[URBANTH-L] citations for student work on immigrant-rich industries in the U.S.

Angela C. Stuesse astuesse at gmail.com
Tue Apr 14 21:11:18 EDT 2009


I have received many responses to my request for 
citations of publications on immigrant-rich 
low-wage industries in the U.S.  I circulated the 
inquiry to this listserv and also to the National 
Employment Law Project (NELP) Immigrant and 
Nonstandard Workers listserv, and got lots of 
great suggestions from both.  Thanks to everyone 
who contributed!  Several folks asked me to 
circulate the list to the group, so I've pasted 
it below.  It is not comprehensive or complete, 
but it's a good start.  Feel free to share with 
others who might be interested or send me 
additional things (off list) to add.

Angela Stuesse
astuesse at gmail.com

garment industry
car wash industry
farmwork / agriculture
domestic / nanny / home healthcare
day laborers
janitors / cleaning crews
(poultry/meatpacking)  Note:  I did not ask for 
citations for the poultry/meatpacking industry 
because it is my own area of work, but I have included it in the list below.

General Materials on Low-Wage Immigrant Work

I am a staff consultant for RefugeeWorks, which 
is the United States Office of Refugee 
Resettlement's training and technical assistance 
arm for employment and self-sufficiency 
activities. We specialize in providing training, 
consulting and publishing services to the 
national refugee employment network. Working in 
partnership with service providers and employers 
nationwide, we are committed to helping refugees 
achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Many of our publications, workshops and 
conferences cover issues mentioned in your query. 
While we do not specifically serve an academic 
audience, some of our contributing writers have 
academic backgrounds in anthropology and in the social sciences.

RefugeeWorks' publications can be found here, at: 

  --"Daniel Sturm" <mailto:DSturm at lirs.org>DSturm at lirs.org

Overwork and Overtime, 39 Ind. L. Rev. 51 (2005).

Developing a Course on the Rights of Low-Wage 
Workers, 54 J. Legal Educ. 380 (2004).

Rudnyckyj, Daromir.  2004. "Technologies of 
Servitude: Governmentality and Indonesian 
Transnational Labor Migration."  Anthropological Quarterly. 77(3): 407-434.

Barrett, James R., and David Roediger
             1997    Inbetween Peoples:  Race, 
Nationality and the 'New Immigrant' Working 
Class. Journal of American Ethnic History 16(3):3-45.
Break the Chains Alliance
             2005    Employer Sanctions Concept 
Paper. Pp. 3: The National Mobilization against Sweatshops.
De Genova, Nicholas P.
             2002    Migrant "Illegality" and 
Deportability in Everyday Life. Annual Review of Anthropology 2002(31):419-447.
Louie, Miriam Ching Yoon
             2001    Sweatshop Warriors: 
Immigrant Women Workers Take On the Global 
Factory. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
Murphy, Arthur D., Colleen Blanchard, and Jennifer A. Hill, eds.
             2001    Latino Workers in the 
Contemporary South. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

Garment Industry

Laura Hapke, Sweatshop: The History of an 
American Idea (Rutgers University Press 2004). 
This book provides background into exploitation 
in the garment industry in the US. The book 
highlights the presence of “sweatshops” in 
America from historic times to the present.

Garment Workers Center, Building Worker Power in 
the Garment Industry available at 
(last visited Jan 20, 2009) (note download unsuccessful)


¡Sí Se Puede!  Immigrant Workers and the 
Transformation of the Los Angeles Labor and 
Worker Center Movements, Victor Narro


Exploiting the Joint Employer Doctrine: Providing 
a Break for Sweatshop Workers, 34 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 291 (2003).

Car Wash Industry


The Los Angeles Car Wash Workers Organizing 
Campaign: Building on the AFL-CIO Worker Center 
Program, By Jon Hiatt, AFL-CIO General Counsel

¡Sí Se Puede!  Immigrant Workers and the 
Transformation of the Los Angeles Labor and 
Worker Center Movements, Victor Narro


Farmwork / Agriculture

2003   Charles D. Thompson Jr. and Melinda F. 
Wiggins (eds.) (2002) The Human Cost of Food: 
Farmworkers’ Lives, Labor, and Advocacy. Austin: University of Texas Press.

David Griffith, American Guestworkers 

In general, I recommend everything by David 
Griffith (the author of the item above):

Griffith et al., Working Poor (farmworkers)

Wells, M. J. 1996. Strawberry Fields: Politics, 
Class, and Work in California Agriculture. Ithaca 
and London: Cornell University Press.

Ferriss, S., and R. Sandoval. 1997. The Fight in 
the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers 
Movement. San Diego, New York and London: Harcourt Brace & Company.

Restaurant / Hotel Workers

For information about restaurant and hotel 
workers, consult the UNITE/HERE web site 
There are lots of good resources there.

Report: Creating Luxury, Enduring Pain: How Hotel Work is Hurting Housekeepers

ROC-NY & the New York Restaurant Industry 
Coalition, Behind the Kitchen Door: Pervasive 
Inequality in the New York City’s Thriving 
Restaurant Industry (2005), available at 
This report highlights labor and health 
conditions in New York’s restaurants, as part of 
ROC’s organizing strategy. Not on point to larger worker center project.

