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Labor Movements: Global Perspectives

ISBN: 978-0-7456-7060-7
200 pages
April 2014, Polity
Labor Movements: Global Perspectives (0745670601) cover image

Description

Fewer than 12 percent of U.S. workers belong to unions, and union membership rates are falling in much of the world. With tremendous growth in inequality within and between countries, steady or indeed rising unemployment and underemployment, and the marked increase in precarious work and migration, can unions still play a role in raising wages and improving work conditions?

This book provides a critical evaluation of labor unions both in the U.S. and globally, examining the factors that have led to the decline of union power and arguing that, despite their challenges, unions still have a vital part to play in the global economy. Stephanie Luce explores the potential sources of power that unions might have, and emerging new strategies and directions for the growth of global labor movements, such as unions, worker centers, informal sector organizations, and worker co-operatives, helping workers resist the impacts of neoliberalism. She shows that unions may in fact be more relevant now than ever.

This important assessment of labor movements in the global economy will be required reading for advanced undergraduates and graduate students of labor studies, political and economic sociology, the sociology of work, and social movements.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction

Part I: Background

2. A Role for Unions?

3. Why Unions Decline: External Challenges on the Macro Level

4. Adding to Further Decline: Labor Market Changes

Part II: Union Response

5. Changing from Within

6. Union Power

7. Rebuilding the Movements

8. New Directions – Going Global

Notes

References

Index

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Author Information

Stephanie Luce is an Associate Professor of Labor Studies at the Murphy Institute, City University of New York. She is a leading expert on living wages. Professor Luce worked as an economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and a Congressional Commission on Agricultural Workers before earning her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. She has also worked as a researcher at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and the Political Economy Research Institute.
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Reviews

''Stephanie Luce gives us an informed and wise assessment of the crucial role of unions in resisting the forces unleashed by neoliberal capitalism. She deals unblinkingly with the opposition that unions confront today and with their own internal weaknesses as well. Yet she concludes that rolling back an unbridled capitalism cannot be accomplished without a revived and innovative labor movement. A sobering yet refreshing antidote, and one that inspires both hope and hard work.''
Frances Fox Piven, Graduate Center, City University of New York

''Stephanie Luce's "Labor Movements" is must read book for those who are interested in workers' rights, unionization and the future of labor movements. Luce provides a critical review on neo-liberal gobalization, global financial crisis, illusion of economic growth, and assess the effect on the role of unions and workers' struggles. By debunking the myth of mobile and global capitalism, the book calls for changes on the existing system and new ways of workers' emancipation worldwide.''
Pun Ngai, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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