For two years, I was the Editor of the Newsletter for the American Sociological Association’s Section on Labor and Labor Movements and also the Newsletter Editor for the Labor Section of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP). I really enjoyed editing these newsletters because of the networking opportunities, and because they allowed me to stay on top of the latest events in the field – new books, new perspectives, and new issues. Likewise, I enjoyed the opportunity to encourage grad students to submit their work, as emerging scholars in the discipline.
Here are some of the most recent editions of the ASA Labor Newsletter which I have edited:
Here is the SSSP Labor Newsletter which I edit:
NOVEMBER 2014 SSSP LABOR NEWSLETTER
I have a long history of writing about labor issues. My first book, “Sellout: The story of the SEQEB Dispute”, was my entree into labor issues and was published in 1992. This book was about the 1985 South East Queensland Electricity Board dismissal of 1002 Electrical Trades Union workers, and the fight against it by the striking workers and their families. These striking families showed remarkable strength and resilience, even when the union leadership failed to support them. The title of the book, “Sellout”, captured the way the striking families felt about the union leadership and the Australian Labor Party.
After a long break, I returned to exploring labor and unions in 2011. In particular, I did a great deal of research on the issue of Senate Bill 5, the Bill against collective bargaining in Ohio, which was eventually overturned as a result of a citizen-initiated ballot. I explored the differences and similarities between the opposition of unions as compared to the opposition of local governments. Both opposed the Bill, but for quite different reasons. For local governments, Senate Bill 5 was partisan and divisive, undoing years of cooperation between local councils and unions. Collective bargaining has been effective in local government negotiations. Moreover, the Bill amounted to an unfunded mandate on local governments – they were not equipped to be industrial arbitrators. On the other hand, unions argued that the loss of collective bargaining would worsen working conditions, threaten worker safety, and harm the economy. I was interested in exploring the differences between these perspectives – as well as the commonalities between them.