Synopses & Reviews
Undocumented and authorized immigrant laborers, female workers, workers of color, guest workers, and unionized workers together compose an enormous and diverse part of the labor force in America. Labor and employment laws are supposed to protect employees from various workplace threats, such as poor wages, bad working conditions, and unfair dismissal. Yet as members of individual groups with minority status, the rights of many of these individuals are often dictated by other types of law, such as constitutional and immigration laws. Worse still, the groups who fall into these cracks in the legal system often do not have the political power necessary to change the laws for better protection.
In Marginal Workers, Ruben J. Garcia demonstrates that when it comes to these marginal workers, the sum of the law is less than its parts, and, despite what appears to be a plethora of applicable statutes, marginal workers are frequently lacking in protection. To ameliorate the status of marginal workers, he argues for a new paradigm in worker protection, one based on human freedom and rights, and points to a number of examples in which marginal workers have organized for greater justice on the job in spite of the weakness of the law.
"At a moment of growing unrest around work relations, this book is a breath of fresh air. Garcia offers an analysis of the possibilities and challenges of work law reform that is rich and nuanced. The book succeeds in bringing together principles of workers rights with the realities of todays economy. Garcia masterfully weaves together vivid stories about workplace settings with thought-provoking ideas about legal boundaries, policy and law reform. Garcia is simultaneously practical and a visionary. Garcia is an experienced and engaged scholar and advocate and Marginal Workers holds the promise of revitalizing political and academic discussions across multiple disciplinary fields. Marginal Workers will be of immense value to anyone interested in the future of employment and labor law. The book will serve thinkers, activists and reformers for many years to come."-Orly Lobel,
"Ruben Garcias Marginal Workers moves the bar on workers rights advocacy. This important, synthesizing work should reach legal, policy, and activist communities throughout the United States. Garcia illuminates the interstices of a statutory and regulatory system meant to protect employees, but which leaves millions of low-wage workers exposed to workplace abuse. He does not rest with analyzing the problem; he offers ideas and proposals for relaunching workers rights from a platform of first principles, not transient policy preferences."-Lance Compa,
"Advanced readers will appreciate the survey of alternative strategies...recommended."-CHOICE,
"In Marginal Workers, Ruben Garcia goes further than any previous work in describing the various ways in which [U.S. labor and employment laws] fail to protect some of the most vulnerable workers in the country."-JOTWELL: Worklaw,
About the Author
Ruben J. Garcia is Professor of Law and Director of the Concentration in Labor and Employment Law at California Western School of Law in San Diego.
Table of Contents
ContentsPreface: The Place of the Law in the Workplace viiAcknowledgments xi1. Introduction: Who Are the Marginal Workers? 12. Framing Workers Rights: The Legal and Theoretical 14Underpinnings for the Protection of Marginal Workers3. New Voices at Work: Unionized Workers at the 36Intersection of Race and Gender4. Across the Borders: How Antidiscrimination Law Fails 64Noncitizens and Other Marginal Workers5. Labor as Property: Guestworkers at the Margins of 86Domestic Legal Systems6. A Global Understanding of Worker Protection 113Notes 143Index 173About the Author 183