Through a case study of workers’ protests to demand owed wages and social insurance benefits after foreign management had suddenly fled the country, this article discusses the moral and legal dynamics of labor dispute resolution in Vietnam. It examines the local government’s use of extralegal measures, which combine a tactical deployment of the law and moral responsibility, in brokering a resolution. The article argues that these measures, while aimed at addressing the legal challenges of supporting affected workers in the event of these so-called “cicada practices,” are limited in satisfying workers’ demands for justice as workers struggle to claim their legal rights and overcome their precariousness.

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