Book of the Month Archive

Rethinking Workplace Regulation: Beyond the Standard Contract of Employment (Jun 2013)

Katherine V. W. Stone, Harry Arthurs (Eds.)

During the middle third of the 20th century, workers in most industrialized countries secured a substantial measure of job security, whether through legislation, contract or social practice. This “standard employment contract,” as it was known, became the foundation of an impressive array of rights and entitlements, including social insurance and pensions, protection against unsociable working conditions, and the right to bargain collectively. Recent changes in technology and the global economy, however, have dramatically eroded this traditional form of employment. Employers now value flexibility over stability, and increasingly hire employees for short-term or temporary work. Many countries have also repealed labor laws, relaxed employee protections, and reduced state-provided benefits. As the old system of worker protection declines, how can labor regulation be improved to protect workers? In Rethinking Workplace Regulation, nineteen leading scholars from ten countries and half a dozen disciplines present a sweeping tour of the latest policy experiments across the world that attempt to balance worker security and the new flexible employment paradigm.

With its ambitious scope and broad inquiry, Rethinking Workplace Regulation illustrates the diverse innovations countries have developed to confront the policy challenges created by the changing nature of work. The experiments evaluated in this volume will provide inspiration and instruction for policymakers and advocates seeking to improve worker’s lives in this latest era of global capitalism. [from publisher web site]

New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 421 pages
ISBN: 9780871548597
Call number: K1765 .R48 2013

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (May 2013)

Sheryl Sandberg, Nell Scovell

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.” She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.

Written with both humor and wisdom, Sandberg’s book is an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth. Lean In is destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. [from publisher web site]

NOTE: This book is also available to the Cornell community through Overdrive. Click here for access.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 228 pages
ISBN: 9780385349949
Call number: HD6054.3 .S26 2013

Behind the Kitchen Door (Apr 2013)

Saru Jayaraman

How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? Saru Jayaraman, who launched the national restaurant workers' organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, sets out to answer these questions by following the lives of restaurant workers in New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit, and New Orleans.

Blending personal narrative and investigative journalism, Jayaraman shows us that the quality of the food that arrives at our restaurant tables depends not only on the sourcing of the ingredients. Our meals benefit from the attention and skill of the people who chop, grill, sauté, and serve. Behind the Kitchen Door is a groundbreaking exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of dining out. Jayaraman focuses on the stories of individuals, like Daniel, who grew up on a farm in Ecuador and sought to improve the conditions for employees at Del Posto; the treatment of workers behind the scenes belied the high-toned Slow Food ethic on display in the front of the house.

Increasingly, Americans are choosing to dine at restaurants that offer organic, fair-trade, and free-range ingredients for reasons of both health and ethics. Yet few of these diners are aware of the working conditions at the restaurants themselves. But whether you eat haute cuisine or fast food, the well-being of restaurant workers is a pressing concern, affecting our health and safety, local economies, and the life of our communities. Highlighting the roles of the 10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring their passion, tenacity, and vision to the American dining experience, Jayaraman sets out a bold agenda to raise the living standards of the nation's second-largest private sector workforce—and ensure that dining out is a positive experience on both sides of the kitchen door.
[from publisher web site]

Ithaca, NY: ILR Press. 191 pages
ISBN: 9780801451720

The State of Working America (12th edition) (Mar 2013)

Lawrence Mishel, Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz

Since 1988, The State of Working America has provided a comprehensive answer to a question newly in vogue in this age of Occupy Wall Street: To what extent has overall economic growth translated into rising living standards for the vast majority of American workers and their families? In the 12th edition, Lawrence Mishel, Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz analyze a trove of data on income, jobs, mobility, poverty, wages, and wealth to demonstrate that rising economic inequality over the past three decades has decoupled overall economic growth from growth in the living standards of the vast majority.

