Book of the Month Archive

Rights, Not Interests: Resolving Value Clashes Under the National Labor Relations Act (Dec 2017)

James A. Gross

This provocative book by the leading historian of the National Labor Relations Board offers a reexamination of the NLRB and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by applying internationally accepted human rights principles as standards for judgment. These new standards challenge every orthodoxy in U.S. labor law and labor relations. James A. Gross argues that the NLRA was and remains at its core a workers’ rights statute.

Gross shows how value clashes and choices between those who interpret the NLRA as a workers’ rights statute and those who contend that the NLRA seeks only a "balance" between the economic interests of labor and management have been major influences in the evolution of the board and the law. Gross contends, contrary to many who would write its obituary, that the NLRA is not dead. Instead he concludes with a call for visionary thinking, which would include, for example, considering the U.S. Constitution as a source of workers’ rights. Rights, Not Interests will appeal to labor activists and those who are trying to reform our labor laws as well as scholars and students of management, human resources, and industrial relations.  [from publisher web site]

Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, an imprint of Cornell University Press. 238 pages
ISBN: 9781501714252
Call number: KF3372 .G764 2017

High Tech and High Touch: Headhunting, Technology, and Economic Transformation (Nov 2017)

James E. Coverdill and William Finlay

In High Tech and High Touch, James E. Coverdill and William Finlay invite readers into the dynamic world of headhunters, personnel professionals who acquire talent for businesses and other organizations on a contingent-fee basis. In a high-tech world where social media platforms have simplified direct contact between employers and job seekers, Coverdill and Finlay acknowledge, it is relatively easy to find large numbers of apparently qualified candidates. However, the authors demonstrate that headhunters serve a valuable purpose in bringing high-touch search into the labor market: they help parties on both sides of the transaction to define their needs and articulate what they have to offer.

As well as providing valuable information for sociologists and economists, High Tech and High Touch demonstrates how headhunters approach practical issues such as identifying and attracting candidates; how they solicit, secure, and evaluate search assignments from client companies; and how they strive to broker interactions between candidates and clients to maximize the likelihood that the right people land in the right jobs. [from publisher web site]

 

Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, an imprint of Cornell University Press. 204 pages
ISBN: 9781501702808

Janesville: An American Story (Oct 2017)

Amy Goldstein

A Washington Post reporter’s intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors’ assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin—Paul Ryan’s hometown—and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.

This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills—but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class. For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It’s an American story. [from publisher web site]

New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. 351 pages
ISBN: 9781501102233
Call number: HC108.J36 G65 2017

Research Handbook of Employment Relations in Sport (Sep 2017)

Michael Barry, James Skinner, and Terry Engelberg (editors)

Employment relations, much discussed in other industries, has often been neglected in professional sports despite its unique characteristics. The book aims to explore in detail the unique nature of the employment relationship in professional sports and the sport industry.

In four parts the book examines, firstly the regulation of sporting competition both within and across sporting codes; secondly a range of employment law issues such as how contracting and negotiation are handled, how disputes are resolved, and the role of sporting representatives such as player associations. The third section discusses the economic issues related to employment such as transfers, drafts and efforts to achieve "competitive balance". The final section of the book explores contemporary issues in sports management and governance, including anti-discrimination and anti-doping policy.

Through this analysis the book identifies the complex and unique issues surrounding employment relations within professional sports and the sport industry. [from publisher web site]

Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA : Edward Elgar Publishing. 408 pages
ISBN: 9781783470457
Call number: GV713 .R47 2016

The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration (Aug 2017)

Francine D. Blau and Christopher Mackie (Editors)

The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration finds that the long-term impact of immigration on the wages and employment of native-born workers overall is very small, and that any negative impacts are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born high school dropouts. First-generation immigrants are more costly to governments than are the native-born, but the second generation are among the strongest fiscal and economic contributors in the U.S. This report concludes that immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.

