The American labor market faces many deep-rooted problems, including persistence of a large low-wage sector, worsening inequality in earnings, employees' lack of voice in the workplace, and the need of employers to maximize flexibility if they are to survive in an increasingly competitive market. The impetus for this book is the absence of a serious national debate about these issues.
The book represents nearly three years of deliberation by more than 250 people drawn from business, labor, community groups, academia, and government. It traces today's labor-market policy and laws back to the New Deal and to a second wave of social regulation that began in the 1960s. Underlying the current system are assumptions about who is working, what workers do, and how much job security workers enjoy. Economic and social changes have rendered those assumptions invalid and have resulted in mismatches between labor institutions and efficient and equitable deployment of the workforce, as well as between commitments to the labor market and family responsibilities. This book should launch a national dialogue on how to update our policies and institutions to catch up with the changes in the nature of work, in the workforce, and in the economy.
About the Authors
Paul Osterman is Nanyang Technological University Professor of Human Resources and Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He is coauthor (with Thomas A. Kochan, Richard M. Locke, and Michael J. Piore) of Working in America: A Blueprint for the New Labor Market (MIT Press, 2001).
Thomas A. Kochan is George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT. He is Codirector of both the Institute for Work and Employment Research at the Sloan School and the MIT Workplace Center. He is coauthor (with Paul Osterman, Richard M. Locke, and Michael J. Piore) of Working in America: A Blueprint for the New Labor Market (MIT Press, 2002).
Richard M. Locke is Class of 1992 Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"Work in America is becoming less secure, income inequalities are widening, and a growing proportion of employees have lost their institutional voice. In this volume, some of the most insightful scholars of the American workplace provide a timely analysis of why this is happening, along with a thoughtful assessment of what can be done to reverse these troubling trends."
—Robert B. Reich, University Professor, Brandeis University, and Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy, Heller Graduate School
“Few books both analyze an issue and suggest solutions as succinctly and persuasively as this one. The issue is the serious mismatch between old institutions and regulations and the new realities of a transformed American labor market. The broad menu of suggested solutions focuses on making the institutional and regulatory framework work better for everyone, both workers and their families and the businesses that use their services.”
—Marina von Neumann Whitman, Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, University of Michigan, and Independent Director of Alcoa, J.P. Morgan Chase, Procter and Gamble, and Unoca