Talk looks at promise and failure of workplace protections in US

Shannon Gleeson

Professor Shannon Gleeson of the University of California, Santa Cruz, will address the promise and failure of workplace protections in the United States at a talk Wednesday as part of the Global Labour Speakers Series.

“Navigating the Bureaucracy, Searching for Justice: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States” will take place April 2, from 11:30am to 1:30pm, 519 Kaneff Tower, Keele campus. The talk is co-organized by the Global Labour Research Centre and the Closing the Gap: Employment Standard Enforcement Research Initiative. Everyone is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.

Shannon Gleeson
Shannon Gleeson

In this presentation, Gleeson, a visiting scholar with the Closing the Enforcement Gap project, will examine the process of making rights real for low-wage workers. She will focus on the function of the labour standards enforcement bureaucracy from the perspective of workers who have come forward to make a claim against their employers.

Through her research Gleeson asks, What propels a worker to come forward and file a claim, given all the evidence we know about the barriers to claims-making?  What shapes the legal consciousness of workers and how do lay conceptions of justice differ from what is inscribed in the law? Where does the system fall apart for aggrieved workers, and why, even in the best of circumstances, do workers often remain unprotected? Gleeson aims to redirect attention away from the claims process itself to think also about the impacts of workplace violations on the economic precarity and emotional well-being of low-wage workers and their families, particularly for immigrant and undocumented claimants.

Gleeson is a professor of Latin American and Latino Studies. Her research focuses on the workplace experiences of immigrants, the role of documentation status and forms of legal mobilization. She has also conducted research on immigrant civic engagement and the bureaucratic processes of labour standards enforcement. Her work has been published in several journals and she is the author of Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston (Cornell University Press, 2012).

She is currently working on a forthcoming book that examines the promises and failures of US labour and employment law, the challenges low-wage workers face when they come forward to file a claim and their experiences in fighting for justice. In fall 2014, she will be joining the faculty of the Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) School, Department of Labor Relations, Law & History.

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.