The Anthropology of Labor Unions presents
ethnographic data and analysis in eight case studies from several
very diverse industries. It covers a wide range of topics, from the
role of women and community in strikes to the importance of place
in organization, and addresses global concerns with studies from
Mexico and Malawu.
Union-organized workplaces consistently afford workers higher
wages and better pensions, benefits, and health coverage than their
nonunion counterparts. In addition, women and minorities who belong
to unions are more likely to receive higher wages and benefits than
their nonunion peers. Given the economic advantages of union
membership, one might expect to see higher rates of organization
across industries, but labor affiliation is at an all-time low.
What accounts for this discrepancy?
The contributors in this volume provide a variety of
perspectives on this paradox, including discussions of approaches
to and findings on the histories, cultures, and practices of
organized labor. They also address substantive issues such as race,
class, gender, age, generation, ethnicity, health and safety
concerns, corporate co-optation of unions, and the cultural context
of union-management relationships.
The first to bring together anthropological case studies of
labor unions, this volume will appeal to cultural anthropologists,
social scientists, sociologists, and those interested in labor
studies and labor movements.
Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science
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