Labour standards in low-wage industries in the US: findings, methods and implications
|Dates:||15 May 2014|
|Times:||12:30 - 14:30|
|What is it:||Talk|
|Organiser:||Manchester Urban Institute|
|Who is it for:||Current University students, University staff|
This talk is the first in a series of three by Nik Theodore, Hallworth Visiting Professor, School of Environment, Education and Development.
Core employment and labour laws are failing to protect low-wage workers in the US. Employers must pay workers at least the minimum wage, and time and a half for overtime hours. They must follow regulations to protect workers’ health and safety, and carry workers’ compensation insurance in case of injury. They may not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. And they must respect workers’ right to organize and bring complaints about working conditions. Yet there is growing evidence that employers are breaking these bedrock laws—not just in manufacturing plants abroad, or in the sweatshops that flourished a century ago, but in a wide range of core industries, from construction to retail, restaurants, janitorial services, and home healthcare.
This talk presents findings from several national surveys of workers in low-wage industries to (a) discuss the nature and extent of the problem labour-standards violations in the US, and (b) to open up a discussion with colleagues in the UK about research strategies to both document the prevalence of labor standards violations and better understand the employer strategies that give rise to these substandard conditions.
The talk will begin by highlighting the results of three surveys: (1) the Unregulated Work Survey of 4,387 workers in low-wage industries in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City; (2) the National Domestic Workers Survey of 2,086 workers in 15 US cities; and (3) the National Day Labourer Survey of 2,660 workers across 20 states and the District of Columbia. It will then shift to questions of methodology, in particular the challenges of documenting employment problems faced by “hidden” populations. The aim is to stimulate a discussion among researchers about mixed-methods approaches to the study of labor markets.
Lunch will be provided. No booking is required but please arrive promptly!
This event is co-hosted by cities@manchester and FairWRC.
Organisation: University of Illinois at Chicago
Biography: Nik Theodore is Professor of Urban Planning and Policy and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs of the University of Illinois at Chicago. His co-authored book with Jamie Peck on policies mobilities, Fast Policy, is forthcoming with the University of Minnesota Press. His research has been published in economics, public policy, and urban studies journals including: Cambridge Journal of Economics, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Geography, European Urban and Regional Studies, Global Networks, Urban Studies, Political Geography, Antipode, and others.
Travel and Contact Information
Manchester Business School East