The new edition of The State of Working America also expands on this analysis of American living standards, most notably by placing the Great Recession in historical context. The severe economic downturn that began in December 2007 came on the heels of a historically weak recovery following the 2001 recession, a recovery that saw many measures of living standards stagnate. The authors view the past decade as “lost” in terms of living standards growth, and warn that millions of American households face another decade of lost opportunity.

Especially troubling, the authors stress, is that while overall economic performance in the decades before the Great Recession was more than sufficient to broadly raise living standards, broad-based growth was blocked by rising inequality driven largely by policy choices. A determinedly data-driven narrative, The State of Working America remains the most comprehensive resource about the economic experience of working Americans. [from publisher web site]

More information available at
http://stateofworkingamerica.org/.

Ithaca: ILR Press. 505 pages
ISBN: 9780801451706
Call number: HD8066 .S73 2013

Gender, Inequality, and Wages (Feb 2013)

Francine D. Blau

In all Western societies women earn lower wages on average than men. The gender wage gap has existed for many years, although there have been some important changes over time. This volume of collected papers contains extensive research on progress made by women in the labor market, and the characteristics and causes of remaining gender inequalities. It also covers other dimensions of inequality and their interplay with gender, such as family formation, wellbeing, race, and immigrant status. The author was awarded the 2010 IZA Prize in Labor Economics for this research.

Part I comprises an Introduction by the Editors (Anne C. Gielen and Klaus F. Zimmermann). Part II probes and quantifies the explanations for the gender wage gap, including differential choices made in the labor market by men and women as well as labor market discrimination and employment segregation. It also delineates how the gender wage gap has decreased over time in the United States and suggests explanations for this narrowing of the gap and the more recent slowdown in wage convergence.

Part III considers international differences in the gender wage gap and wage inequality and the relationship between the two. Part IV considers a variety of indicators of gender inequality and how they have changed over time in the United States, painting a picture of significant gains in women's relative status across a number of dimensions. It also considers the trends in female labor supply and what they indicate about changing gender roles in the United States and considers a successful intervention designed to increase the relative success of academic women.

Part V focuses on inequality by race and immigrant status. It considers not only race difference in wages and the differential progress made by African-American women and men in reducing the race wage gap, but also race differences in wealth which are considerably larger than differences in wages. It also examines immigrant-native differences in the use of transfer payments, and the impact of gender roles in immigrant source countries on immigrant women's labor market assimilation in the U.S. labor market.. [from publisher web site]

Oxford: Oxford University Press. 545 pages
ISBN: 9780199665853

Mexican Women in American Factories: Free Trade and Exploitation on the Border (Jan 2013)

Carolyn Tuttle

Prior to the millennium, economists and policy makers argued that free trade between the United States and Mexico would benefit both Americans and Mexicans. They believed that NAFTA would be a “win-win” proposition that would offer U.S. companies new markets for their products and Mexicans the hope of living in a more developed country with the modern conveniences of wealthier nations. Blending rigorous economic and statistical analysis with concern for the people affected, Mexican Women in American Factories offers the first assessment of whether NAFTA has fulfilled these expectations by examining its socioeconomic impact on workers in a Mexican border town.

Carolyn Tuttle led a group that interviewed 620 women maquila workers in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The responses from this representative sample refute many of the hopeful predictions made by scholars before NAFTA and reveal instead that little has improved for maquila workers. The women’s stories make it plain that free trade has created more low-paying jobs in sweatshops where workers are exploited. Families of maquila workers live in one- or two-room houses with no running water, no drainage, and no heat. The multinational companies who operate the maquilas consistently break Mexican labor laws by requiring women to work more than nine hours a day, six days a week, without medical benefits, while the minimum wage they pay workers is insufficient to feed their families. These findings will make a crucial contribution to debates over free trade, CAFTA-DR, and the impact of globalization. [from publisher web site]

Austin: University of Texas Press. 235 pages
ISBN: 9780292739130

Employment and Work (The SAGE Reference Series on Disability: Key Issues and Future Directions) (Dec 2012)

