Worker Centers

Author: Janice Ruth Fine
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801472572
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Low-wage workers in the United States face obstacles including racial and ethnic discrimination, a pervasive lack of wage enforcement, misclassification of their employment, and for some, their status as undocumented immigrants. In the past, political parties, unions, and fraternal and mutual-aid societies served as important vehicles for workers who hoped to achieve political and economic integration. As these traditional civic institutions have weakened, low-wage workers must seek new structures for mutual support. Worker centers are among the institutions to which workers turn as they strive to build vibrant communities and attain economic and political visibility. Community-based worker centers help low-wage workers gain access to social services; advocate for their own civil and human rights; and organize to improve wages, working conditions, neighborhoods, and public schools.In this pathbreaking book, Janice Fine identifies 137 worker centers in more than eighty cities, suburbs, and rural areas in thirty-one states. These centers, which attract workers in industries that are difficult to organize, have emerged as especially useful components of any program intended to assist immigrants and low-wage workers of color. Worker centers serve not only as organizing laboratories but also as places where immigrants and other low-wage workers can participate in civil society, tell their stories to the larger community, resist racism and anti-immigrant sentiment, and work to improve their political and economic standing.

The Worker Center Handbook

Author: Kim Bobo
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 150170589X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The Worker Center Handbook compiles best practices from around the country on partnering with labor, enlisting the assistance of faith communities and lawyers, raising funds, developing a serious membership program, integrating civic engagement work, and running major campaigns.

The Worker Center Handbook

Author: Kim Bobo
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 1501706446
Format: PDF, ePub
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Worker centers are becoming an important element in labor and community organizing and the struggle for fair pay and decent working conditions for low-wage workers, especially immigrants. There are currently more than two hundred worker centers in the country, and more start every month. Most of these centers struggle as they try to raise funds, maintain stable staff, and build a membership base. For this book, Kim Bobo and Marién Casillas Pabellón, two women with extensive experience supporting and leading worker centers, have interviewed staff at a broad range of worker centers with the goal of helping others understand how to start and build their organizations. This book is not theoretical, but rather is designed to be a practical workbook for staff, boards, and supporters of worker centers. Geared toward groups that want to build worker centers, this book discusses how to survey the community, take on an initial campaign, recruit leaders, and raise seed funds. Bobo and Casillas Pabellón also provide a wealth of advice to help existing centers become stronger and more effective. The Worker Center Handbook compiles best practices from around the country on partnering with labor, enlisting the assistance of faith communities and lawyers, raising funds, developing a serious membership program, integrating civic engagement work, and running major campaigns. The authors urge center leaders to both organize and build strong administrative systems. Full of concrete examples from worker centers around the country, the handbook is practical and honest about challenges and opportunities.

New Labor in New York

Author: Ruth Milkman
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801470749
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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New York City boasts a higher rate of unionization than any other major U.S. city—roughly double the national average—but the city's unions have suffered steady and relentless decline, especially in the private sector. With higher levels of income inequality than any other large city in the nation, New York today is home to a large and growing "precariat": workers with little or no employment security who are often excluded from the basic legal protections that unions struggled for and won in the twentieth century. Community-based organizations and worker centers have developed the most promising approach to organizing the new precariat and to addressing the crisis facing the labor movement. Home to some of the nation’s very first worker centers, New York City today has the single largest concentration of these organizations in the United States, yet until now no one has documented their efforts. New Labor in New York includes thirteen fine-grained case studies of recent campaigns by worker centers and unions, each of which is based on original research and participant observation. Some of the campaigns documented here involve taxi drivers, street vendors, and domestic workers, as well as middle-strata freelancers, all of whom are excluded from basic employment laws. Other cases focus on supermarket, retail, and restaurant workers, who are nominally covered by such laws but who often experience wage theft and other legal violations; still other campaigns are not restricted to a single occupation or industry. This book offers a richly detailed portrait of the new labor movement in New York City, as well as several recent efforts to expand that movement from the local to the national scale. Contributors: Benjamin Becker, CUNY Graduate Center; Marnie Brady, CUNY Graduate Center; Jeffrey D. Broxmeyer; CUNY Graduate Center; Kathleen Dunn; Loyola University; United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2013; Harmony Goldberg; CUNY Graduate Center; Peter Ikeler, SUNY College at Old Westbury; Martha W. King, CUNY Graduate Center; Jane McAlevey, CUNY Graduate Center; CUNY Graduate Center; Susan McQuade, CUNY Graduate Center and New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health; Erin Michaels, CUNY Graduate Center; Ruth Milkman, CUNY Graduate Center and Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, CUNY School of Professional Studies; Ed Ott, Murphy Institute, CUNY School of Professional Studies; Ben Shapiro, New York Communities for Change; Lynne Turner, Murphy Institute, CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Working for Justice

