Across the United States, increasing numbers of employers are breaking, bending, or evading long-established laws and standards designed to protect workers, from the minimum wage to job safety standards to the right to organize. This "gloves-off economy," no longer confined to a marginal set of sweatshops and fly-by-night small businesses, is sending shock waves into every corner of the low-wage labor market. In the process, employers who play by the rules are under growing pressure to follow suit, intensifying the search for low-cost business strategies across a wide range of industries and ratcheting up into ever higher reaches of the labor market. Although other books have touched on pieces of this problem, The Gloves-off Economy is the first to provide a comprehensive, integrated analysis—and quite a disturbing one.This book examines a range of gloves-off practices, the workers who are affected by them, and strategies for enforcing workplace standards. The editors, four respected labor scholars, have brought together economists, sociologists, labor attorneys, union strategists, and other experts to offer varying perspectives on both the problem and the creative solutions currently being explored in a wide range of communities and industries. Annette Bernhardt, Heather Boushey, Laura Dresser, and Chris Tilly and the volume's other authors combine rigorous analysis with a stirring call to renew worker protections in the twenty-first century.
"This volume provides a wealth of information in a well-organized format. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic, which includes basic labor and employment law, immigrant workers, outsourcing/privatization, and specific worker groups (e.g., single mothers, in-home health care and housekeeping, and those with a criminal record). All articles provide both footnotes and extensive bibliographies that would prove very helpful to those studying these issues, and each serves well independently as a primer on its respective topic."—Michael Childers, Labor Studies Journal, March 2010