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From Rights to Claims: The Role of Civil Society in Making Rights Real for Vulnerable Workers

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This article examines the contextual factors driving legal mobilization of workers in the United States through an analysis of national origin discrimination charges under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (2000-2005). Consistent with previous studies, this analysis confirms that high unemployment levels and weak labor protections promote legal mobilization. The findings also highlight the positive role that civil society may play in promoting claims-making. I argue that nongovernmental organizations fill the gap in places where organized labor is weak, and may help support claims-making particularly in places with a larger vulnerable workforce. The article concludes by offering suggestions for a renewed sociolegal research agenda that examines the role of 501c(3) civil society organizations for the legal mobilization of an increasingly non-unionized and immigrant workforce.

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2009-01-01

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worker mobilization; worker claims; labor rights; organized labor vulnerable workforce; working conditions

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Required Publisher Statement: © Wiley. Final version published as: Gleeson, S. (2009). From rights to claims: The role of civil society in making rights real for vulnerable workers [Electronic version]. Law & Society Review, 43(3), 669-700. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5893.2009.00385.x Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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