SOC 207 Final Notes
Created: 4/7/2013 4:34 PM Updated: 4/7/2013 9:59 PM
Chapters: Good Jobs/Bad Jobs; Unions; Meaning of Work & Alienation; Stress and Health
Good Jobs/ Bad Jobs and Worker Resistance (Unions and Strikes)
Good Jobs/ Bad Jobs
Income and occupations - more money/ more status?
unequal distribution of pay within occupations
white, blue, pink collar
strong correlation to skill and income
Employment benefits - security/ fringe benefits
"indirect pay or increased security"
Employment Insurance (EI), CPP, Workers comp, paid sick leave, maternity/paternity
Full time, professionals, unionized better off
Personal health risks - worker injury, death, compensation
1993-2005 - 11k Canadians (4/day) died on the job
greater odds than killed on the road
construction, transportation production jobs
employees and government regulators taking greater precautions since 1980
OSHA "Safe at Work Ontario"
$4.65 billion -1998
union protection plays a role
mental health costs? additional work stress-ors? professional sports?
Bad Jobs Non-standard and Precarious Work
"Employment situations that deviate from the"standard employment relationship" (SER)
"refers to a normative model of employment where the worker has one employer, works full
time, year round on the employers premises under his/her supervision, enjoys extensive
statutory benefits and entitlements and expects to be employed indefinitely"
stability in schedule, location and future employment
Non-standard Wor nk:standard employees a growing periphery/secondary labour market
working fewer hours, not enough work hours
highest in 15-24, 65+
lowest in 25-50
emphasis on flexibility and cost reduction
Part time work (less than 30hrs/week)
grown since 1970s
19% in 2008
service sector: most common sector for workers, by nature most part-timers
women 68% of workforce
temporary or contract jobs
contracting, seasonal, agency workers, temps
12% in 2008
equal gender distribution
large increase in lst 10 yrs
pays less, fewer benefits, less security non-standard vs Precarious work
Precarious work refers to “…forms of employment involving atypical employment contracts,
limited social benefits and statutory entitlements, job insecurity, low job tenure, low earnings,
poor working conditions and risks to ill health” (Cranford et al. p. 99).
How does this differ from nonstandard work?
Nonstandard work encompasses all employment situations deviating from the SER. This
approach, however, is too broad to really assess the proliferation of bad jobs.. Precarious
work refers ONLY to nonstandard work that embody the aforementioned features, and
therefore are detrimental to the individual.
These are the truly “bad jobs”
Precarious Work Gendered
gendered - gender shapes the social relations in key institutions that organize society (family,
differences between men and women seen as 'social inequalities'
Feminization of employment norms
decline of SER after WWII (largely based on ideal male worker)
unstable globabl economy leads to nonstandard types of jobs women occupied most of these, and among the most precarious
justified by unexpected social obligations
women's overrepresented in work implies association in employment norms
feminized work, therefore devalued
Feminzation of employment norms
“….denotes the erosion of the standard employment relationship as a norm and the
spread of non-standard forms of employment that exhibit qualities of precarious
employment associated with women…” (p. 102)
There has been an increase in precarious work from 1989 to 2001
Women are overrepresented in part-time, temporary work (which is the most precarious form of work)
Within fulltime and part-time permanent work, women experience more precarious job qualities (lower firm
size, less union protection, and reduced wages) compared to their male counterparts
Men experience more precarious job qualities in full-time and part-time temporary work, which may highlight
the feminization of these types of jobs.
The authors suggest these findings provide evidence of the feminization of employment norms. Do you?
Unions and Strikes
Why do workers unionize?
Five reasons (Poole 1981)
Against injustices and inequalities
Psychological defense mechanism
Against the threat of capitalism
Response to economic realities
Low quality work conditions
Political organizations Extending workers’ rights
Conflict vs Cooperation
Compared to industrial relations perspectives, sociologists take a more critical approach to unions.
“…continuous process of pressure and counter-pressure” (Hyman 1975, p. 26)
Unions represent the organizational body that fight to maintain and retain control over work relations.
The labour process & rewards of work
Conflict key forcollective bargainingand reaching a collective agreement.
Managers must be faced with the threat of worker disruption to ensure they treat their
Not always a zero-sum game (i.e., both sides can win).
Third party arbitrators (i.e., government; police)
Consequences of Conflict:
What happens when unions cannot collective deal with management?
A strike is “[a] temporary stoppage of work willfully effected by a group of workers, or by one or
more employers, with the view to enforcing a demand” (qtd. in KLH, p. 390;Lacroix1986, p. 172)
Can occur after a strike vote, but also unauthorized strikes (i.e.,wildcat strikes); can focus
on labour or have a political agenda
Strikes could be considered a “necessary process of labour relations”
Key word here being relations, suggesting there are two parties involved in every strike (p. 392)
Marxist Opinion of Unions
For Marxists, unions contradict the position of the proletariat relative to the owner, by trying to contend
the worker in the confines of management regulation, or capitalism more broadly
Unions can “control” workers’ discontents by channelling problems through a regulatory body and
finding formal solutions, without disrupting the capitalist agenda & complying with higher forms
Union representatives (steward): While democratic, the legitimacy of union democracy is questionable
Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy
Rule by Elite is inevitable as an Iron Law within any organization as part of the tactical and
technical necessities of organization.
Are unions good or bad for workers?
