Trade Union Responses to Labour Immigrants: Selective Solidarity

  • Rolle Alho
Keywords: immigration, trade union strategy, immigration policy, inclusion, exclusion, migrants


The Finnish service sector trade union Palvelualojen ammattiliitto or Service Union United has the largest amount of migrant members of all Finnish trade unions. It walks the narrow line between defending the perceived interests of its members from the ‘threat’ of labour immigration, and simultaneously trying to act as an immigrant-friendly force. This qualitative case study analyses the outcomes of the union’s strategies in questions related to immigration. The outcomes affect different immigrant groups in a different manner. Furthermore, the established quasi-state character of the Finnish trade union movement affects both the strengths and weaknesses of its strategies. The politicized anti-immigration views in the Finnish society indirectly to some degree impact trade union strategies. Results suggest that the lay distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ based on nationality still shapes trade union strategy in a way that can be labeled selective solidarity.
Jan 1, 2013
How to Cite
Alho, R. (2013). Trade Union Responses to Labour Immigrants: Selective Solidarity. Finnish Yearbook of Population Research, 48, 77-102. Retrieved from