Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement

Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement

Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement

Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement


"Timely and smart, this book should be read by everyone interested in a possible revival of the American labor movement. The working week has gotten longer, more workers hold multiple jobs, gaps between the pay of workers and of CEOs have widened, and employers and their allies in government have attacked both unions and regulations to promote occupational health and safety. Fantasia and Voss demonstrate not only this bad news, but that new thinking and creative responses have made some headway too."--Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council

"Fantasia and Voss make an important and persuasive argument for how and why U.S. employment and labor policies set the standard for pushing down wages, labor rights, and working conditions throughout the world. They put forward an enormous challenge to the U.S. labor movement, but one that needs to be met, not just for workers and unions in the U.S., but for their labor and community allies around the globe."--Kate Bronfenbrenner, Directorof Labor Education Research, Cornell University

"Fantasia and Voss's long-awaited book offers a fresh and provocative perspective on the possibilities and limits of labor union revitalization in the U.S. They persuasively argue that the ascent of neoliberalism is both cause and consequence of organized labor's decline, and contribute as well to the long-standing debate over American exceptionalism in the context of the new century. "Hard Work is an exceptionally thoughtful overview of labor's historical development and current dilemmas."--Ruth Milkman, Director, UC Institute for Labor and Employment


“A bit unusual and a little special”

To readers of American academic books this volume will seem unusual: it is too short to carry a substantial body of new data and its rhetorical stance is too engaged to pretend an objective pose. Moreover, it reads like a work written for an intelligent reader who is somewhat uninformed about how labor works in the United States. If all of this makes for a strange book, it is probably because it bears certain traces of its origin as a work written for the European, specifically the French, reader.

Although we penned (or rather, keystroked) this book in our native English, we initially did so for a unique French publisher, Raisons D'Agir Editions, an imprint of a series founded by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his associates in the wake of the massive strikes and social mobilizations that engulfed France in December 1995. The idea for our project took root in late 1997, when, at the urging of Loic Wacquant, Fantasia wrote . . .

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