Structuring Workers' Bargaining Power in Mexico's Strawberry Fields


  • Matthew Fischer-Daly ILR School, Cornell University



Workers shut down production and transportation of strawberries during the peak of the 2015 harvest in San Quintín, Mexico, which supplies winter berries to US markets. In the years since the strike, strike-settlement wage increases have eroded, commitments to register workers in the national social security system fell far short, and no workers gained representation by a union in collective bargaining with their employer. This case analyses the limited strike outcomes and persistent gaps in labour law compliance based on interviews and observation in 2019 and 2020. Building on the power resources approach, it highlights the historical character of structural power. Falling short of achieving strike demands underscored constraints on workers’ disruptive capacity. The case suggests that reading structural power as a dynamic complex of actions by employers, national states and workers enhances the concept’s ability to predict effects of collective action on social relations of production.

KEYWORDS: Mexico; agriculture; supply chains; bargaining power; structural power