The Garment Trade Union (GTU) represents all workers in the sector and is responsible for negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), in addition to other efforts to advocate on behalf of workers. However, the union is currently limited in their ability to reach the 75 percent of workers in the industry who are are migrants. Migrants can join the union, but their participation and engagement with the union is limited.

The Capstone team was tasked to study the barriers and provide recommendations based on three sources of data: an extensive literature review on theories of unions; interviews with 13 stakeholders from international organizations, governments, the union, NGOs, and the private sector; and data from Better Work Jordan’s biannual workers’ survey and managers’ survey.  As a result, the team found that limited union capacity has made it difficult for the union to provide sufficient translators or have a consistent presence in all of Jordan’s industrial zones. They also learned that migrants’ different workplace concerns and priorities make them less likely to regard the union as a helpful resource, and that their high turnover rates inhibited their motivation to engage with the union. Based on these findings, recommendations for increasing migrant worker representation in the union were made to the JTGCU, factory owners, the Jordanian government, and Better Work Jordan. The team's main recommendations to the JTGCU were:

  • Hiring more multilingual personnel and increasing information-sharing about workers’ rights and union activities in migrant workers’ native languages, 

  • Establishing required minimum levels of national and gender representation within the union. 

  • Finally, since this report is limited in scope due to circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team also recommnded further research, including a protocol for interviews with migrant and Jordanian garment workers.