Organized labor in the Third World, although generally small numerically, has played a disproportionately large role in political developments in those countries. Many union movements in the underdeveloped countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, rising on the wave of nationalism, have led anticolonial movements toward political independence; the leaders of many newly independent nations have owed their rise largely to the support of workers they have organized. In Latin America, too, labor unions are a powerful force, constituting as they do the most important mass political organizations in the nations of that region.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.