Women's Paid and Unpaid Labor: The Work Transfer in Health Care and Retailing

Synopsis

Providing an original look at twentieth-century service occupations, Nona Y. Glazer offers an innovative interpretation of how managers reduce labor costs by shifting labor for paid women workers to women as family members. She critically examines the past and present practices of retailing and health service occupations as a way to better understand the deskilling, speed-ups, and job consolidation of nurses, salesclerks, and cashiers.Glazer calls the shifting of tasks from paid to unpaid labor the "work transfer," one of the many mechanisms that managers used to change the labor process in service jobs. She maintains that these shifts in labor costs increase profit margins in a capitalistic economy that demands such increases. Drawing on social history, economics, interviews with health service workers, union newsletter accounts, and advertisements in mass market magazines and retail trade journals, this book affords new insights into how the hidden work of women is structured by changes in paid labor. Author note: Nona Y. Glazer is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Portland State University and the editor of Woman in a Man-Made World and New Family/Old Family.