Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.
Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.
Taking into account recent important work on the 1970s and the Reagan revolution, the fourth edition newly considers the stagflation issue, the rise of globalization and big box retailing, the failure of Congress to pass legislation supporting the right of public employees to collective bargaining, the defeat in Congress of legislation to revise the National Labor Relations Act, the emasculation of the Humphrey-Hawkins Act, and the changing dynamics of blue-collar politics.
In addition to important new information on the 1970s and 1980s, the fourth edition contains a completely new final chapter. Largely written by Timothy J. Minchin, this chapter provides a rare survey of American workers and their unions between 9/11 and the 2012 presidential election. Gilbert J. Gall presents new information on government workers and their recent battles to defend workplace rights. An extensive collection of bibliographical material will be made available online.
"I recommend a book by Professor Williams, it is really worth a read, it's called White Working Class." -- Vice President Joe Biden on Pod Save America
An Amazon Best Business and Leadership book of 2017
Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, members of the professional elite—journalists, managers, and establishment politicians--are on the outside looking in, left to argue over the reasons. In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as having "something approaching rock star status" by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite's analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in class cluelessness.
Williams explains that many people have conflated "working class" with "poor"--but the working class is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. They often resent the poor and the professionals alike. But they don't resent the truly rich, nor are they particularly bothered by income inequality. Their dream is not to join the upper middle class, with its different culture, but to stay true to their own values in their own communities--just with more money. While white working-class motivations are often dismissed as racist or xenophobic, Williams shows that they have their own class consciousness.
White Working Class is a blunt, bracing narrative that sketches a nuanced portrait of millions of people who have proven to be a potent political force. For anyone stunned by the rise of populist, nationalist movements, wondering why so many would seemingly vote against their own economic interests, or simply feeling like a stranger in their own country, White Working Class will be a convincing primer on how to connect with a crucial set of workers--and voters.
With pragmatic recommendations on what government, business and labor should do to alleviate the economic crunch, The Big Squeeze is a balanced, consistently revealing look at a major American crisis.
We are a nation of immigrants, and we have always been concerned about immigration. As early as 1645, the Massachusetts Bay Colony began to prohibit the entry of “paupers.” Today, however, the notion that immigration is universally beneficial has become pervasive. To many modern economists, immigrants are a trove of much-needed workers who can fill predetermined slots along the proverbial assembly line.
But this view of immigration’s impact is overly simplified, explains George J. Borjas, a Cuban-American, Harvard labor economist. Immigrants are more than just workers—they’re people who have lives outside of the factory gates and who may or may not fit the ideal of the country to which they’ve come to live and work. Like the rest of us, they’re protected by social insurance programs, and the choices they make are affected by their social environments.
In We Wanted Workers, Borjas pulls back the curtain of political bluster to show that, in the grand scheme, immigration has not affected the average American all that much. But it has created winners and losers. The losers tend to be nonmigrant workers who compete for the same jobs as immigrants. And somebody’s lower wage is somebody else’s higher profit, so those who employ immigrants benefit handsomely. In the end, immigration is mainly just another government redistribution program.
“I am an immigrant,” writes Borjas, “and yet I do not buy into the notion that immigration is universally beneficial. . . . But I still feel that it is a good thing to give some of the poor and huddled masses, people who face so many hardships, a chance to experience the incredible opportunities that our exceptional country has to offer.” Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, We Wanted Workers is essential reading for anyone interested in the issue of immigration in America today.
The full-time job is disappearing—is landing the right gig the new American Dream?
One in three American workers is now a freelancer. This “gig economy”—one that provides neither the guarantee of steady hours nor benefits—emerged out of the digital era and has revolutionized the way we do business. High-profile tech start-ups such as Uber and Airbnb are constantly making headlines for the disruption they cause to the industries they overturn. But what are the effects of this disruption, from Wall Street down to Main Street? What challenges do employees and job-seekers face at every level of professional experience?
In the tradition of the great business narratives of our time, Gigged offers deeply-sourced, up-close-and-personal accounts of our new economy. From the computer programmer who chooses exactly which hours he works each week, to the Uber driver who starts a union, to the charity worker who believes freelance gigs might just transform a declining rural town, journalist Sarah Kessler follows a wide range of individuals from across the country to provide a nuanced look at how the gig economy is playing out in real-time.
Kessler wades through the hype and hyperbole to tackle the big questions: What does the future of work look like? Will the millennial generation do as well as their parents? How can we all find meaningful, well-paid work?
Harry C. Katz, Thomas A. Kochan, and Alexander J. S. Colvin provide numerous contemporary illustrations of business and union strategies. They consider the processes of contract negotiation and contract administration with frequent comparisons to nonunion practices and developments, and a full chapter is devoted to special aspects of the public sector. An Introduction to U.S. Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations has an international scope, covering labor rights issues associated with the global supply chain as well as the growing influence of NGOs and cross-national unionism. The authors also compare how labor relations systems in Germany, Japan, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa compare to practices in the United States.
The textbook is supplemented by a website (ilr.cornell.edu/scheinman-institute) that features an extensive Instructor’s Manual with a test bank, PowerPoint chapter outlines, mock bargaining exercises, organizing cases, grievance cases, and classroom-ready current events materials.
Robots, artificial intelligence, and driverless cars are no longer things of the distant future. They are with us today and will become increasingly common in coming years, along with virtual reality and digital personal assistants.
