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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fighting for Protections: Challenging the 21st Century Sweatshop in New York State
by Hayes, Jacqueline, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2017, 186; 10682549
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines how neoliberalism and immigration enforcement between 1980 and 2010 changed the nature of ‘sweated’ work in the U.S. This dissertation focuses on the particular case of Latino undocumented workers in New York State and the organizations fighting to win them protections. In order to answer my research questions, I conducted 30 semi-structured interviews over the course of 2 years (2013–2015), examined immigration enforcement data, and analyzed U.S. immigration and welfare policies between 1980 and the present. Research interviews made clear that both the lack of social and legal protections alongside the threat of immigration enforcement have a definitive impact on working conditions in low-wage sectors. Staff and volunteers from worker justice centers and immigration rights organizations also emphasized the fact that some of the old protections that were hard fought and won by prior generations of labor activists are ill-suited to address the needs of low-wage, non-citizen workers who face a number of new challenges. By focusing on undocumented Latino workers and worker centers in New York State this dissertation shifts the conceptual lens from a particular ‘worksite’ to the forces—historical, legal, and social—which make sweating possible once an individual enters a workplace. This dissertation contends that the specters of wagelessness and deportation collaborate to ensure the flexibility of undocumented labor and that these are the distinctive features of the contemporary U.S. sweatshop.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cruz, José
Commitee: Benjamin, Bret, Gauss, Susan
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Spanish-Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Labor relations, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Immigration, Labor, Latino, Undocumented
Publication Number: 10682549
ISBN: 978-0-355-51618-0
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