2019 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in General Nonfiction
Winner of the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award
Winner of the 2018 Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice
"In a Day's Work is a . . . much-needed addition to the literature on sexual harassment in the U.S."
--The New York Review of Books
A searing exposé about the hidden stories of immigrant workers overlooked by #MeToo--at turns heartrending and hopeful--by acclaimed journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Bernice Yeung
Apple orchards in bucolic Washington state. Office parks in Southern California under cover of night. The home of an elderly man in Miami. These are some of the workplaces where female workers have suffered brutal sexual assault and shocking harassment at the hands of their employers, often with little or no official recourse. In this harrowing yet often inspiring tale, investigative journalist Bernice Yeung exposes the epidemic of sexual violence levied against women farmworkers, domestic workers, and janitorial workers and charts their quest for justice in the workplace.
Yeung takes readers on a journey across the country, introducing us to women who came to America to escape grinding poverty only to encounter sexual violence in the United States. In a Day's Work exposes the underbelly of economies filled with employers who take advantage of immigrant women's need to earn a basic living. When these women find the courage to speak up, Yeung reveals, they are too often met by apathetic bosses and underresourced government agencies. But In a Day's Work also tells a story of resistance, introducing a group of courageous allies who challenge dangerous and discriminatory workplace conditions alongside aggrieved workers--and win. Moving and inspiring, this book will change our understanding of the lives of immigrant women.
At the Altar of the Bottom Line: The Degradation of Work in the 21st Century (Culture, Politics, and the Cold War)
Based on extensive interviews with workers in four different industries, this book takes us behind the statistics of the economic collapse and into the lives of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet and support their families.
Tom Juravich combines oral history with social and economic analysis to provide a vivid account of the multiple challenges presented in today's workplaces.
At a Verizon call center in Andover, Massachusetts, customer service reps find themselves overwhelmed by the pace of work and the constant monitoring. They describe a daily routine marked by regimentation, intense pressure to sell, and unrelenting stress. In New Bedford, undocumented Guatemalans in the fish-processing industry are fired if they don't work fast enough, cheated out of wages, and mistreated by supervisors. Juravich describes a brutal immigration raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that divided families and forced workers further underground.
Juravich then takes us inside the operating rooms at the Boston Medical Center, where hospital consolidation has brought a new "bottom line" philosophy that has fundamentally altered the way patient care is delivered. Surgery takes place almost non-stop, driving some nurses from their chosen profession and leaving those who remain exhausted.
The final case study looks at the shuttering of the Jones Beloit plant, an internationally known manufacturer of machinery for the paper industry. Despite the best efforts of highly skilled and productive workers to save their plant, it was abruptly closed and they were abandoned after their CEO recklessly became involved in a shaky foreign investment.
Juravich argues that workers face a series of paradoxes in the contemporary American workplace. They can no longer assume that large established firms create good jobs. The new working conditions often resemble what was traditionally associated with marginal and low-wage employers. He concludes that we must bring a discussion about the quality of jobs back into the public discourse and that a "good jobs" strategy is a fundamental building block to economic recovery.
Workers' voices are front and center in this highly readable book. It includes striking photographs by Paul Shoul and a CD that presents a series of audio documentaries with excerpts from the interviews, as well as four original songs written and performed by Juravich.
From longtime labor organizer Jane McAlevey, a vital call-to-arms in favor of unions, a key force capable of defending our democracy
For decades, racism, corporate greed, and a skewed political system have been eating away at the social and political fabric of the United States. Yet as McAlevey reminds us, there is one weapon whose effectiveness has been proven repeatedly throughout U.S. history: unions.
In A Collective Bargain, longtime labor organizer, environmental activist, and political campaigner Jane McAlevey makes the case that unions are a key institution capable of taking effective action against today's super-rich corporate class. Since the 1930s, when unions flourished under New Deal protections, corporations have waged a stealthy and ruthless war against the labor movement. And they've been winning.
Until today. Because, as McAlevey shows, unions are making a comeback. Want to reverse the nation's mounting wealth gap? Put an end to sexual harassment in the workplace? End racial disparities on the job? Negotiate climate justice? Bring back unions.
As McAlevey travels from Pennsylvania hospitals, where nurses are building a new kind of patient-centered unionism, to Silicon Valley, where tech workers have turned to old-fashioned collective action, to the battle being waged by America's teachers, readers have a ringside seat at the struggles that will shape our country--and our future.
