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Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat


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Table of Contents

1 Brown-Collar Jobs: Low-Wage Immigrant Workers in the 21st Century
2 Immigration and Labor in Historical Perspective
3 The Eclipse of the New Deal: Labor Degradation, Union Decline, and Immigrant Workers
4 Growing Inequality and Immigrant Employment in Paid Domestic Labor and Service Industry Jobs
5 Immigrant Labor Organizing and Advocacy in the Neoliberal Era

About the Author

Ruth Milkman is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Academic Director of the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. She served as President of the American Sociological Association in 2016.


"This new book is a vital corrective to the conservative claim that immigrants 'take jobs' from American workers. Milkman's careful historical research shows that de-unionization and job degradation, on the one hand, and rising inequality on the other, are the key drivers of rising low-wage immigration over the past half-century - not vice versa. Understanding that employers and political elites are to blame for the plight of U.S.-born workers - not immigrants - can help to build bridges across racial and ethnic lines to mount a unified challenge to the toxic politics of right-wing populism."
Pramila Jayapal, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

"Ruth Milkman addresses the central claim of contemporary nativism, that immigrants 'take' the jobs of 'Americans.' She persuasively shows that immigrant labor is not the cause of wage degradation, but its consequence. An important and timely book."
Mae Ngai, Columbia University

"This carefully documented and forcefully argued book is a convincing counter to conventional immigration narratives."
Michael J. Piore, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"In her four-plus decades of pioneering research, Ruth Milkman has profoundly changed the way we approach gender, immigration, and work. . . . Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat does much to capture the policy and political-economic changes that have formed the backdrop of Milkman's equally pioneering work on immigrant labor organizing."
ILR Review

"A cogent historical sociological argument regarding the main driver of low wage migration to the USA since the 1970s. [...] Milkman provides a concise, readable, evidence-based counter-narrative to the 'immigrant threat narrative.'"

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