchr labor. During0 metalworkers" strike, ihe local church backedfor higher wages, greater benefits, and more political freedom. It also sponsored marches and rallies, helped distribute foodtrikers, andunions to use church facilities when theclosed union offices The church's assistance enabled ihe metalworkers lo prolong the strike and contributed io the most serious deicriorci'on in church-state relationsecade.

The church's most controversial initiative, however, hat been the use of its so-called base communities, thai is. grass-rows activist groups, to promote Lula's Workers* Party. Cardinal Arns has been ihe mosl active in this area; although not all churchmen sup-purl his position, wo believe most think it is consistent wilh ihe church's role. The base communities, which reportedly0 withillionthroughout vary greoily in their degree of political involvement and support for Labor. They are significant because they represent potential vehicles which tbc PT can use to project iis appeal beyond its labor base ondew political coalition. Slalc-inenu by government spokesmen indicate Hrasilin is extremely wary and critical of ibe church'swilh ihe PT.

The church's association with labor and itswith the PT arc not accepted by all segments ofpoint repeatedly made to the author by various union chiefs in Rio do Janeiro. These labor chiefs, whichormer supporter of Lula. charged to Ihe author ihat ihe church has excessive influence over theevelopment ihat they say couldolitical backlash or government eoun-icrmeasures that would affect labor negatively. Lula's rivals, moreover, resent that he has taken advantage of the church's backingurthi. his ambitions and enhance the political base of the PT. As ihe church's involvement with ihe PT con: flues, especially in an election year, its role is likely io become even more com rove rsial.

Potiticnl Parite*

Asa rcsuliof the regime's pany reformive new groupings haveseeking labor's allegiance to varying degree* Despite the parlies' effortsoo labor, there has been little evident readiness by ihe rank and file io Ideniilypecific pany. To be Mire. Lulu'* PT command* significant labor support in Sao Paulo and other urban areas, but pre" reporting also reflect*backing for the Brazilian Democratic Mcnement Pany iPMDBl. Ihe largest and ttiongesi ocvposiiionei/olal>rnocraikar. ty (POT) alsom significant labor rote*,inul and Rio dc Janeiro, hts former political strongiwlda. Even ihe government's Social Democratic Pany (PDS) probably will receive sizable labor support in rural areas and In thepan of the country, mainly because of Its extensive organization, patronage, and the appeal of certain candidates

For the foreseeable future, we believe it is improbable Ihai labor can find ihe common political groundoteloc Indeed, ihe regime-imposed pany reform is likely io diffuse rather lhan coalesce labor's electoral potential Politicians from all parties, many wlifa legitimate laborrc now vying for ihe same constituency, yet ao ttvantdtsal or pany Canajority of ihe Labor vote

Tbc PT nevenhelet* itand* out in veveral respect*otential focus of labor's political activity It is the only grouping tupturtcd by the church, and itsis composed primarily of former Labor aciivau with link political experience or firm ideological conviction* Although Lula insists thai the PTrats-roois party- -ihe only ttueone inwas hi* charisma and the reputation he acquiredabor leader tint were instrumental in ihe founding uf the parly. Of the three smaller purlin wc believe the PT

Although Lula ha* declared hi*(or ibe gosernor.hip of Sao Paulo, he is realistic aboiii hi* polilical future and the PT's prospects.

| hia foromosi goal* nrc :c. iiinci polilical force in Sao Paulo, to broaden ill butc, and to strengihen Hi national organization. He realize* lhal (his will take lime and he probably doci not aipeci ihe party to do well initially. In our opinion. If Ihc PT were to win substantially more than IS peicent of the Sao Paulo vote inlectouldajor political lurprite.

To broaden the PT* appeal beyond us currently ctnoused denwraikwcialitlLula b) seeking lo transcend his urban labor base. In to doing, the perineal orientation of the PT and e/ labor could dnergc because theirhik closely ttaked. are not idcnika) Labor could be more susceptible lo radical innuetxa if the PT -ere lo ahifl tkmly lu ibe political center, but the PT Itself wowM beoore viable parly with greaterfor growtholitkal environment still dominaied and closely watched by Brasilia. Much will depend on Lula personolly, and on how skillfully he can operate in an evolving political telling

Radical Left

The radical led is composed of ihc Communist Party of Brazil IPCheevolutionary Movement iMR-Bk ihe Socialist Convergence (CSl.cattering of other smaller, leu significant groups Oiher thaneneral goal of infilira-tion and control of keyt doe* not appear unifiedurlieu lac urategy or lactic, nor has it been .uceeWul in generating rank-aiw-llk .uppoti for n* ideology.

Radical kitwn'i Ubor remain,, clandeuinc ihetecun't force* watch'kite11 aisd ncoatcetHrjied ia lb* Hankgricultural



andT. Iheonhodoi Party (PCBl mostly because of kaderthip changes and its campaign to attain kgalization. has advocated less militant positions and cooperation with moderate union forcesoiicnlation could change, however, if il fails to achieve legalization and its milium wing gains ascendancy in the party.