The unbelievable true story of the young woman who faced down one of the most valuable startups in Silicon Valley history--and what came after In 2017, twenty-five-year-old Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing the sexual harassment and retaliation she'd experienced as an entry-level engineer at Uber. The post went viral, leading not only to the ouster of Uber's CEO and twenty other employees, but "starting a bonfire on creepy sexual behavior in Silicon Valley that . . . spread to Hollywood and engulfed Harvey Weinstein" (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times). When Susan decided to share her story, she was fully aware of the consequences most women faced for speaking out about harassment prior to the #MeToo era. But, as her inspiring memoir, Whistleblower, reveals, this courageous act was entirely consistent with Susan's young life so far: a life characterized by extraordinary determination, a refusal to accept things as they are, and the desire to do what is good and right. Growing up in poverty in rural Arizona, she was denied a formal education--yet went on to obtain an Ivy League degree. When she was told, after discovering the pervasive culture of sexism, harassment, racism, and abuse at Uber, that she was the problem, she banded together with other women to try to make change. When that didn't work, she went public. She could never have anticipated what would follow: that she would be investigated, followed, and harrassed; that her words would change much more than Uber; or that they would set her on a course toward finally achieving her dreams. The moving story of a woman's lifelong fight to do what she loves--despite repeatedly being told no or treated as less-than--Whistleblower is both a riveting read and a source of inspiration for anyone seeking to stand up against inequality in their own workplace.
How the brutalities of working life are transformed into exhaustion, shame, and self-doubt: a writer's account of her experience working in an Amazon fulfillment center.
No longer able to live on the proceeds of her freelance writing and translating income, German novelist Heike Geissler takes a seasonal job at Amazon Order Fulfillment in Leipzig. But the job, intended as a stopgap measure, quickly becomes a descent into humiliation, and Geissler soon begins to internalize the dynamics and nature of the post-capitalist labor market and precarious work. Driven to work at Amazon by financial necessity rather than journalistic ambition, Heike Geissler has nonetheless written the first and only literary account of corporate flex-time employment that offers "freedom" to workers who have become an expendable resource. Shifting between the first and the second person, Seasonal Associate is a nuanced expose of the psychic damage that is an essential working condition with mega-corporations. Geissler has written a twenty-first-century account of how the brutalities of working life are transformed into exhaustion, shame, and self-doubt.
Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that Shook London and Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement
Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.
"Nickel and Dimed" reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.
From an Oxford economist, a visionary account of how technology will transform the world of work, and what we should do about it
From mechanical looms to the combustion engine to the first computers, new technologies have always provoked panic about workers being replaced by machines. For centuries, such fears have been misplaced, and many economists maintain that they remain so today. But as Daniel Susskind demonstrates, this time really is different. Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence mean that all kinds of jobs are increasingly at risk.
Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. As a result, more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers - from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts, from writing news reports to composing music - are coming within their reach. The threat of technological unemployment is now real.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, Susskind emphasizes. Technological progress could bring about unprecedented prosperity, solving one of humanity's oldest problems: how to make sure that everyone has enough to live on. The challenges will be to distribute this prosperity fairly, to constrain the burgeoning power of Big Tech, and to provide meaning in a world where work is no longer the center of our lives. Perceptive, pragmatic, and ultimately hopeful, A World Without Work shows the way.
Labor and the Locavore focuses on one of the most vibrant local food economies in the country, the Hudson Valley that supplies New York restaurants and farmers markets. Based on more than a decade's in-depth interviews with workers, farmers, and others, Gray's examination clearly shows how the currency of agrarian values serves to mask the labor concerns of an already hidden workforce.
She also explores the historical roots of farmworkers' predicaments and examines the ethnic shift from Black to Latino workers. With an analysis that can be applied to local food concerns around the country, this book challenges the reader to consider how the mentality of the alternative food movements implies a comprehensive food ethic that addresses workers' concerns.
For We are Sold, I and My People (Suny Series in the Anthropology of Work): Women and Industry in Mexico's Frontier
The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland
This rich history details the bitter, deep-rooted conflict between industrial behemoth International Harvester and the uniquely radical Farm Equipment Workers union. The Long Deep Grudge makes clear that class warfare has been, and remains, integral to the American experience, providing up-close-and-personal and long-view perspectives from both sides of the battle lines.
International Harvester - and the McCormick family that largely controlled it - garnered a reputation for bare-knuckled union-busting in the 1880s, but in the 20th century also pioneered sophisticated union-avoidance techniques that have since become standard corporate practice. On the other connected to the Communist Party, mounted a vociferous challenge to the cooperative ethos that came to define the American labor movement after World War II.
This evocative account, stretching back to the nineteenth century and carried through to the present, reads like a novel. Biographical sketches of McCormick family members, union officials and rank-and-file workers are woven into the narrative, along with anarchists, jazz musicians, Wall Street financiers, civil rights crusaders, and mob lawyers. It touches on pivotal moments and movements as wide-ranging as the Haymarket "riot," the Flint sit-down strikes, the Memorial Day Massacre, the McCarthy-era anti-communist purges, and America's late 20th-century industrial decline.
Both Harvester and the FE are now gone, but this largely forgotten clash helps explain the crisis of yawning inequality now facing US workers, and provides alternative models from the past that can instruct and inspire those engaged in radical, working class struggles today.