Press Release, 
(ROC recently pushed the NY City Council to 
introduce a bill that would require the city to 
review employment law violations when considering 
whether to renew a restaurant operating lease).

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of New 
York, New York City Restaurant Owners Manual, 
(2006), available at 
“owners guide” that ROC developed, not funded and 
distributed through the NY mayor’s office. Not on 
point to the worker center research project.

2005. Rachel Adler “Oye compadre, the chef needs 
a dishwasher: Yucatecan Men in the Dallas 
Restaurant Economy.” Urban Anthropology.

2002. "Patron-Client Ties, Ethnic 
Entrepreneurship and Transnational Migration: The 
Case of Yucatecans in Dallas, Texas," Urban Anthropology 31: 129-161.

¡Sí Se Puede!  Immigrant Workers and the 
Transformation of the Los Angeles Labor and 
Worker Center Movements, Victor Narro


Pribilsky's "La Chulla Vida" has a small section on restaurant workers.

Dissertation by Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz, Department of 
Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2009.

Sen, Rinku, and with Fekkak Mamdouh
         2008    The Accidental 
American:  Immigration and Citizenship in the Age 
of Globalization. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Domestic Workers

Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Day Labor Program 
Women's Collective of La Raza Centro Legal. 
DataCenter, Behind Closed Doors: Working 
Conditions of California Household Workers 
(2007), available at 
(last visited Jan 20, 2009).Cool overview of a 
study done of domestic workers, includes great 
statistics and general trends in the industry.

Domestic Workers United & Datacenter, Home Is 
Where The Work Is: Inside New York’s Domestic 
Work Industry (2006), available at 
(last visited Jan 20, 2009).Amazing overview of 
the industry, surveys and statistics and great 
overview of the industry, with specifics and the 
Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

This one is a bit more a coffee table book, so 
mostly pictures and personal narratives, and less 
analysis, but perhaps powerful for teaching:

Frank Cancian, Orange County Housecleaners. 
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2006

Chang, Grace
             2000    Disposable 
Domestics:  Immigrant Women Workers in the Global 
Economy. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. 2001. Doméstica:  Immigrant 
Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of 
Affluence. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Day Laborers


For day laborers, as I am sure you know, there 
are a lot of interesting day laborer work centers 
with web sites; one I think is particularly 
useful is <http://www.daylaborchicago.com/>http://www.daylaborchicago.com/

A good film about day laborers is Los 
Tabajadores: The 

Kijune Kim & Eddie Taylor, Research Studies on 
Day Laborers, University of Maryland Labor Law 
Clinic (), available at 
Research about day laborers. Not on point to workers center research project.

Luna Yasui, Carherine Ruckelshaus, & Rebecca 
Smith, Drafting Day Labor Legislation: A Guide 
for Organizers and Advocates, National Employment 
Law Project (2004), available at 
This is an overview of possible proposed 
legislation to support day laborers. Includes all 
aspects that such legislation should include. Not 
applicable to workers’ centers projects, unless 
specifically focused on day laborers.

National Day Labor Organizing Network, Building 
Community: The Components of a Day Labor Worker 
Center Model, available at 
Specific to day laborer, about industry issues 
not worker center legal issues. Not on point to 
worker center research project.

Abel Valenzuela, Jr., et al, On the Corner: Day 
Labor in the United States (Jan 2006), available 
at <http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/uicued/> (last 
visited Jan 20, 2009).  Excellent overview of the 
daily lives of day laborers and the conditions 
they face. Comprehensive survey of almost 3,000 
day laborers at 264 different hiring sites. 
Addresses the application of workers’ center 
organizing to day-laborers, without specifics but 
includes general recommendations.

Abel Valenzuela, Jr. and Edwin Melendez, Day 
Labor in New York: Findings From the NYDL Survey 
(Apr 2003), available at 
(last visited Jan 20, 2009).  Same data 
collection and summary about day laborers, but 
with a focus on the New York market.

¡Sí Se Puede!  Immigrant Workers and the 
Transformation of the Los Angeles Labor and 
Worker Center Movements, Victor Narro


I like Leo Chavez's "Shadowed Lives" which is 
mostly about day-laborers, though work isn't really the focus

Valenzuela, Jr. Abel, Nik Theodore, Edwin 
Melendez, and Ana Luz Gonzalez. 2006. ³On the 
Corner: Day Labor in the United States.² 
Technical Report, UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty.

Gordon, Jennifer
             2005    Suburban Sweatshops: The 
Fight for Immigrant Rights. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Janitors / cleaning crews

Recommended by at least half a dozen 
people:  Janitors, Street Vendors and Activists by Christian Zlolniski

For information about immigrants and janitorial 
work, the Justice for Janitors web site is a 
treasure trove of videos, reports and other materials:

The Houston affiliate is particularly useful: 
It includes a very nice collection of videos of workers telling their stories.

