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Immigrants Unions & The New Us Labor Mkt by Immanuel Ness

Immigrants Unions & The New Us Labor Mkt


Immigrants Unions & The New Us Labor Mkt by Immanuel Ness

In recent years, New Yorkers have been surprised to see workers they had taken for granted-Mexicans in greengroceries, West African supermarket deliverymen and South Asian limousine drivers-striking, picketing, and seeking support for better working conditions. Suddenly, businesses in New York and the nation had changed and were now dependent upon low-paid immigrants to fill the entry-level jobs that few native-born Americans would take. Immigrants, Unions, and the New U.S. Labor Market tells the story of these workers' struggle for living wages, humane working conditions, and the respect due to all people. It describes how they found the courage to organize labor actions at a time when most laborers have become quiescent and while most labor unions were ignoring them. Showing how unions can learn from the example of these laborers, and demonstrating the importance of solidarity beyond the workplace, Immanuel Ness offers a telling look into the lives of some of America's newest immigrants.


As government policies grow more repressive and corporate imperatives more malevolent, Ness offers hope that a new path is possible for organizing the workplace. -Elaine Bernard, Executive Director, Labor & Worklife Program, Harvard Law School Manny Ness tells the compelling stories of the workplace organizing efforts of immigrants in New York City. The odds are against them. Many are undocumented, they have to contend with a restructured labor market that disadvantages low wage workers, and the unions are not much help. Nevertheless, these workers forged the solidarities and found the courage that made militant struggle possible. Read this fine book and hope! -Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Graduate School of the City University of New York Worker self organization accounts for a huge percentage of formal and informal labor history in the U.S. and throughout the world. Manny Ness has chronicled some inspiring and recent accounts of great organizing by immigrant workers in the U.S. This type of organizing and mobilizing existing members provides our best hope for the future. -Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of the World This is an original, major contribution to the power of solidarity among new migrant workers of color in the U.S. The case studies of worker collective action in the informal economy eloquently show that migrants in the global economy share common bonds and will organize against all odds. The organizing by Francophone Africans, Mexicans, and South Asians call attention to the exclusion of migrant workers of color in established unions. The book impressively demonstrates that a strong labor movement can only be established through the inclusion of those struggling outside the margins of traditional institutions. -Bill Fletcher, Jr., President, TransAfrica Forum

About the Author

Immanuel Ness is Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College - City University of New York. He is the editor of the journal WorkingUSA. His books include Trade Unions and the Betrayal of the Unemployed: Labor Conflict in the 1990s and Organizing for Justice in Our Communities: Central Labor Councils and the Revival of American Unionism.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th June 2005


Immanuel Ness

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Temple University Press,U.S.


240 pages


Social & cultural history
Sociology: work & labour



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