In The Allure of Labor, Paulo Drinot rethinks the social politics of early-twentieth-century Peru. Arguing that industrialization was as much a cultural project as an economic one, he describes how intellectuals and policymakers came to believe that industrialization and a modern workforce would transform Peru into a civilized nation. Preoccupied with industrial progress but wary of the disruptive power of organized labor, these elites led the Peruvian state into new areas of regulation and social intervention designed to protect and improve the modern, efficient worker, whom they understood to be white or mestizo. Their thinking was shaped by racialized assumptions about work and workers inherited from the colonial era and inflected through scientific racism and positivism.
Although the vast majority of laboring peoples in Peru were indigenous, in the minds of social reformers indigeneity was not commensurable with labor: Indians could not be workers and were therefore excluded from the labor policies enacted in the 1920s and 1930s and, more generally, from elite conceptions of industrial progress. Drinot shows how the incommensurability of indigeneity with labor was expressed in the 1920 constitution, in specific labor policies, and in the activities of state agencies created to oversee collective bargaining and provide workers with affordable housing, inexpensive food, and social insurance. He argues that the racialized assumptions of the modernizing Peruvian state are reflected in the enduring inequalities of present-day Peru.
Throughout the latter part of the 20th century, the U.S. labor market performed differently than the labor markets of the world's other advanced industrialized societies. In the early 1970s, the United States had higher unemployment rates than its Western European counterparts. But after two oil crises, rapid technological change, and globalization rocked the world's economies, unemployment fell in the United States, while increasing dramatically in other nations. At the same time, wage inequality widened more in the United States than in Europe. In At Home and Abroad, Cornell University economists Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn examine the reasons for these striking dissimilarities between the United States and its economic allies. Comparing countries, the authors find that governments and unions play a far greater role in the labor market in Europe than they do in the United States. It is much more difficult to lay off workers in Europe than in the United States, unemployment insurance is more generous in Europe, and many fewer Americans than Europeans are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Interventionist labor market institutions in Europe compress wages, thus contributing to the lower levels of wage inequality in the European Union than in the United States. Using a unique blend of microeconomic and microeconomic analyses, the authors assess how these differences affect wage and unemployment levels. In a lucid narrative, they present ample evidence that, as upheavals shook the global economy, the flexible U.S. market let wages adjust so that jobs could be maintained, while more rigid European economies maintained wages at the cost of losing jobs. By helping readers understand the relationship between different economic responses and outcomes, At Home and Abroad makes an invaluable contribution to the continuing debate about the role institutions can and should play in creating jobs and maintaining living standards.
The Wagner Act of 1935 (later the Wagner-Taft-Hartley Act of 1947) was intended to democratize vast numbers of American workplaces: the federal government was to encourage worker organization and the substitution of collective bargaining for employers' unilateral determination of vital work-place matters. Yet this system of industrial democracy was never realized; the promise was "broken." In this rare inside look at the process of government regulation over the last forty-five years, James A. Gross analyzes why the promise of the policy was never fulfilled. Gross looks at how the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) policy-making has been influenced by the President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, public opinion, resistance by organized employers, the political and economic strategies of organized labor, and the ideological dispositions of NLRB appointees. This book provides the historical perspective needed for a reevaluation of national labor policy. It delineates where we are now, how we got here, and what fundamental questions must be addressed if policy-makers are to make changes consistent with the underlying principles of democracy.
Critical and iconoclastic, Comrade or Brother? traces the history of the British Labour Movement from its beginnings at the onset of industrialisation through its development within a capitalist society, up to the end of the twentieth-century. Written by a leading activist in the labour movement, the book redresses the balance in much labour history writing. It examines the place of women and the influence of racism and sexism as well as providing a critical analysis of the rival ideologies which played a role in the uneven development of the labour movement.
In recent decades, Western nations have increasingly implemented encompassing welfare state reforms that try to establish equality through social programs and governmental intervention rather than direct redistribution of funds. In this book, Christoph Arndt examines the political ramifications of reforming deeply entrenched welfare states through a careful comparative analysis of four European countries that recalibrated their system of social protection under social democratic governments. Arndt discovers that the "third way" has produced a setback for social democrats and that the nature and scale of this setback is contingent on each country’s electoral system.
In the American federal system, states actively compete for jobs, business investment, and factory locations. Labor costs have played an important role in such interstate competition since the days of the pre-Civil War plantation economy. In recent years, however, global economic trends have put added pressures on businesses and government to reduce labor costs. At least, that is what most politicians, the media, and the business community believe.
