Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights by Jennifer GordonSuburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights by Jennifer Gordon

Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights

byJennifer Gordon

Paperback | April 30, 2007

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Jorge Bonilla is hospitalized with pneumonia from sleeping at the restaurant where he works, unable to afford rent on wages of thirty cents an hour. Domestic worker Yanira Juarez discovers she has labored for six months with no wages at all; her employer lied about establishing a savings account for her. We live in an era of the sweatshop reborn.

In 1992 Jennifer Gordon founded the Workplace Project to help immigrant workers in the underground suburban economy of Long Island, New York. In a story of gritty determination and surprising hope, she weaves together Latino immigrant life and legal activism to tell the unexpected tale of how the most vulnerable workers in society came together to demand fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect from employers. Immigrant workers--many undocumented--won a series of remarkable victories, including a raise of thirty percent for day laborers and a domestic workers' bill of rights. In the process, they transformed themselves into effective political participants.

Gordon neither ignores the obstacles faced by such grassroots organizations nor underestimates their very real potential for fundamental change. This revelatory work challenges widely held beliefs about the powerlessness of immigrant workers, what a union should be, and what constitutes effective lawyering. It opens up exciting new possibilities for labor organizing, community building, participatory democracy, legal strategies, and social justice.

Jennifer Gordon is Associate Professor at Fordham School of Law and a former MacArthur Fellow.
Title:Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant RightsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8 × 5.13 × 0.94 inPublished:April 30, 2007Publisher:HarvardLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674024044

ISBN - 13:9780674024045


Table of Contents


1. The New Sweatshops

2. The Workplace Project Story

3. Paths to Participation

4. Rights Talk and Collective Action

5. A Legal Clinic and Organizing

6. Noncitizen Citizenship





Editorial Reviews

The author tells a detailed story of her involvement in the Workplace Project and the struggle to get the Republican-controlled New York state legislature and Republican Governor to pass the Unpaid Wages Prohibition Act in 1997...This is an important book in many ways. It provides a highly personal perspective on the issue of exploitation of foreign-born low-wage service workers in the United States. At the same time, because the author is not a foreign-born low-wage service worker, she is able to maintain an appropriate detachment to produce an insightful and rich discourse.