Disintegrating Democracy at Work: Labor Unions and the Future of Good Jobs in the Service Economy

Disintegrating Democracy at Work: Labor Unions and the Future of Good Jobs in the Service Economy

The shift from manufacturing- to service-based economies has often been accompanied by the expansion of low-wage and insecure employment. Many consider the effects of this shift inevitable. In Disintegrating Democracy at Work, Virginia Doellgast contends that high pay and good working conditions are possible even for marginal service jobs. This outcome, however, depends on strong unions and encompassing collective bargaining institutions, which are necessary to give workers a voice in the decisions that affect the design of their jobs and the distribution of productivity gains.

Doellgast’s conclusions are based on a comparative study of the changes that occurred in the organization of call center jobs in the United States and Germany following the liberalization of telecommunications markets. Based on survey data and interviews with workers, managers, and union representatives, she found that German managers more often took the “high road” than those in the United States, investing in skills and giving employees more control over their work. Doellgast traces the difference to stronger institutional supports for workplace democracy in Germany. However, these democratic structures were increasingly precarious, as managers in both countries used outsourcing strategies to move jobs to workplaces with lower pay and weaker or no union representation. Doellgast’s comparative findings show the importance of policy choices in closing off these escape routes, promoting broad access to good jobs in expanding service industries.

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The Geography of Immigrant Labor Markets: Space, Networks, and Gender (The New Americans: Recent Immigration and American Society)

The Geography of Immigrant Labor Markets: Space, Networks, and Gender (The New Americans: Recent Immigration and American Society)

Parks finds that both spatial and social accessibility matter in connecting immigrants to jobs and that gender saliently shapes immigrant labor markets. She shows how geography sustains labor market segregation among immigrants and points to a reciprocal and reinforcing relationship between ethnic residential segregation and ethnic labor market segregation. This relationship is particularly acute for some immigrant women, possibly stemming from their gendered domestic roles and reliance upon neighborhood- and household-based social networks. The collective results of this study illustrate the importance of household, neighborhood, and geography in shaping the gendered immigrant labor markets of Los Angeles.Parks finds that both spatial and social accessibility matter in connecting immigrants to jobs and that gender saliently shapes immigrant labor markets. She shows how geography sustains labor market segregation among immigrants and points to a reciprocal and reinforcing relationship between ethnic residential segregation and ethnic labor market segregation. This relationship is particularly acute for some immigrant women, possibly stemming from their gendered domestic roles and reliance upon neighborhood- and household-based social networks. The collective results of this study illustrate the importance of household, neighborhood, and geography in shaping the gendered immigrant labor markets of Los Angeles.

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Disability: Challenges for Social Insurance, Health Care Financing, and Labor Market Policy (Conference of the National Academy of Social Insurance)

Disability: Challenges for Social Insurance, Health Care Financing, and Labor Market Policy (Conference of the National Academy of Social Insurance)

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The Geography of Immigrant Labor Markets: Space, Networks, and Gender (The New Americans: Recent Immigration and American Society)

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Parks finds that both spatial and social accessibility matter in connecting immigrants to jobs and that gender saliently shapes immigrant labor markets. She shows how geography sustains labor market segregation among immigrants and points to a reciprocal and reinforcing relationship between ethnic residential segregation and ethnic labor market segregation. This relationship is particularly acute for some immigrant women, possibly stemming from their gendered domestic roles and reliance upon neighborhood- and household-based social networks. The collective results of this study illustrate the importance of household, neighborhood, and geography in shaping the gendered immigrant labor markets of Los Angeles.

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