Research on antisweatshop mobilizations and labor-organizing campaigns in the countries of the global South has shown that under the pressure of transnational advocacy networks, notably NGOs and trade unions, US brands and retailers intervene in labor conflicts in their outsourced factories, in order to escape shaming campaigns. However, little attention has been paid to the responses of local employers to the emergence of labor organizations in their factories, partly as a result of these campaigns. This article, based on a two-year fieldwork project in the Guatemalan apparel sector, shows how the local managers of this industry manage to reconcile the demands of brands with the continuation of repressive labor control in the workplace by means of “concealed repression”; namely, preventive strategies, subtle antiunion discrimination, “opportune inaction,” and deliberate illicit transactions involving state officials.

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