Cornell University

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Visiting Fellow Profile

Roland Erne

Country of Origin: Ireland
Visiting Period: April - May 2011
Faculty Sponsor: Sarosh Kuruvilla

Roland Erne
Roland Erne is Lecturer of International and Comparative Employment Relations and Director of the ILR-UCD Semester in Dublin program at University College Dublin; and Adjunct Professor in the Department of International and Comparative Labor at Cornell’s ILR School.

Erne is a Swiss national and a graduate of the FU Berlin and Sciences Po (Paris). He obtained his Ph.D in political sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. His research interests cover a wide area, including European trade unions, international political economy, comparative politics, democratic theory, public policy, and international and comparative employment relations.

His view of transnational trade union networks challenges the assertion that no realistic prospect exists for remedying the European Union's democratic deficit—that is, its domination by corporate interests and lack of a cohesive European people. Erne describes the emergence of a European trade union movement that crosses national boundaries in his recent publication, European Unions. Labor's Quest for a Transnational Democracy (Cornell University Press, 2008 and 2010). He assesses national and EU-level trade union politics in two core areas: wage bargaining in the European Monetary Union and job protection during transnational corporate mergers and restructuring. The wage coordination policies of the European metal and construction workers' unions and the unions' responses in selected corporate merger cases, Erne finds, show that the activities of labor are not confined to the national level: labor's policies have undergone Europeanization. This cross-national borrowing of tactics is itself proof of the increasing integration of European states and societies.

While at ILR, Erne will be working on two papers that relate to his border research agenda on European trade unions during the current Great Recession. The first paper discusses the rise of Euro-scepticism among Irish and French workers and trade unions. And the second paper aims to assess the impact of transnational labor migration after the EU eastward enlargement on working and living conditions in Romania.  

- Roland Erne