More than 40 million people living in the United States were born in other countries, and almost an equal number have at least one foreign-born parent. Together, the first generation (foreign-born) and second generation (children of the foreign-born) comprise almost one in four Americans. It comes as little surprise, then, that many U.S. residents view immigration as a major policy issue facing the nation. Not only does immigration affect the environment in which everyone lives, learns, and works, but it also interacts with nearly every policy area of concern, from jobs and the economy, education, and health care, to federal, state, and local government budgets.

The changing patterns of immigration and the evolving consequences for American society, institutions, and the economy continue to fuel public policy debate that plays out at the national, state, and local levels. The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration assesses the impact of dynamic immigration processes on economic and fiscal outcomes for the United States, a major destination of world population movements. This report will be a fundamental resource for policy makers and law makers at the federal, state, and local levels but extends to the general public, nongovernmental organizations, the business community, educational institutions, and the research community [from publisher web site].  Also available online here

Washington, DC: National Academies Press. 615 pages
ISBN: 9780309444453
Call number: JV6471 .N38 2017

Informal Workers and Collective Action: A Global Perspective (Jul 2017)

Adrienne E. Eaton, Susan J. Schurman, and Martha A. Chen (editors)

Informal Workers and Collective Action features nine cases of collective action to improve the status and working conditions of informal workers. Adrienne E. Eaton, Susan J. Schurman, and Martha A. Chen set the stage by defining informal work and describing the types of organizations that represent the interests of informal workers and the lessons that may be learned from the examples presented in the book. Cases from a diverse set of countries—Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Liberia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Uruguay—focus on two broad types of informal workers: "waged" workers, including port workers, beer promoters, hospitality and retail workers, domestic workers, low-skilled public sector workers, and construction workers; and self-employed workers, including street vendors, waste recyclers, and minibus drivers.

These cases demonstrate that workers and labor organizations around the world are rediscovering the lessons of early labor organizers on how to aggregate individuals' sense of injustice into forms of collective action that achieve a level of power that can yield important changes in their work and lives. Informal Workers and Collective Action makes a strong argument that informal workers, their organizations, and their campaigns represent the leading edge of the most significant change in the global labor movement in more than a century. [from publisher web site]

Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, an imprint of Cornell University Press. 284 pages
ISBN: 9781501705564
Call number: HD2341 .I53425 2017

The Oxford Handbook of Mutual, Co-operative, and Co-owned Business (Jun 2017)

Jonathan Michie, Joseph R. Blasi, and Carlo Borzaga (editors)

The Oxford Handbook of Mutuals and Co-Owned Business investigates all types of 'member owned' organizations, whether consumer co-operatives, agricultural and producer co-operatives, worker co-operatives, mutual building societies, friendly societies, credit unions, solidarity organizations, mutual insurance companies, or employee-owned companies. Such organizations can be owned by their consumers, the producers, or the employees - whether through single-stakeholder or multi-stakeholder ownership.

This complex set of organizations is named differently across countries: from 'mutual' in the UK, to 'solidarity cooperatives' in Latin America. In some countries, such organizations are not even officially recognized and thus lack a specific denomination. For the sake of clarity, this Handbook will refer to member-owned organizations to encompass the variety of non-investor-owned organizations, and in the national case study chapters the terms used will be those most widely employed in that country. These alternative corporate forms have emerged in a variety of economic sectors in almost all advanced economies since the time of the industrial revolution and the development of capitalism, through the subsequent creation and dominance of the limited liability company. Until recently, these organizations were generally regarded as a rather marginal component of the economy. However, over the past few years, member-owned organizations have come to be seen in some countries, at least, as potentially attractive in light of their ability to tackle various economic and social concerns, and their relative resilience during the financial and economic crises of 2007-2013. [from publisher web site]

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 660 pages
ISBN: 9780199684977
Call number: HD2965 .O94 2017

The Economics of Trade Unions: A Study of a Research Field and its Findings (May 2017)

Hristos Doucouliagos, Richard B. Freeman and Patrice Laroche

Richard B. Freeman and James L. Medoff’s now classic 1984 book What Do Unions Do? stimulated an enormous theoretical and empirical literature on the economicimpact of trade unions. Trade unions continue to be a significant feature of many labormarkets, particularly in developing countries, and issues of labor market regulationsand labor institutions remain critically important to researchers and policy makers.

