Karly Krasnow / Sun File Photo

Faculty members of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations launched three books on precarious work.

April 17, 2018

ILR Professors Launch Books on Precarious Work

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The School of Industrial and Labor Relations held a book launch on Monday for three recently-published works from faculty members and a visiting scholar, based on the theme of the political and social dynamics of precarious work.

Precarious workers are laborers who fill permanent jobs without the benefits of permanent employee rights, according to the International Labor Rights Forum. A discussion panel between the books’ authors and ILR faculty followed the launch.

Dario Azzellini, ILR visiting scholar, and Prof. Virginia Doellgast, international and comparative labor, discussed solidarity and unionism in their books, The Class Strikes Back and Reconstructing Solidarity, Labour Unions, Precarious Work, and the Politics of Institutional Change in Europe, respectively. Doellgast is credited as co-editor on the book, along with two former Cornell ILR Ph.D. students.

Prof. Lowell Turner, international and comparative labor, spoke highly of the book Reconstructing Solidarity, praising the work for successfully bringing up a “cohesive” statement from diverse voices across different disciplines, including political science, comparative political economy, sociology and labor economics.

Turner said that the other reason he enjoyed the book was because it showcased the contributions of young scholars in this field.

“It’s really nice, [as] some of us approaching the sunset of our career, to see [the ILR students] stepping up out there and doing good things,” Turner said.

Prof. Ian Greer, international and comparative labor, author of The Marketization of Employment Services, wrote his book to provide readers with “new tools to analyze market competition and its effects,” according to the Oxford University Press.

Noëlle Payton, a visiting Ph.D. student from Amsterdam University, said that it was “interesting” to hear the perspective of American scholars on labor issues in Europe.

“The very different starting point of whether the U.S. is your context of reference or Europe is your context of reference is very interesting … and what I learned the most,” Payton said.

Doellgast praised the ILR school and its opportunities for collaborative research with fellow scholars, faculty and students, such as the Ph.D. candidates who co-edited her book. She told The Sun that the school is currently hosting seminars with Ph.D. students on “solidarity in the political sphere.”

“The ILR school is really unique in the world in having such a concentration of scholars who specialize in labor,” Doellgast said.

This panel was cosponsored by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and the Department of International and Comparative Labor.