Globalization and the Politics of Pay examines the economic, political, and social causes and consequences of declining wages in the United States. It challenges the conventional wisdom that globalization is to blame for the decline in workers' earnings. Susan B. Hansen presents a comprehensive analysis of the many factors affecting labor costs and concludes that many of them result from choices made by the states themselves through the laws and policies they enact. In addition, free-market ideologies and low voter turnout have had greater effects in keeping wages down than globalization. In fact, foreign trade and investment can actually result in higher pay in the state labor market.
In this rigorous yet surprising study, Hansen develops new measures of state and federal labor costs to test competing theories of the consequences of reducing wages and benefits. Most economists would argue that higher labor costs cause higher unemployment, and that reducing labor costs will lead to higher levels of job creation. But citizens and elected officials must weigh any employment gains in lower-wage jobs against slower state economic growth, declining personal income, and a less-competitive position in international trade. Cutting state labor costs is shown to have adverse social consequences, including family instability, high crime rates, poverty, and low voter turnouts. The book concludes with policy recommendations for state governments trying to balance their need for more jobs with policies to enhance productivity, living standards, social stability, and international competitiveness.
Is class outmoded as a basis for understanding labor history? This collection emphatically answers, "No!" These thirteen essays delve into subjects like migrant labor, religion, ethnicity, agricultural history, and gender. Written by former students of preeminent labor figure and historian David Montgomery, the works advance the argument that class remains indispensable to the study of working Americans and their place in the broad drama of our shared national history.
Labor's War at Home examines a critical period in American politics and labor history, beginning with the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 through the wave of major industrial strikes that followed the war and accompanied the reconversion to a peacetime economy. Nelson Lichtenstein is concerned both with the internal organizations and social dynamics of the labor movement—especially the Congress of Industrial Organizations—and with the relationship between the CIO, as well as other bodies of organized labor, and the Roosevelt administration. He argues that tensions within the labor movement and within the ranks of American business profoundly affected government policy during the war and the nature of organized labor's political relations with Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. Moreover, the political arrangements worked out during the war established the foundations of social stability and labor politics that came to characterize the postwar world.
The Manipulation of Consent is a major contribution to our knowledge of the mechanisms by which elites instill in the lower classes the beliefs, values, and attitudes that legitimate their subordinate position in the social order. Youssef Cohen explores the case of Brazil, where the working class was relatively quiescent in the face of the authoritarian regime established by force in 1964. Drawing on recent advances in the theory of the state and the study of power relations, as well as on modern methods of social inquiry, he reveals the techniques of ideological control in the concrete setting of modern Brazilian society. The result is an unusually illuminating case study that blends theoretical exposition, conceptually informed historical analysis, and a wealth of emperical data. The Manipulation of Consent makes a substantial addition to the understanding of Brazilian politics, the study of power relations, and the theory of the state.
China’s leaders aspire to the prosperity, political legitimacy, and stability that flowed from America’s New Deal, but they are irrevocably opposed to the independent trade unions and mass mobilization that brought it about. Cynthia Estlund’s crisp comparative analysis makes China’s labor unrest and reform legible to Western readers.
As a result of its political and economic turmoil for much of the postwar period, Italy was considered the "bad seed" in the European community. Harsh ideological divisions, chronic executive instability, inefficient bureaucracy, uneven socio-economic development, organized crime, and unbalanced public finances all contributed to this negative perception of the nation. Yet a massive economic and social overhaul was launched in the 1990s as part of Italy's efforts to meet the famous Maastricht requirements in order to join the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
This book examines the processes Italy underwent to become part of the integrated European community and skillfully analyzes the consequences of the "Maastricht process" by exploring the effect it had on governmental and social actions and modes of orientation. Rescued by Europe? offers sharp insights into the importance of welfare state reform to current Berlusconi government, and how the weakening of the European Union's constraints has renewed the resistance to further changes. Ferrera and Gualmini ultimately argue that the constraints and opportunities linked to European integration have been the driving forces behind Italy's positive expansions, yet even with these reforms, there is still a long road ahead for European integration and Italy's political future.
A term specifically found in European politics, social concertation refers to cooperation between trade unions, governments and employers in public policy-making. Social Concertation in Times of Austerity investigates the political underpinnings of social concertation in the context of European integration. Alexandre Afonso focuses on the regulation of labor mobility and unemployment protection in Austria and Switzerland, two of Europe’s most prosperous countries, and he looks at nonpartisan policymaking as a strategy for compromise. With this smart, new study, Afonso powerfully enters the debate on the need for a shared social agenda in post-crisis Western Europe.