Report: Good Jobs. A New Indianapolis. Building a 
Brighter Future for Our City’s Janitors


Stuesse, Angela C.
2008    Globalization "Southern Style": 
Transnational Migration, the Poultry Industry, 
and Implications for Organizing Workers across 
Difference, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of 
Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin.

2009    "Race, Migration, and Labor 
Control:  Neoliberal Challenges to Organizing 
Mississippi's Poultry Workers," in Latino 
Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. 
South. Edited by M. Odem and E. Lacy. Pp. 
91-111.  Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
Marc Cooper's piece, ³The Heartland's Raw Deal: 
How Meatpacking is Creating a New Immigrant 
Underclass², from The Nation Feb 1997

Barrett, James R.
             1987    Work and Community in the 
Jungle:  Chicago's Packinghouse Workers, 
1894-1922. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Bell, June D.
             2004    A "Less is More" Strategy 
Clicks with Jury in Tyson Case. The National Law Journal 26(28):1.
Boyd, William
             2001    Making Meat: Science, 
Technology, and American Poultry Production. 
Technology and Culture 42(October 2001):631-664.
Boyd, William, and Michael Watts
             1997    Agro-Industrial 
Just-In-Time: The Chicken Industry and Postwar 
American Capitalism. In Globalising Food: 
Agrarian Questions and Global Restructuring. D. 
Goodman and M. Watts, eds. Pp. 192-225. London: Routledge.
Chatterley, Cedric N., Alicia J. Rouverol, and with Stephen A. Cole
             2000    I Was Content and Not 
Content: The Story of Linda Lord and the Closing 
of Penobscot Poultry. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Cook, Christopher D.
             1999    Fowl Trouble: In the 
Nation's Poultry Plants, Brutality to Worker as 
Well as to Bird. Harper's Magazine 299(1791):78-79.
Fink, Deborah
             1998    Cutting into the Meatpacking 
Line: Workers and Change in the Rural Midwest. 
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Fink, Leon
             2003    The Maya of Morganton: Work 
and Community in the Nuevo New South. Durham: 
University of North Carolina Press.
Grabowski, Anita
             2003    La Pollera: Latin American 
Poultry Workers in Morton, Mississippi. Institute 
of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin.
Griffith, David
             1995    Hay Trabajo: Poultry 
Processing, Rural Industrialization, and 
Latinization of Low-Wage Labor. In Any Way You 
Cut It: Meat Processing and Small-Town America. 
D.D. Stull, M.J. Broadway, and D. Griffith, eds. 
Pp. 129-151. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
Griffith, David C.
             1993    Jones's Minimal: Low-Wage 
Labor in the United States. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Helton, Laura E., and Angela C. Stuesse
             n.d.      Race, Low-wage Legacies 
and the Politics of Poultry 
Processing:  Intersections of Contemporary 
Immigration and African American Labor Histories 
in Central Mississippi. Southern Labor Studies 
Conference, Moving Workers: Migration and the South, Birmingham, Alabama, 2004.
Human Rights Watch. 2004. Blood, Sweat, and Fear: 
Workers' Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants.
Kandell, William
             2006    Meat-Processing Firms 
Attract Hispanic Workers to Rural America. Amber 
Waves June:Located at 
(Last accessed 9/19/2006).
Occupational Safety and Health Association
             2004    Guidelines for Poultry 
Processing:  Ergonomics for the Prevention of 
Musculoskeletal Disorders. Located at: 
last accessed 4/23/2008: U.S. Department of Labor.
Sampson, Kristin, and Carole Morrison
             2007    US Poultry in the Global 
Economy:  Impacts on Women, Livelihoods, and the 
Environment. Pp. 6. Washington, DC: Center of Concern.
Schlosser, Eric
             2001    Fast Food Nation: The Dark 
Side of the All-American Meal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Sinclair, Upton
             1906    The Jungle. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company.
Striffler, Steve
             2002    Inside a Poultry Processing 
Plant: An Ethnographic Portrait. Labor History 43(3).
             2005    Chicken: The Dangerous 
Transformation of America's Favorite Food. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Stull, Donald D, Michael J. Broadway, and David Griffith, eds.
             1995    Any Way You Cut It: Meat 
Processing and Small-Town America. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
Stull, Donald D, Eric Schlosser, and Michael J. Broadway, eds.
             2003    Slaughterhouse Blues: The 
Meat and Poultry Industry in North America: Wadsworth Publishing.
U.S. Department of Labor
             2000    Year 2000 Poultry Processing Compliance Report.
United Food and Commercial Workers
             2002    A Voice for Working America: 
Injury and Injustice-America's Poultry Industry. 
Located at: 
(Last accessed 10/13/2002).


No one sent me any citations on immigrant workers 
in the construction industry.  I know the 
Workers’ Defense Project in Austin, Texas is 
producing a report, but it is not yet available 
as of 4/2009. 

Angela C. Stuesse, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
University of California, Los Angeles

astuesse at gmail.com / astuesse at irle.ucla.edu

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