Author: Milkman Ruth
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801459052
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Working for Justice, which includes eleven case studies of recent low-wage worker organizing campaigns in Los Angeles, makes the case for a distinctive "L.A. Model" of union and worker center organizing. Networks linking advocates in worker centers and labor unions facilitate mutual learning and synergy and have generated a shared repertoire of economic justice strategies. The organized labor movement in Los Angeles has weathered the effects of deindustrialization and deregulation better than unions in other parts of the United States, and this has helped to anchor the city's wider low-wage worker movement. Los Angeles is also home to the nation's highest concentration of undocumented immigrants, making it especially fertile territory for low-wage worker organizing. The case studies in Working for Justice are all based on original field research on organizing campaigns among L.A. day laborers, garment workers, car wash workers, security officers, janitors, taxi drivers, hotel workers as well as the efforts of ethnically focused worker centers and immigrant rights organizations. The authors interviewed key organizers, gained access to primary documents, and conducted participant observation. Working for Justice is a valuable resource for sociologists and other scholars in the interdisciplinary field of labor studies, as well as for advocates and policymakers.

Suburban Sweatshops

Author: Jennifer GORDON
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674037820
Format: PDF, ePub
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In 1992 Gordon founded the Workplace Project to help immigrant workers in the underground suburban economy of Long Island, New York. In a story of gritty determination and surprising hope, she weaves together Latino immigrant life and legal activism to tell the unexpected tale of how the most vulnerable workers in society came together to demand fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect from employers.

Immigrant and Migrant Workers Organizing in Canada and the United States

Author: Jorge Frozzini
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 1498518133
Format: PDF, ePub
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Across Canada and the United States, immigrant workers face important obstacles at work and in the broader society, whether their immigration status is temporary, permanent, or nonexistent. Hyper-precarious workers of all status groups, and their allies in unions and worker centers, are organizing to improve their conditions. In this book, Jorge Frozzini and Alexandra Law, two longtime volunteers with a Canadian worker center, draw on their own experience, in-depth interviews, and academic work from the fields of law, communication studies, and social movement theory, to produce a tactically focused, theoretically informed introduction to immigrant worker organizing in a neoliberal era. Frozzini and Law describe the phenomenon of employment precarity in the context of U.S. and Canadian labor history, explaining how union certification and collective bargaining function under the law. Without directing activists toward any single best strategy, they cover tactical and ethical questions raised when organizers offer casework as a recruitment and research tool. The royalties from this book will go to the Immigrant Workers Centre, Montreal.

Worker Resistance Under Stalin

Author: Jeffrey J ROSSMAN
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674019263
Format: PDF
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Challenging the claim that workers supported Stalin's revolution "from above" as well as the assumption that working-class opposition to a workers' state was impossible, Jeffrey Rossman shows how a crucial segment of the Soviet population opposed the authorities during the critical industrializing period of the First Five-Year Plan.

The New Urban Immigrant Workforce

Author: Sarumathi Jayaraman
Publisher: M.E. Sharpe
ISBN: 9780765631831
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This ground-breaking look at contemporary immigrant labor organizing and mobilization draws on participant observation, ethnographic interviews, historical documents, and new case studies. The expert contributors provide tangible evidence of immigrants' eagerness for collective action and organizing, and argue lucidly that this propensity to organize stems from the immigrants' social isolation. Thus the book parts company with mainstream thinking that recommends building an array of social networks to aid in organizing efforts. Many of the contributors highlight a specific ethnic group and special labor niches, such as the dominance of Punjabi in the New York City taxi industry. Each case study examines efforts beyond the conventional unions to organize the immigrants, including independent syndicalism on the job and worker centers such as the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, created to support displaced workers and victims' families of Windows on the World, the restaurant on top of the World Trade Center. An essential text for labor-relations and immigrant studies, the book takes into account the latest debates in the fields of labor studies, urban studies, sociology, and political science.