Synopses & Reviews
Most Americans think that our country has done quite a lot to protect women and ensure gender equity in the workplace. After all, we have banned discrimination against women, required equal pay for equal work, and adopted family-leave legislation. But the fact is that we have a two-tiered system, where some working women have a full panoply of rights while others have few or none at all. We allow blatant discrimination by small employers. Domestic workers are cut out of our wage and overtime laws. Part-time workers, disproportionately women, are denied basic benefits. Laws are written through a process of compromise and negotiation, and in each case vulnerable workers were the bargaining chip that was sacrificed to guarantee the policy's enactment. For these workers, the system that was supposed to act as a safety net has become a sieveand they are still falling through.
Caroline Fredrickson is a powerful advocate and D.C. insider who has witnessed the legislative compromises that leave out temps, farmworkers, employees of small businesses, immigrants, and other workers who fall outside an intentionally narrow definition of "employees." The women in this fast-growing part of the workforce are denied minimum wage, maternity leave, health care, the right to unionize, and protection from harassment and discriminationall within the bounds of the law. If current trends continue, their fate will be the future of all American workers.
Praise for Under the Bus:
"This is a damn fine book that I will reference frequently and at length, forever. . . . The book is easy to read and its easy to recognize myselfand the women Ive worked with over the yearsin its pages."
Linda Tirado, Elle
"I took furious notes while reading Caroline Fredricksons Under the Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over. . . . Furious because I had to write fast to keep up with information Fredrickson packs into this relatively slim book, and furious because every new thing I learned made the hair on my neck stand on end."
Katie McDonough, Salon
"Offers up fixes for this broken, exclusive system."
"Informative, occasionally shocking exploration of the state of womens rights in the workplace."
"This excellent book will contribute to ongoing discussions concerning women in the workplace."
"Did you think you knew the facts about women and work? Think again. Caroline Fredrickson has written a terrific book that paints the whole picture, and its not pretty. The history, the huge continuing gaps in the laws, the widespread employer exploitation, the statistics, and the wrenching storiestheyre all there in this meticulously researched and utterly gripping volume."
Peter Edelman, author of So Rich, So Poor
"Women workers are the backbone of Americas service economy, yet, as Fredrickson so expertly describes in Under the Bus, millions have been abandoned by our nations employment laws, which were established to protect all workers. The book provides clear ways forward to help empower and lift up the voices of women workers and to reverse the growing income inequality they face. Fredricksons persuasive analysis explains why organizing and legislation must go hand in hand."
Mary Kay Henry, International President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
"Under the Bus vividly brings to life the hardest working women in our economy and shows that their systemic exclusion is no mistake but a calculated result of racism and narrow thinking. Fredricksons indispensable work expands the conversation from the few women at the top of the corporate structure to the many millions who are working to survive. Brilliant, compelling, and important."
Saru Jayaraman, co-director, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; director of the Food Labor Research Center, UC Berkeley; and author of Behind the Kitchen Door
About the Author
Caroline Fredrickson is the president of the American Constitution Society. She has been widely published on a range of legal and constitutional issues and is a frequent guest on television and radio shows. Before joining ACS, Fredrickson served as the director of the ACLUs Washington legislative office and as general counsel and legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America. She lives in Washington, D.C.