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How essential workers’ fight for better jobs during the pandemic revolutionized US labor politics
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, essential workers lashed out against low wages, long hours, and safety risks, attracting a level of support unseen in decades. This explosion of labor unrest seemed sudden to many. But Essential reveals that American workers had simmered in discontent long before their anger boiled over.
Decades of austerity, sociologist Jamie K. McCallum shows, have left frontline workers vulnerable to employer abuse, lacking government protections, and increasingly furious. Through firsthand research conducted as the pandemic unfolded, McCallum traces the evolution of workers’ militancy, showing how their struggles for safer workplaces, better pay and health care, and the right to unionize have benefitted all Americans and spurred a radical new phase of the labor movement. This is essential reading for understanding the past, present, and future of the working class.
Jamie K. McCallum is professor of sociology at Middlebury College. He is the author of Worked Over and Global Unions, Local Power, which won the American Sociological Association’s prize for the best book on labor. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Mother Jones, Dissent, and Jacobin. He lives in Weybridge, Vermont.
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: 11/15/2022 - 12:00am
On Sale: 11/15/2022 - 12:00am