ILR School

Book Samples

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ILR Press, Cornell University Press

Cornell University Press was established in 1869. The Press and its imprints--ILR Press and Comstock Publishing Associates--publish general and specialized nonfiction in a wide range of fields. All books that carry its imprints have been approved by a Board of Editors, which consists of members of the Cornell University faculty.

Cornell University Press has granted permission to Catherwood Library to include the table of contents and first 25 pages of its ILR Press books in DigitalCollections@ILR. All rights are reserved to and by Cornell University Press.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 144
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    Unknotting the Heart: Unemployment and Therapeutic Governance
    Yang, Jie (2015-01-01)
    [Excerpt] Since the mid-1990s, as China has downsized and privatized its state-owned enterprises, severe unemployment has created a new class of urban poor and widespread social and psychological disorders. In Unknotting the Heart, Jie Yang examines this understudied group of workers and their experiences of being laid off, "counseled," and then reoriented to the market economy. Using fieldwork from reemployment programs, community psychosocial work, and psychotherapy training sessions in Beijing between 2002 and 2013, Yang highlights the role of psychology in state-led interventions to alleviate the effects of mass unemployment. She pays particular attention to those programs that train laid-off workers in basic psychology and then reemploy them as informal “counselors” in their capacity as housemaids and taxi drivers. These laid-off workers are filling a niche market created by both economic restructuring and the shortage of professional counselors in China, helping the government to defuse intensified class tension and present itself as a nurturing and kindly power. In reality, Yang argues, this process creates both new political complicity and new conflicts, often along gender lines. Women are forced to use the moral virtues and work ethics valued under the former socialist system, as well as their experiences of overcoming depression and suffering, as resources for their new psychological care work. Yang focuses on how the emotions, potentials, and “hearts” of these women have become sites of regulation, market expansion, and political imagination.
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    Our Unions, Our Selves: The Rise of Feminist Labor Unions in Japan
    Zacharias-Walsh, Anne (2016-08-01)
    [Excerpt] In Our Unions, Our Selves, Anne Zacharias-Walsh provides an in-depth look at the rise of women-only unions in Japan, an organizational analysis of the challenges these new unions face in practice, and a firsthand account of the ambitious, occasionally contentious, and ultimately successful international solidarity project that helped to spark a new feminist labor movement. In the early 1990s, as part of a larger wave of union reform efforts in Japan, women began creating their own women-only labor unions to confront long-standing gender inequality in the workplace and in traditional enterprise unions. These new unions soon discovered that the demand for individual assistance and help at the bargaining table dramatically exceeded the rate at which the unions could recruit and train members to meet that demand. Within just a few years, women-only unions were proving to be both the most effective option women had for addressing problems on the job and in serious danger of dying out because of their inability to grow their organizational capacity. Zacharias-Walsh met up with Japanese women's unions at a critical moment in their struggle to survive. Recognizing the benefits of a cross-national dialogue, they teamed up to host a multiyear international exchange project that brought together U.S. and Japanese activists and scholars to investigate the links between organizational structure and the day-to-day problems nontraditional unions face, and to develop Japan-specific participatory labor education as a way to organize and empower new generations of members. They also gained valuable insights into the fine art of building and maintaining the kinds of collaborative, cross border relationships that are essential to today’s social justice movements, from global efforts to save the environment to the Fight for $15 and Black Lives Matter.
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    What Workers Say: Employee Voice in the Anglo-American Workplace
    Freeman, Richard B.; Boxall, Peter; Haynes, Peter (2007-01-01)
    [Excerpt] This book is about employee voice in the workplaces of the highly developed Anglo-American economies: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. These are among the most economically successful countries in the world. Despite being located in three different geographic areas, the Anglo-American countries have a common language and legal tradition, have close economic and political ties, and are linked by flows of people, goods, and capital. Many of the same firms operate in each country. The unions in each pay more attention to their counterparts within the group than to unions in other countries. The Anglo-American brand of capitalism – market oriented and open to competition, with modest welfare sates and income transfer systems – differentiates the countries from countries in the “social dialogue” model of the European Union (although the United Kingdom and Ireland are part of the Union) and from the highly unionized labor system in Scandinavia.
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    What's Class Got To Do With It?: American Society in the Twenty-First Century
    The contributors to this volume argue that class identity in the United States has been hidden for too long. Their essays, published here for the first time, cover the relation of class to race and gender, to globalization and public policy, and to the lives of young adults. They describe how class, defined in terms of economic and political power rather than income, is in fact central to Americans’ everyday lives. This book is an important resource for the new field of working class studies.
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    From Predators to Icons: Exposing the Myth of the Business Hero
    Villette, Michel; Vuillermot, Catherine (2009-01-01)
    [Excerpted from Forword by John R. Kimberly] From Predators to Icons takes us on a provocative and nuanced journey through the business practices of a number of individuals and the companies they built and shows how they navigated through this volatile mix to achieve extraordinary success in their undertakings. In an era in which we are obsessed with rankings of everything from colleges and universities to hospitals to tennis players, we tend to focus on the end result—who is number 1?—and much less on the means: how did they get there? In an era when we are fascinated by stories of leaders as heroes and by the lives of the rich and famous, we tend to let the gloss of the material trappings of success blind us to questions of their origins. In the work they report here, Villette and Vuillermot use the lens of social science as a vehicle for unpacking the roots of extraordinary success in business, for analyzing how success was achieved. They have accumulated evidence from a variety of sources, including the myriad biographies—authorized and unauthorized—of business icons, to build their comparative analysis of the practices of thirty-two businessmen from Europe and North America, of how their wealth was built, and of the common threads that characterize the roots of success across geographies, across industries, and across time. Their approach is highly original, and the data they assemble are wide-ranging. They are well aware of both the promise and the limitations of their data and are careful to discuss both. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to judge the credibility of both the empirical foundations on which their analysis is built and the conclusions they reach, the messages they send. But theirs is an impressive undertaking and needs to be taken seriously.
