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Lecture 1 - Required Reading Notes

by: Alia Federico

Lecture 1 - Required Reading Notes LSTU-L110

Marketplace > Indiana University > Labor Studies > LSTU-L110 > Lecture 1 Required Reading Notes
Alia Federico
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About this Document

These notes cover Ch 1: An Overview of the Field of Labor Studies
Intro to Labor Studies: Labor and Society
Dr. Marquita Walker
Class Notes




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alia Federico on Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LSTU-L110 at Indiana University taught by Dr. Marquita Walker in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 21 views. For similar materials see Intro to Labor Studies: Labor and Society in Labor Studies at Indiana University.


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Date Created: 08/30/16
The Daily Grind: How Workers Navigate the Employment Relations​ hip ­Marquita R. Walker  Required Reading pgs. 17­37  Chapter 1 ­ An Overview of the Field of Labor Studies  ● What is Labor Studies?   ○ A multidisciplinary approach to the study of cultural, societal, structural,  economic, and power relationships involving labor and capital.  ○ Labor studies focuses on historical and contemporary policies that affect labor  laws and American workers.    ○ Key terms for “Labor Studies”: Work, Workers, Labor Unions, Social Justice,  Collectives, Labor­management relations  ● Workers Education: 1900­1935  ○ Beginning of the American labor movement  ○ The clash between socialism (brought to the United States by Great Britain) and  capitalism in American society caused a large expansion of Labor Colleges with  the purpose of “the reordering of the social system” (Dwyer 1977)   ○ Many Labor Colleges targeted Women, to give American Labor a more inclusive,  democratic label.    ○ Especially during/after WWI, women were recruited to learn how to work in a  predominantly male environment.  ● Labor Education: 1935­1960  ○ The stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression shifted the labor  movement from re­inventing America’s social order to surviving one of the largest  economic crises in American history.    ○ Many Labor Colleges closed, and new regulations had to be instated in the  existing schools in Unions to help the plethora of unemployed,  unskilled/semi­skilled workers.   ○ The New Deal under Franklin D. Roosevelt included many acts to improve the  labor conditions and opportunities for Americans such as the Norris­LaGuardia  Act, the Social Security Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.    ● Labor Studies: 1960­Present  ○ The intensity of the globalized economy changed what labor unions needed to  focus on teaching American workers.  People now have to be educated on trade  agreements, outsourcing, and diversity to thrive in the workplace  ○ The creation of Labor studies Programs in liberal arts curriculums help the  rounding of students education in workplace decision making, and economic,  social, and political problems in todays society.  ○ A large goal of contemporary labor studies is to highlight social justice in the  workplace and to put emphasis on the affects a worker's decisions has on an  entire community or society, in addition to themselves and their family.    ● Workers, Culture, and Social Class ­ The section centers on workers and their  placement in the socioeconomic system and how social institutions impact the decisions  workers make  ○ Toward Social Justice  ■ Pg. 22 ­ Breakdown of the worker/owner relationship  ● Owners of production need workers to make their product, and  workers need to be hired by the owners of production to give and  receive wages for their labor.    ● Workers are put in a less powerful position because they don’t  have the connections or capital that the owners have.  The owners  are then able to pay and treat workers in a way that generates  corporate profit and use that profit however the owner deems fit.  ● The only substantial power a worker has is to withold their labor   ■ Social justice in the work place is a concept that would eliminate the  ideology of a worker engaging in labor for economic survival, and support  the ideology that a worker has purpose and is treated fairly.  ● Without fair chances for workers to succeed, tension growns  between individuals and societal power structures  ○ Extreme cases coin the term “Oppression”  ○ Social Class  ■ Originally used to describe a persons economic role in production and  exchange.  Ex: employer and employee  ■ Social Classes are now harder to label, and classes have been blurred  with different degrees of managerial statuses, worker compensation, and  blue vs. white collar occupations.    ■ Workers classes are determined by income, education, social status, etc.  ● To simplify social classes in America, we describe people as  included in one of three classes (within each class we have upper,  middle, and lower classifications)  ● A large issue in America’s labor society today is that the upper  class is becoming richer, and the lower class is averagely poorer,  causing a socially destructive wage gap.    ■ Because America grants more social and economic mobility than do other  countries, and we don’t give labels to those who qualify for a certain  class, our class system is messy and disorganized.  ■ Human general desire to fit into a society prompts self evaluating ones  classification.  ■ There are generally physical signs that one exerts to associate with their  determined class  ● Workers Place in the Social Structure  ○ During industrial revolution, control of work processes was taken away from the  workers   ○ We have since moved to a Knowledge­based or global economy  ■ New evolution of demography in the workplace has created new  improvements and challenges in social structures which deal with  retirement, immigration, education, and housing  ○ “Economy” in this context = an organized system for managing resources  ■ Capitalism = free­market economic system used by the US  ■ Industrial economy = mass production of manufacturing goods and  hierarchical work processes dictate economy  ● Workers would feel dehumanized and devalued because they  would only be employed if they could work quickly, cheaply, and  sufficiently in the assembly line  ■ Industrial landscape began to change with advances in the economy that  replaced human workers  ■ Technological advances and globalization are the largest factor in  outsourcing manufacturing operations, which has made manufacturing a  less common job opportunity for workers.    ● By moving the focus from manufacturing the US to servicing, more  education is required to keep up  ● Labor’s Place in the Social Structure  ○ (Labor as an organized collective)  ○ Labor unions offer service by providing representation for workers rights  ■ Labor unions have come upon hard times just have many other  organizations/firms have  ○ Labor unions originated during the industrial revolution when violence and drastic  measures were necessary for changing labor laws  ■ “Theory of Social Traditionalism” ­ Many employers of this time believed  that a divine plan dictated their workers poverty stricken lifestyle, and that  there purpose in the plan was to generate as much profit as possible  ○ Compulsory union membership; compared to US citizenship and the paying of  taxes in the text.  Goes by the idea that each person making a contribution will  collectively help the group.  ■ Collective action  ○ Communities generally support unions because they are there to help peoples  neighbors, fathers, mothers, cousins, etc.     


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