|Industrial Relations and the Brazilian Labor Courts under State Capitalism|
|The passing of the Brazilian labor law – the Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho – in 1943 coincided with a shift of the national political economy to a state-driven development model. The Brazilian government aimed to strengthen domestic industry and created several large state-owned enterprises in basic industries to promote import-substituting industrialization. As the explicit goal was to foment social as well as economic development, it is of particular historical interest to study the application of a labor law that was extremely progressive in its paper form.
This paper analyzes a set of "grievances" (dissídios) filed in Brazil’s labor courts in the late 1950s/early 1960s to illuminate how labor lawyers used the 1943 labor law to alter the parameters of employer-employee relations in industry. The cases illustrate how the court rulings (re)shaped the meaning of the law and strengthened the position of industrial labor at a time when many (both supporters and critics of João Goulart's 'laborist' politics) saw Brazil on a path towards a “union republic” (república sindical).|