Organized labor has played a critical role in political transition away from authoritarianism in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Buchanan views the institutional networks where these new governments strive to maintain democracy, focusing on the role of national labor administrations.
This book argues that because democratic capitalist regimes are founded on a state-mediated class compromise, institutionalizing labor relations is a major concern. Institutions that foster equitable labor-management bargaining are at the foundation of workers' acquiescence to bourgeois rule.
Throughout the nineteenth century, working-class activists and middle-class reformers in Boston strived to build alliances in the campaign for labor reform. Though some of these organizations have been familiar to historians for more than a century, this is the first study to trace these cross-class groups from their origins in the early 1830s to the dawn of the Progressive Era.
In addition to analyzing what motivated these workers and reformers to create cross-class organizations, David Zonderman examines the internal tactical debates and external political pressures that fractured them, even as new alliances were formed, and shows how these influences changed over time. He describes what workers and reformers learned about politics and social change within these complex and volatile alliances, and speculates as to whether those lessons have relevance for activists and reformers today.
What emerges from this investigation is a narrative of progress and decline that spans nearly three-quarters of a century, as an ever-shifting constellation of associations debated the meaning of labor reform and the best strategy to secure justice for workers. But the quest for ideological consistency and organizational coherence was not easily achieved. By century's end, not only did Boston look dramatically different from its antebellum ancestor, but its labor reform alliances had lost some of their earlier openhearted optimism and stubborn resilience.
The majority of new jobs created in the United States today are low-wage jobs, and a fourth of the labor force earns no more than poverty-level wages. Policymakers and citizens alike agree that declining real wages and constrained spending among such a large segment of workers imperil economic prosperity and living standards for all Americans. Though many policies to assist low-wage workers have been proposed, there is little agreement across the political spectrum about which policies actually reduce poverty and raise income among the working poor. What Works for Workers provides a comprehensive analysis of policy measures designed to address the widening income gap in the United States. Featuring contributions from an eminent group of social scientists, What Works for Workers evaluates the most high-profile strategies for poverty reduction, including innovative “living wage” ordinances, education programs for African American youth, and better regulation of labor laws pertaining to immigrants. The contributors delve into an extensive body of scholarship on low-wage work to reveal a number of surprising findings. Richard Freeman suggests that labor unions, long assumed to be moribund, have a fighting chance to reclaim their historic redistributive role if they move beyond traditional collective bargaining and establish new ties with other community actors. John Schmitt predicts that the Affordable Care Act will substantially increase insurance coverage for low-wage workers, 38 percent of whom currently lack any kind of health insurance. Other contributors explore the shortcomings of popular solutions: Stephanie Luce shows that while living wage ordinances rarely lead to job losses, they have not yet covered most low-wage workers. And Jennifer Gordon corrects the notion that a path to legalization alone will fix the plight of immigrant workers. Without energetic regulatory enforcement, she argues, legalization may have limited impact on the exploitation of undocumented workers. Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum conclude with an analysis of California’s paid family leave program, a policy designed to benefit the working poor, who have few resources that allow them to take time off work to care for children or ill family members. Despite initial opposition, the paid leave program proved more acceptable than expected among employers and provided a much-needed system of wage replacement for low-income workers. In the wake of its success, the initiative has emerged as a useful blueprint for paid leave programs in other states. Alleviating the low-wage crisis will require a comprehensive set of programs rather than piecemeal interventions. With its rigorous analysis of what works and what doesn’t, What Works for Workers points the way toward effective reform. For social scientists, policymakers, and activists grappling with the practical realities of low-wage work, this book provides a valuable guide for narrowing the gap separating rich and poor.
Depression-era Harlan County, Kentucky, was the site of one of the most bitter and protracted labor disputes in American history. The decade-long conflict between miners and the coal operators who adamantly resisted unionization has been immortalized in folksong by Florence Reece and Aunt Molly Jackson, contemplated in prose by Theodore Dreiser and Sherwood Anderson, and long been obscured by popular myths and legends.
John W. Hevener separates the fact from the legend in his Weatherford Award-winning investigation of Harlan's civil strife, now available for the first time in paperback. In Which Side Are You On? Hevener attributes the violence–-including the deaths of thirteen union miners–-to more than just labor conflict, viewing Harlan's troubles as sectional economic conflict stemming from the county's rapid industrialization and social disorganization in the preceding decade.
Detailing the dimensions of unionization and the balance of power spawned by New Deal labor policy after government intervention, Which Side Are You On? is the definitive analysis of Harlan's bloody decade and a seminal contribution to American labor history.