Susanne M. Bruyère, Linda Barrington

This volume in The SAGE Reference Series on Disability explores issues facing people with disabilities in employment and the work environment. It is one of eight volumes in the cross-disciplinary and issues-based series, which incorporates links from varied fields making up Disability Studies as volumes examine topics central to the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. With a balance of history, theory, research, and application, specialists set out the findings and implications of research and practice for others whose current or future work involves the care and/or study of those with disabilities, as well as for the disabled themselves. The presentational style (concise and engaging) emphasizes accessibility. Taken individually, each volume sets out the fundamentals of the topic it addresses, accompanied by compiled data and statistics, recommended further readings, a guide to organizations and associations, and other annotated resources, thus providing the ideal introductory platform and gateway for further study. Taken together, the series represents both a survey of major disability issues and a guide to new directions and trends and contemporary resources in the field as a whole. [from publisher web site]

Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. 416 pages
ISBN: 9781412992923
Call number: HD7255 .B78 2012

Pay: Why People Earn What They Earn and What You Can Do Now to Make More (Oct 2012)

Kevin F. Hallock

Billions of people throughout the world are paid for their work. This book was written to explain why they earn what they earn and, in doing so, to help readers understand how they can earn more in both the short and long run. It describes wages, wage differences across groups, wage inequality, how organizations set pay and why, executive and 'superstar' pay, the difference between pay and 'total rewards' (including benefits, opportunities for growth, colleagues and working conditions), compensation in nonprofits, and the differences between the cost of compensation to organizations and the value employees place on that compensation. It also offers tips on what an individual can do to earn more. [from publisher web site]

Cambridge; New York City: Cambridge University Press. 226 pages
ISBN: 9781107014985
Call number: HD4926 .H33 2012

Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America (Sep 2012)

Daniel Katz and Richard A. Greenwald

When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker threatened the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public sector employees in early 2011, the massive protests that erupted in response put the labor movement back on the nation’s front pages. It was a fleeting reminder of a not-so-distant past when the “labor question”—and the power of organized labor—was part and parcel of a century-long struggle for justice and equality in America.

Now, on the heels of the expansive Occupy Wall Street movement and midterm election outcomes that are encouraging for the labor movement, the lessons of history are a vital handhold for the thousands of activists and citizens everywhere who sense that something has gone terribly wrong. This pithy and accessible volume provides readers with an understanding of the history that is directly relevant to the economic and political crises working people face today, and points the way to a revitalized twenty-first-century labor movement. With original contributions from leading labor historians, social critics, and activists, Labor Rising makes crucial connections between the past and present, and then looks forward, asking how we might imagine a different future for all Americans. [from publisher web site]

New York: New Press. 318 pages
ISBN: 9781595585189
Call number: HD8066 .L327 2012

The New Geography of Jobs (Aug 2012)

Enrico Moretti

An unprecedented redistribution of American jobs, population, and wealth is under way, and it is likely to accelerate in the years to come. In this important and persuasive book, Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti reveals this "new geography of jobs" that's benefiting centers of innovation like San Francisco, Boston, Austin, and Durham. And the winners and losers aren't necessarily who you'd expect. Moretti's groundbreaking research shows that you don't have to be a scientist or an engineer to thrive in one of these brain hubs.

Among the beneficiaries are the workers who support the "idea-creators"—the carpenters, hair stylists, personal trainers, lawyers, doctors, and teachers. In fact, Moretti has shown that for every new innovation job in a city, five additional non-innovation jobs are created, and those workers earn higher salaries than their counterparts in other urban areas. It wasn't supposed to be this way. As the global economy shifted from manufacturing to innovation, geography was supposed to matter less. But the pundits were wrong. A new map is being drawn and it's not about red versus blue or rich versus poor. The rise of American brain hubs is causing huge geographic disparities in education, income, life expectancy, family stability, and political engagement. Dealing with this split—encouraging growth in the hubs while arresting the decline elsewhere—will be the challenge of the century, and The New Geography of Jobs lights the way. [from publisher web site]

Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 294 pages
ISBN: 9780547750118
Call number: HD5706 .M596 2012