The conclusion summarizes the case study findings from the book’s individual chapters while drawing more general lessons from comparative analysis of these case studies. In addition, the chapter proposes an agenda for future research. With regard to general trends observed on the basis of comparative analysis, the chapter identifies the pervasiveness of four negative, interrelated trends that cut across the book’s five case studies: (1) the adoption of labor flexibility practices, which increased the precariousness of labor; (2) the continued vulnerability of national economies to global competition and boom/bust cycles; (3) with the exception of Brazil, the significant weakening of party/union ties, leaving organized labor without strong, reliable political allies to help advance its interests; and (4) the internal fragmentation and attendant lack of efficacy of labor organizations in promoting positive reforms such as reducing flexibilization and increasing collective bargaining. Topics for future study include research to better understand intraregional migration, the relationship between economic growth and employment in Latin America, investigation into the conditions necessary to establish democratic unionism, and the role of politically targeted social welfare assistance in cultivating support among informal workers and thereby mitigating the need to build support from organized labor.
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