Despite the political leverage that blue-collar workers exercised in Poland during the communist era, and despite the much greater freedom for social groups to organize once communism was gone, labor movements were not of major political or economic importance in Poland after 1989. Numerous instances of labor unrest cropped up, and pressure from workers' groups was one of the factors inhibiting large-scale privatization; but overall, organized labor was much less of an impediment to market-oriented economic reform than originally feared. The Polish case highlights the importance of political legitimacy and political consensus for societies embarking on drastic economic changes. It also shows that even when a consensus is initially present, success in implementing economic reform does not always guarantee political tranquility.

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