What Workers Want

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Cornell University Press, 2006 - Business & Economics - 238 pages

Praise for the first edition:

"This very valuable book reports the results of a large-scale and complex survey aimed at understanding the preferences of employees regarding workplace governance and their attitudes toward the three key institutions in the labor market: unions, government, and firms. . . . The findings are . . . sophisticated and convincing. . . . This is a terrifically useful book that contains a wealth of information."—Labor History

"What Workers Want is one of the most ambitious efforts ever undertaken to determine the attitudes of employees about the American workplace. . . . An extremely important contribution to the long and often heated debates that swirl around these issues."—Ralph Nader

"What Workers Want is a sharply focused study of how American workers think about workplace participation. This book is a message about workplace democracy that union leaders would do well to build into their organizing strategies."—Dissent

"This is easily one of the most readable books on industrial relations matters written by academics in recent times. The authors are able simultaneously to engage the reader in an almost folksy manner, while also being quite rigorous in their presentation of data. There should be more such books."—Journal of Industrial Relations

How would a typical American workplace be structured if the employees could design it? According to Richard B. Freeman and Joel Rogers, it would be an organization run jointly by employees and their supervisors, one where disputes between labor and management would be resolved through independent arbitration. Their groundbreaking book provides a comprehensive account of employees' attitudes about participation, representation, and regulation on the job.

For the updated edition, the authors have added an introduction showing how recent data have confirmed and strengthened their basic argument. A new concluding chapter lays out the model of "open source unionism" that they propose for rebuilding unionism in the United States, making this updated edition essential for anyone thinking about what labor should be doing to move forward.


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Introduction to the Updated Edition
Ask the People Who Live There
Finding Out What Workers Want
What Workers Want and Why They Dont Have It
How Workers Judge Unions
How Workers Judge Management
How Workers Judge Government Regulations
If Workers Could Choose
Toward a New Labor Relations System

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About the author (2006)

Richard B. Freeman holds the Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University. He is also director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, codirector of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. Joel Rogers is Professor of Law, Political Science, and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a contributing editor of The Nation and Boston Review and the director of COWS and the John R. Commons Center.

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