The lefl in general and the radical lell in particular baainor role in labor affairsntil the, both were virtually excluded from union activity: mod members had been (ailed, killed, sent into exile, or forced underground. The government's amnestyowever, freed all polilical prisoners and permitted exiles lo return Since ihcn. leftist activists have been more outspoken and aggressive in union affairs. The moderates,have successfully kept the rad-enl kft on the periphery. Theke*nd all major labor dwlopmenuaken place without the radical left's instigation.

Moderate Ubor forces.the kaderships, arc waLserabte ia several retncci* to the radical kfi Many leaders are open to charges that they haveffective ia defending -criers' interests and that they obtained ihelr position. Ihrougli the governnveai. indeed,inority have risked their careers by strongly promoting workers' goals. The return of the exiles, moreover, has facilitated infiltration of the unions by the kft and has also brought back many former labor and politicalnoware questioning the framework of labor relalions.


We believe the legacy of Brazil's corporatisi labor tradition, lack uf labor unily and common polilical ground,eadership gap arc major factors lhal complicate labor's emergenceohesive polilicalhe near term. Other factors includeregional andonomte differences among workers and unions, ard the pre*akni Ubor fear thai openlyolitical rok could jeopardize gain* already

In our opinion, tabor faces an uphill bank tothese formidable obstacles. Brasilia slill mains ihc power io meet labor'snJoi: ns weaknesses, and keep it under conirol by selectively enforcing ihe corporative framework thai hasensured state control. The current shape of the political system the government is fashioning,presents additional short-term obstacles because it diffuses rather than coalesces labor's potential for political influence.

Labor'* current quiescence on the strike frontwill end either if austerity pruves too severe or ccon-Miuc growth is resumed. In particular, the type of changes in the salary law proi-otcd by the Planning Ministry will be ncginively received by workers and could pnwokc slrikcs. On ihc otherin of economic growtheduction inalso co'jUI lead to strikes, since unions have in ihc receni rust bs'cn nsiste likely io strike under these circumstance*


limate of political liberalization, Brasiliawill respond adroitly, sometimes sympathetically, to ils perception of labor's legitimate economicIn some instances, ihe governmeni may even move swiftly to preempt issues of particular interest to labor in order to enhance its political image. Brasilia will remain sensitive, however, to union activities that it believesolitical end or seek the support of other groups, and probably would reactin0 metalworkers'such activity

Labor and business probably will make additional progress toward accommodationraditional adversarial relationship. Many business leadersthai labor-management relations are undergoing evolution and appear receptive to giving labor wider participation in wage negotiations. Uboe. on the other hand, realizes that business no longer isaligned with Brasilia and probablybe



r.imrt of Military Bmle

Aftiberolizainvadiminution in ike dlren eieeei te of et by Ibe military could acceleratedill-,ul emergemr.

Male a/ Labor Umily

limitcr unity fur example, ibeof aWlkHtffl'tvapemrfWlbm. If permitted bywould enhanceoienital for political and ecommtlc influence.

Labor Coopeeeilom Wit* Other Sedan Imreatcd looperalian with Ihe tharrh and other tr-rnpt could enhance labor's potentialorte foe uvdal and political change, panicalarly If wl gnmpi paned to advcmir or oppose particular ggagatj,

Stat mi mf Coepoeatlre framework

A autekrr ermioa of the corporative framework ofrrtuilm wiuldreduce Brasilia"

nbililt to control labor, prmide uorkersreater polilical latitude and permitnd rmpl.nenypass the goternment in tare negotiations

.Vaeken Fan, Til lageetiaa,

If the Workers' Porn received lubslaMiallf nuiee thanercent of the vote in ihe state of Sm Paulo endreem or meet uf the nationwide -He. this wtilda/Or puliitcal lurprise and tould actatalyst for increased polilical activity by labor

Performance of the Economy

High levels of economic growthfl increaie the likelihood of strikes. By the same token, hitlt or no growth, whileeterrent to strike activity,labor unrest

cooperate in certain instances for mutual interests Important obstacles remain, however, to the emergenceonsistnd effc.politicjl


The church's mmicmrnt -nh labor ii taking place ranmartl) through Lula's PT. We believe us rote it tiarty to bevwae increasingly partiwan an election year,ajority of labor cveaiuall, may cswa-Scr, rather thanet. Significant ckmcnti oilhe vhurch nevertheless are determined tohereno. df labor and to cooperate wiih the PT. development, that will pose continuing chalkngrtBrasilia

Although the radical left remains athreat, il is unlikely to be reckless in pursuing its labor, related goals and challenging Brasilia. The ciperiencea still is vivid in its memory, and it understands that theits espousal oflimits ofIt has thus grown more mature and realistic about what it can aocotttptish. The rank and file,iiresnelyof the radical left not only oa ideological grounds, but because it fears government reprivab

the stage is being setesuigence ollaborational force. The nest several years


n i




arc likely lurucial, moreover, indetermining the form uf Bunabor rclaliom at ihe roles ofen I. and buuoen aic gradually redefined Although iheill mainower in ihii tpScrr. labor "ill broaden hi role by becoming morefcrkers. organizing itielf more effectively, entering the poJujcal arena on labor-related istucs. andore effective rela-tiomhip oiih management.

