On the Job: The Untold Story of America’s Work Centers and the New Fight for Wages, Dignity, and Health

Celeste Monforton and Jane M. Von Bergen. New Press, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62097-501-5
Monforton, a lecturer in public health at Texas State University, and journalist Von Bergen take an informative look at the efforts of “marginalized workers” in the U.S. to organize and fight for safer working conditions and better pay. The driving force behind this activism, according to the authors, are the 225 “worker centers” that have emerged across the country over the past two decades to assist those whose jobs aren’t covered under collective bargaining agreements. These “community labor organizations” help members “access food or rent assistance, resolve unsafe workplace situations, and, importantly, organize for broader protections such as paid leave.” Monforton and Von Bergen document campaigns to push employers to enforce social distancing and other safety measures during the Covid-19 pandemic, and note that the Filipino Workers Center in L.A. is providing housing to caregivers forced to self-isolate after exposure to the virus. In St. Cloud, Minn., the Greater Minnesota Worker Center and a coalition of local clergy members and student activists help Somali-American poultry workers fight for religious accommodations and safety improvements at nearby processing plants. The authors lucidly explain the issues facing low-wage workers, and vividly sketch the activists behind these campaigns. This timely and well-documented account offers hope for the future of the American labor movement. (May)
Reviewed on : 01/15/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-62097-663-0
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