The relations between unions and management can range between cooperation and conflict; unions have powerful offsetting wage and non-wage effects that economists and other social scientists have long debated. Do the benefits of unionism exceed the costs to the economy and society writ large, or do the costs exceed the benefits? The Economics of Trade Unions offers the first comprehensive review, analysis and evaluation of the empirical literature on the microeconomic effects of trade unions using the tools of meta-regression analysis to identify and quantify the economic impact of trade unions, as well as to correct research design faults, the effects of selection bias and model misspecification.

This volume makes use of a unique dataset of hundreds of empirical studies and their reported estimates of the microeconomic impact of trade unions. Written by three authors who have been at the forefront of this research field (including the co-author of the original volume, What Do Unions Do?), this book offers an overview of a subject that is of huge importance to scholars of labor economics, industrial and employee relations, and human resource management, as well as those with an interest in meta-analysis. [from publisher web site]

Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY Routledge: Routledge. 190 pages
ISBN: 9781138888302
Call number: HD6483 .D68 2017

Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers are Disrupting the Digital Economy (Apr 2017)

Trebor Scholz

This book is about the rise of digital labor. Companies like Uber and Amazon Mechanical Turk promise autonomy, choice, and flexibility. One of network culture's toughest critics, Trebor Scholz chronicles the work of workers in the "sharing economy," and the free labor on sites like Facebook, to take these myths apart.

In this rich, accessible, and provocative book, Scholz exposes the uncaring reality of contingent digital work, which is thriving at the expense of employment and worker rights.

The book is meant to inspire readers to join the growing number of worker-owned "platform cooperatives," rethink unions, and build a better future of work. A call to action, loud and clear, Uberworked and Underpaid shows that it is time to stop wage theft and "crowd fleecing," rethink wealth distribution, and address the urgent question of how digital labor should be regulated and how workers from Berlin, Barcelona, Seattle, and São Paulo can act in solidarity to defend their rights.  [from publisher web site]

Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 242 pages
ISBN: 9780745653563
Call number: HC79.I55 S3565 2017

The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy (Mar 2017)

Gerald F. Davis

It may be hard to believe in an era of Wal-Mart, Citizens United, and the Koch brothers, but corporations are on the decline, says Gerald Davis. The number of American companies listed on the stock market dropped by more than half between 1997 and 2012. In recent years we've seen some of the most storied corporations go bankrupt (General Motors, Chrysler, Eastman Kodak) or disappear entirely (Bethlehem Steel, Lehman Brothers, Borders, Circuit City).

That corporations are vanishing may sound like good news to some, but Davis insists it's not—in fact, it's a root cause of the income inequality and social instability we face today. Corporations were once an integral part of building the middle class. He points out that in their heyday they offered millions of people lifetime employment, a stable career path, health insurance, and retirement pensions.

The businesses that are replacing them can't and won't fill the same role. For one thing, they employ far fewer people—the combined global workforces of Facebook, Yelp, Zynga, LinkedIn, Zillow, Tableau, Zulily, and Box are smaller than the number of people who lost their jobs when Circuit City was liquidated. And the “sharing economy” absolves many companies of any sense of obligation to most of the people who work for them—at the end of 2014 Uber had over 160,000 “driver-partners” in the United States but recognized only about 2,000 people as actual employees.

This book tracks the rise of the large American corporation, its role in greatly expanding the middle class, and the current economic pressures that are making it unsustainable. The future could see either increasing economic polarization, as careers turn into jobs and jobs turn into tasks, or a more democratic economy built from the grass roots. It's up to us.  [from publisher web site]

Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.. 222 pages
ISBN: 9781626562790
Call number: HD2785 .D26 2016