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    What Workers Want
    Freeman, Richard B.; Rogers, Joel (2006-01-01)
    [Excerpt] This updated edition of What Workers Want keeps the core text and chapter structure of the first edition (Chapters 1-7 in the current book), while eliminating its appendices. The appendices reported the methodology, telephone questionnaires, and written materials used in the two waves of the Worker Representation and Participation Survey (WRPS), all of which is no available online at That site also offers an integrated dataset of all findings, ready for download by interested researchers, and links to other national surveys, modeled on the WRPS, conducted since. New to the updated edition are a new introduction and conclusion. The Introduction examines how our original findings stand up in light of the survey research that others have done since the WRPS. The Conclusion offers suggestions on how to reform our labor relations system so that it delivers to workers what they want in the form of workplace representation and participation.
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    Unfair Advantage: Workers’ Freedom of Association in the United States Under International Human Rights Standards
    Compa, Lance (2005-01-01)
    This book exposes the violations of human rights witnessed daily in workplaces across the United States. Based on detailed case studies in a variety of sectors, it reveals an “unfair advantage” in U.S. law and practice that allows employers to fire or otherwise punish thousands of workers as they seek to exercise their rights of association and to exclude millions more from laws that protect their rights to bargain and to organize. Unfair Advantage approaches workers’ use of organizing, collective bargaining, and strikes as an exercise of basic rights where workers are autonomous actors, not objects of unions’ or employers’ institutional interests. Both historical experience and a review of current conditions around the world indicate that strong, independent, democratic trade unions are vital for societies where human rights are respected.
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    Unwelcome And Unlawful: Sexual Harassment in the American Workplace
    Gregory, Raymond F. (2005-01-01)
    Nearly every American woman will, at some point during her working life, be sexually harassed, according to Raymond F. Gregory, a lawyer specializing in employment and discrimination law. This book provides information for those victims as well as for those suffering same sex harassment and for male victims of sexual harassment. Gregory analyzes sexual harassment from the perspective of existing federal law and describes the legal rights that may be asserted by victims of harassment to obtain either injunctive or monetary relief. By clarifying little understood aspects of the law barring sexual harassment, the author presents an indispensable resource for victims seeking to learn what to expect from the legal system if they contest the actions of their harassers in the courts.
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    Transnational Tortillas: Race, Gender, and Shop-Floor Politics in Mexico and the United States
    Munoz, Carolina Bank (2008-01-01)
    [Excerpt] In this book I seek to demonstrate the state's central role in the labor process by looking at racialized and gendered aspects of state policies, especially in the U.S.-Mexico border region. In the era of global capitalism—marked by the rise of neoliberalism and concomitant dismantling of the Keynesian state—Tortimundo draws on state policies, racialized and gendered labor markets, and race, class, and gender dynamics produced on the shop floor to create different ways of maintaining labor control. Particularly central to labor control on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border is immigration policy, which serves to create a vulnerable group of undocumented men at Hacienda CA and a vulnerable group of single mothers at Hacienda BC.
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    Ghostworkers and Greens: The Cooperative Campaigns of Farmworkers and Environmentalists for Pesticide Reform
    Tompkins, Adam (2016-01-01)
    [Excerpt] Ghostworkers and Greens shows how farmworker groups often drew connections to the larger public in their pesticide reform efforts in order to increase the number of people supporting their campaigns and compensate for their lack of political and economic power. While several agricultural chemicals carried the risk of poisoning farmworkers, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) focused its initial campaign on DDT, the infamous persistent pesticide whose threat extended well beyond the bounds of the field. The launch of subsequent campaigns followed incidents of widespread poisoning of the public by pesticide residue. Cesar Chavez and other organizers argued that growers’ misuse of pesticides threatened the public and farmworkers alike and that the problem could be resolved with a strong union presence in the fields. Other farmworker groups like the Maricopa County Organizing Project, Arizona Farm Workers, and the Farmworker Association of Florida focused their water quality, and ozone depletion. They similarly connected farmworker health issues to broader concerns. Additionally, these groups devoted resources to educational efforts among farmworkers, teaching workers and their families how to best protect their health around dangerous agricultural chemicals. The organizations used lawsuits to gain leverage as well. The public face of their campaigns, though, typically sought to establish a bond with people and groups having little direct connection to the fields. This book also demonstrates that environmental organizations espoused a similar rhetoric of cooperation, suggesting that environmentalists and workers should work together on issues when interests overlapped. Organizers of the first Earth Day stressed the value of building alliances with organizations associated with other causes, stating that the potential for cooperative campaigns was innumerable because pollution affected everyone regardless of race or social standing. Recently formed environmental organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Friends of Earth (FoE) embraced the expanded vision of environmentalism readily. Of the older conservation groups, the Sierra Club showed the greatest enthusiasm for tackling new challenges. This is made clear in Sierra Club Bulletin editorials from the early 1970s that spoke of the compatibility of environmentalism and social justice. Environmental organizations knew that workers and environmentalists would not agree on everything, but recognized the value of finding common ground and cooperating on issues of mutual interest. Many environmental groups continued to voice support for partnerships with labor organizations in the 1980s and beyond.