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Contingent Work American Employment Relations in Transition by Kathleen Barker

Contingent Work American Employment Relations in Transition


Contingent Work American Employment Relations in Transition by Kathleen Barker

The successful 1997 strike by the Teamsters against UPS, and the overwhelming support the American public gave the strikers highlighted the impact of contingent work-an umbrella term for a variety of tenuous and insecure employment arrangements such as temping, independent contracting, employee leasing, and some self-employment and part-time or part-year work. This new book contends that contingent work represents a profound deviation from the employment relations model that dominated most of this century's labor relations. It delineates essential features of contingent work from both the worker's and the organization's point of view. Articulating a variety of perspectives from various disciplines, the contributors examine the business forces driving contingent work and assess the consequences of working contingently for the individual, family, and community, taking into account issues of race, class, and gender. They ask how current labor and employment laws need to be rewritten to provide contingent workers with the same comprehensive protections offered to permanent employees. In the final chapter, the editors comment on the status of research on contingent work and chart future research directions.


This book does a simply masterful job of helping us understand contingent work arrangements-numbers, consequences, and public policy concerns. In an area plagued by rhetoric and ideology, it offers facts and analysis, a dose of reality that grounds this important issue. -Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford University Temping, independent contracting, employee leasing, part-time jobs without job security or medical benefits-is this the new American workplace? If so, what does that mean about the social worlds we build at home and at work? This volume gathers some of the best and latest thinking on an issue critical to us all. -Arlie Hochschild, University of California, Berkeley Barker and Christensen bring together an outstanding collection of essays on the transformation of American employment. This interdisciplinary volume provides the theoretical, historical, and legal contexts for understanding the reemergence of contingent work, and offers empirical research on its extent and its consequences for workers and their families. This volume will be useful for scholars and students interested in work in America; it is a must for policymakers, unions, and personnel specialists. -Barbara Reskin, Harvard University This multidisciplinary collection of first-rate papers-dealing with contingent workers, flexible workplaces, and their institutional contexts-will be an indispensable resource for anyone concerned with the changing nature of employment relations as we begin the twenty-first century. -Arne Kalleberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Barker and Christensen's well-organized, interesting and useful book takes us on a tour of the downside of changing employment relations. This book is a compelling introduction to the human issues of the downside of contingent employment. It is written at a level that should be accessible and interesting to most undergraduate students. -Ted Baker, American Sociological Review A quick and accessible read for policymakers and students alike. Its challenge to contemporary liberal thinking about poor women's work makes it a provokative text for courses in public welfare policy, women's labor history, and recent feminism, as well as a needed reminder to activists for social justice. -Anne Brophy, Georgia State University, Labor History. November, 1999. Interesting and diverse. -Judith Stein, The Journal of American History An informative, insightful, and multidimensioned view. -Juliet F. Brudney, Boston Globe This volume . . . offers a many-faceted look at the work and the workers at the lower end of the contingent work continuum. . . . Readers of this volume will gain increased appreciation for how most contingent employment arrangements benefit the firms much more than the contingent workers they employ in usually undesirable jobs. This informative book examines an important labor market phenomenon and will appeal to all students of the labor market regardless of discipline. -Choice The authors argue that growing numbers of contingent workers have permanently altered labor relations and the so-called employment contract, with employers coming to regard workers as 'disposable
and employees abandoning notions of organizational loyalty

. -Booklist

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

25th June 1998


Kathleen Barker

More books by Kathleen Barker
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ILR Press an imprint of Cornell University Press


368 pages


Sociology: work & labour
Labour economics



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