Big labour image (lowe and Krahn 1989)
Struggle within the confines of capitalism
The monopoly face (freeman and Medoff 1984)
Business unionism (lowe and krahn 1989)
the Union wage premium and related benefits
protection against precarious circumstances (cranford et all 2006)
the "collective voice" (freeman and medoff 1984)
Youth and visible minorities are especially in favor
Divided by skill, gender, and occupation
Carpenters, cabinet makers, blacksmiths, shoemakers
Trade Unions Act (1872; Toronto printers)
Trades & Labour Congress (1883; Nine Hour Movement)
Controlled access to craft (labour market shelter)
All workers in an industry are represented by the same union regardless of skill
Knights of Labour (1875; Hamilton); One Big Union (1919 Winnipeg General Strike)
Breakthrough: UAW (CIO)
Canadian Labour Congress (craft and industry unite!)
2008 Cad Union membership at 29.4%
Loss of good jobs, growth of bad
Women and racial minorities underrepresented in unions and these are the groups that need the most
protection, given their over-representation in precarious work. At first glance, appears that unions have done a good job; however, “…[u]nionsdo not seek out
organizing opportunities amongst women workers; rather women go in search of a union to
represent them” (Yates p. 623).
Unions rarely make the attempt to organize racial minorities, despite the growing rate in
manufacturing and other related industries
1) ‘white’ face of unions;
2) reduced resources;
3) labour market vulnerability
Good jobs versus bad jobs
Bad jobs reflect growth from core to periphery of Precarious work;
The gender of precarious work (Cranford et al. 2006)
Erosion of SER, feminization of employment norms
Unions can maintain control overlabourprocess and reward
Silencing workers and minority under-representation
Movie Clip: Made in Dagenham
Rita O'Grady leads the 1968 Ford sewing machinists strike at the Ford Dagenham plant, where
female workers walk out in protest against sexual discrimination, demanding equal pay. The
strike is successful and leads to the Equal Pay Act 1970.
Themes to think about
Do these women have “good jobs” or “bad jobs”?
Does the union represent their interests? How does this piece relate to the following ideas:
Unions as managers of discontent
The feminization of employment norms
Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy
Monopoly face of unions
The Meaning of Work and Alienation: Job Satisfaction and Exploitation in the 21stCentury The meaning of work
Job, career, and calling orientations
Job orientation - economic
Career orientation - recognition, dignity
Calling orientation - ideological, cause related
Protestant work ethic and humanist tradition
The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1958)
“There is just one best way to serve God—to do so perfectly the work of one’s profession”
The reformation changed the perspective of work, dignifying the most mundane of jobs
These religious beliefs gave rise to the values associated with capitalism today.
Helped foster an ideology that promoted profit seeking behaviour, and motivated workers.
Work as self-fulfillment
The humanist tradition
Work is seen as a “fulfilling and liberating activity, and that it constitutes the very essence of
humanity” (p. 417)
Marx – “Species being…”
Modern views on work orientations (Lockwood, Bunting)
Work an “instrument” to obtain a better standard of living (p. 426)
The modern worker? (Goldthorpeet al. 1969)
Limited job choices? (Blackburn and Mann 1979; Sennett and Cobb 1972)
The Overwork Culture Madeleine Bunting (2004) “Willing Slaves”
Overwork a symbol of status and pride
“the good life” rather than “the goods life” (Swift 1995)
Variations in Values and Orientations
Cross cultural variations?
Collectivist versus individualist
Women place less value on work?
baby-boomers, X, and Y
Youth still have strong work ethic, but anxiety about future jobs
What about the unemployed?
A loss of identity, stability, and independence
What is job satisfaction?
The extent to which workers are content with their job
Affective and cognitive satisfaction
Why do we care?
In Canada approximately 70% of workers are satisfied with their job (Graham Lowe Group 2004).
Herzberg's two-factor theory of satisfaction Critique of Herzberg – structural approach
Consider individual differences
Which matters more for job satisfaction—individual orientations or structural rewards?
Kalleberg(1977) ASR “Work Values and Job Rewards”
Job satisfaction results from the proper pairing of orientation AND work rewards
Orientation can lead to greater dissatisfaction
Kalleberg: Six dimensions of work
relationships with coworkers
Marxist, social-psychological, and competing perspectives
Four dimensions of alienation
1.From the product of his labour
2.From the act of producing
3.From him/herself, as a producer; hisspecies-essence/being
4. From other workers Optimistic views…
Robert Blauner (1964) “Alienation and Freedom”
Industrialization would provide less alienating work conditions because of technology
Rejects capitalism as always alienating
Freedom as ability to choose work
Technology is a major determinant to degree of alienation
priniting industriy, low levels of alienation, high skill
automobile industry, high alienation, low skill
predicted as technology advances, less workers needed in high alienation jobs
technological determinism by those who control the firm
Richard Sennett (1998) “The Corrosion of Character” Postmodern flexibility leads to a loss of identity
constant restructuring of work organization, focus on flexibility of production delivery of
constant change leads to no firm psychology for worker. erosion
Critiques and contrary evidence…what about the person?
Burawoy (1979) “Manufacturing Consent”
Scientific management approach to consent.
Randy Hodson (1991) “The Active Worker”
Workers exercise creativity and autonomy within alienated jobs
Compliance vs Autonomy
Types of migrant workers
Seasonal workers migrate from home country for limited amount of time
E.g., Mexican farmers (Basok2004)
Work in one nation, but maintain strong ties with home country
E.g., Filipina domestic workers (Parrenas2000)
Growth in migrant labour influenced by need for cheap, temporary labour Prevalence (Canadian, by gender and skill) Theorie