As these tools advance deeper into everyday use, they raise the question—how will they transform society, the economy, and politics? If companies need fewer workers due to automation and robotics, what happens to those who once held those jobs and don't have the skills for new jobs? And since many social benefits are delivered through jobs, how are people outside the workforce for a lengthy period of time going to earn a living and get health care and social benefits?
Looking past today's headlines, political scientist and cultural observer Darrell M. West argues that society needs to rethink the concept of jobs, reconfigure the social contract, move toward a system of lifetime learning, and develop a new kind of politics that can deal with economic dislocations. With the U.S. governance system in shambles because of political polarization and hyper-partisanship, dealing creatively with the transition to a fully digital economy will vex political leaders and complicate the adoption of remedies that could ease the transition pain. It is imperative that we make major adjustments in how we think about work and the social contract in order to prevent society from spiraling out of control.
This book presents a number of proposals to help people deal with the transition from an industrial to a digital economy. We must broaden the concept of employment to include volunteering and parenting and pay greater attention to the opportunities for leisure time. New forms of identity will be possible when the "job" no longer defines people's sense of personal meaning, and they engage in a broader range of activities. Workers will need help throughout their lifetimes to acquire new skills and develop new job capabilities. Political reforms will be necessary to reduce polarization and restore civility so there can be open and healthy debate about where responsibility lies for economic well-being.
This book is an important contribution to a discussion about tomorrow—one that needs to take place today.
In today's global environment, negotiators who understand cultural differences and negotiation fundamentals have a decided advantage at the bargaining table. This thoroughly revised and updated edition of Negotiating Globally explains how culture affects negotiators' assumptions about when and how to negotiate, their interests and priorities, and their strategies. It explains how confrontation, motivation, influence, and information strategies shift due to culture. It provides strategic advice for negotiators whose deals, disputes, and decisions cross cultural boundaries, and shows how to anticipate cultural differences and then manage them when they appear at the negotiating table. It challenges negotiators to expand their repertoire of strategies, so that they are prepared to negotiate deals, resolve disputes, and make decisions regardless of the culture in which they find themselves.Includes a review of the various contexts and building blocks of negotiation strategy Explains how and why negotiation may be practiced differently in different cultures and how to modify strategy when confronted with different cultural approaches Explores the three primary cultural prototypes negotiators should understand
Negotiating Globally is ideal for those relatively new to negotiation, particularly in the global arena, and offers an overview of the various contexts and tactics of negotiation strategy. Written by an award-winning negotiation expert, this book provides an ideal framework for any and all global negotiations.
"Entertaining, tough-minded, strenuously argued."
A thrilling and timely account of ten moments in history when labor challenged the very nature of power in America, by the author called “a brilliant historian” by The Progressive magazine
Powerful and accessible, A History of America in Ten Strikes challenges all of our contemporary assumptions around labor, unions, and American workers. In this brilliant book, labor historian Erik Loomis recounts ten critical workers’ strikes in American labor history that everyone needs to know about (and then provides an annotated list of the 150 most important moments in American labor history in the appendix). From the Lowell Mill Girls strike in the 1830s to Justice for Janitors in 1990, these labor uprisings do not just reflect the times in which they occurred, but speak directly to the present moment.
For example, we often think that Lincoln ended slavery by proclaiming the slaves emancipated, but Loomis shows that they freed themselves during the Civil War by simply withdrawing their labor. He shows how the hopes and aspirations of a generation were made into demands at a GM plant in Lordstown in 1972. And he takes us to the forests of the Pacific Northwest in the early nineteenth century where the radical organizers known as the Wobblies made their biggest inroads against the power of bosses. But there were also moments when the movement was crushed by corporations and the government; Loomis helps us understand the present perilous condition of American workers and draws lessons from both the victories and defeats of the past.
In crystalline narratives, labor historian Erik Loomis lifts the curtain on workers’ struggles, giving us a fresh perspective on American history from the boots up.
Lowell Mill Girls Strike (Massachusetts, 1830–40)
Slaves on Strike (The Confederacy, 1861–65)
The Eight-Hour Day Strikes (Chicago, 1886)
The Anthracite Strike (Pennsylvania, 1902)
The Bread and Roses Strike (Massachusetts, 1912)
The Flint Sit-Down Strike (Michigan, 1937)
The Oakland General Strike (California, 1946)
Lordstown (Ohio, 1972)
Air Traffic Controllers (1981)
Justice for Janitors (Los Angeles, 1990)
“There's no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.”
In Made in the USA, Vaclav Smil powerfully rebuts the notion that manufacturing is a relic of predigital history and that the loss of American manufacturing is a desirable evolutionary step toward a pure service economy. Smil argues that no advanced economy can prosper without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates.
Smil explains how manufacturing became a fundamental force behind America's economic, strategic, and social dominance. He describes American manufacturing's rapid rise at the end of the nineteenth century, its consolidation and modernization between the two world wars, its role as an enabler of mass consumption after 1945, and its recent decline. Some economists argue that shipping low-value jobs overseas matters little because the high-value work remains in the United States. But, asks Smil, do we want a society that consists of a small population of workers doing high-value-added work and masses of unemployed?
Smil assesses various suggestions for solving America's manufacturing crisis, including lowering corporate tax rates, promoting research and development, and improving public education. Will America act to preserve and reinvigorate its manufacturing? It is crucial to our social and economic well-being; but, Smil warns, the odds are no better than even.