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Both Hands Tied : Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom of the Low-Wage Labor Market



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Univ of Chicago Pr
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This is the edition with a publication date of 5/1/2010.

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Both Hands Tiedstudies the working poor in the United States, focusing in particular on the relation between welfare and low-wage earnings among working mothers. Grounded in the experience of thirty-three women living in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, it tells the story of their struggle to balance child care and wage-earning in poorly paying and often state-funded jobs with inflexible schedulesand the moments when these jobs failed them and they turned to the state for additional aid. Jane L. Collins and Victoria Mayer here examine the situations of these women in light of the 1996 national Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act and other like-minded reformslaws that ended the entitlement to welfare for those in need and provided an incentive for them to return to work. Arguing that this reform came at a time of gendered change in the labor force and profound shifts in the responsibilities of family, firms, and the state,Both Hands Tiedprovides a stark but poignant portrait of how welfare reform afflicted poor, single-parent families, ultimately eroding the participants' economic rights and affecting their ability to care for themselves and their children.

Author Biography

Jane L. Collins is the Evjue Bascom Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of Threads: Gender, Labor and Power in the Global Apparel Industry, among other titles. Victoria Mayer is assistant professor of sociology at Colby College.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vi
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Introduction: The Connection between Welfare and Workp. 1
Welfare Reform's Context: The Growth of the Low-Wage Service Sectorp. 26
Welfare Reform's Content: Building Connections between Work and Welfarep. 55
Tying the First Hand: The Solitary Wage Bargainp. 83
Tying the Second Hand: Challenges to Economic Citizenshipp. 114
Both Hands Tied: The Race to the Bottom in the Low-Wage Labor Marketp. 147
Conclusion: Untying the Handsp. 159
Description of Interview Processp. 165
Interview Protocolp. 167
Economic Composition of Samplep. 174
Industrial Composition of Milwaukee and Racinep. 175
Wisconsin Works (W-2) Documentsp. 177
Notesp. 179
Referencesp. 201
Indexp. 215
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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