Brendan Lui

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20212022 Forum on Migration

Brendan Lui

Political Science

CAS, 2022

Brendan Lui is a senior in the College majoring in Political Science. He is a Wolf Humanities Undergraduate Fellow and an undergraduate grant recipient with the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. His research explores variation in construction trade union behavior towards migrant workers in the advanced industrial democracies. Brendan volunteers with the Philadelphia chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), serving as a facilitator of the Worker Outreach Group, and sits on APALA's national Young Leaders Council. He has also spent time organizing with UNITE HERE Local 274, Philadelphia's service and hospitality workers union. 

Called In, Kept Out: Explaining variation in construction trade union behavior towards migrant workers in the advanced industrial democracies

In the advanced industrial democracies, migrant workers have become an integral part of the construction sector workforces. Migrant workers are a particularly appealing source of labor to construction firms hoping to cut costs and increase profits by relying on irregular forms of employment. As a result, construction trade unions are experiencing downward pressures on wages, deteriorations of labor standards, and declines in sectoral union density. While these trends are occurring across the advanced industrialized world, construction trade unions have not responded uniformly to these new challenges. This cross-national study seeks to uncover why unions behave differently towards migrant workers as they fight to maintain collectively bargained wage levels and working conditions. Based on evidence from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United States, this research project argues that union democracy and organizing capacity interactively explain why some construction trade unions behave more inclusively towards migrant workers than others.