Beyond Ihrce in five years, labor could acquire ngnifi-cani autonomy from the slate andore unified and dircci role in the polilical process. II the formal insiiluliont and channels governing labor's relationsnh government continue lo erode aad less paternal-rsMC eases cvoh-e. this devekssrneni -ill beFor Ihe foreseeable future, however.o not believe ittat the fragmented labor movement will emergeanguard force for socioeconomic change nor will it play (he key political role that movements in other countries hiilorically have played.

labor'sin inc pax rour ycaraong period of dormancyroduct of several developments, main-I) the militaryo-called politicaland it* recognition ofghi to strike under certain conditions. The emergence of several labor leadenhave not been co-opted by the ftncrnincrii. as *vcUndcly shared belief ihai it hasiiproporitonaic thare of coats of economic development, alio hare been factors.both governmeni and butincs* have recognized thai *omc change la necessary to accommodate the transformation* thai severul decade* of raptdgrowth have brought to the workplace

For more than four decades, however, labor's role in society has been defined and circumscribedorrwraiHt system characieri/ed by legalistic labor codeigh degree of stale intervention This system, which originated with the first grnernmcnt of President Get olio Vargas, bat remained csscftully intact over (he years even though major economic and political shifts have taken place The moat ulient results of ihe corporatisl tradition have been ihe preclusion, of an aulonotnous total state domination of labor-management relation*.

Vargas, who came lo power csiraconsiituiionaliy in ihe wake of an era of discredited republicanfeared the effect* of class struggle onr. Hi* ndrruniH ration attacked iheier>cti of liberalism aad instituted an authoritarian bwi rhetorically raapulisi form of corporatism Theusing threeasitiairdets-ihe siuon. labornd the social security ilo manage--ihaiearn, channel, orpromt ande the *ole arhiier between capital and labor The very structure of labor relations ihutto giveovernment-sponsored idcniiiy and hindered th- development of workers' political and clan consciousness

The legislation passed duringefining the corporate system was embodied in the Consolidated Labor Law*his "aid code, which basically remains in force today, prescribes the structure of union organization and scope of labor's economic and politicalierarchy of associationsworkers and employers was created accordingboth functional sector and geographic region. The state control* the systemermanentwhich collects union funds byearly las on workers equalne day's pay. whether or not they belong io the union. Only state-recognized unionshare of ihend the government, moreover, can cHI on Ihe labor courts to deal severely with unions thai jt.'rr-ipi to work outside ihe system.

Brasilia's control of the mayor source of union funding gives il considerable leverage over laboroint repeatedly emphasized by Brazilian labor leaderscries of interviews conducted by the author last year. The rnayarity of unions depend on the union tat to function and arc requited by law io spend mostn specified social services mch as medical and dental assistance This requirement hai made workers not only eapeci these Krviees. but has also channeled union activities into rvonpobttcal areas. Tbc adrninis-trairvc and financial taiki of providing socialn fact, occupy the greater part ofnergies Other labor activities traditionally have been limned to providing legal reprcMauiio* for anions aad eroajr-Lag that employers comply with ihe law

Successiveegardless ofpheld the corporaliil framework of Labor rclation> Although ihii *yitcm ha* checked the autonomous political action of labor. Ihe government's own use of labor for ends prior lo4 military takeover wu* common Vargas, for example, created the Brazilian Labor Party to capture the urban working-class vote after he was deposedndetul' regained ihe presidency through popular demon*h protege. Joao Gouljri.


1 ll

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becameol and *ouihl Io boWer hi* pcajikui by manipulatingalways luceess-fully. Coulail'i inept political and economic pernce contributed to rampant labor strife, wbieh in pan led thentb bread middle dais support, tohurt4

The technocrats -ho formulatedyccom. :tcd lo rapid growth and the attainment of world power Malta for Brantmplementedof job iiiaranieei afterear* of service, redaction of socialorced payroll deductloai. false indeiini ofaffected labor negatively andead, decline in real wages. Labor was bent Quiescent8 by the security apparatus and few sirikes could lake place because the labor code was siricily enforced.ult, the rank and file and many younger labor leaders remain strongly opposed lo the militaryand most of the policies it undertakes.

The experience4 and its aftermath -many unions were placed under direct state control and hundreds of radical leadersindelible im-rarcssiotB on labor, especially among the rank and file. In our view, tabor today appears more mature and realistic regarding what il canand lessio political or nkidugKiil arguments than in ihe early IVOO* ll undcritandi. moreover, the diminishing returns ihai eventually would result from eicessiie or unjunified labor pressures on theand the dubiousness ofuaiegy in view of Brasilia's moderation in recent yean




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