In mid-April, unions across Argentina called a general strike in protest of high inflation and taxes, bringing the country to a standstill for 24 hours. In an email interview, Maria Victoria Murillo, a political science professor at Columbia University who has researched labor politics in Latin America, explained the role of labor unions in Argentine politics.
WPR: What has been the recent trajectory of labor unions' role in Argentina's politics?
Maria Victoria Murillo: Labor unions have always been crucial actors of Argentine politics since the emergence of Peronism—the vaguely defined populist ideology of former Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron—in the 1940s. Though unions’ bargaining power was weakened by the economic reforms of the 1990s and the economic crisis of 2001-2002, their influence dramatically increased with the post-2003 economic recovery and their alliance with President Nestor Kirchner.