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Books and Multimedia Resources


Forked: A New Standard for American Dining
Saru Jayaraman

As most corporate restaurants continue to set low standards for worker wages and benefits, a new class of chefs and restaurateurs is working to foster sustainability in their food and their employees. Forked offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.

Behind the Kitchen Door
Saru Jayaraman

How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? Saru Jayaraman, who launched the national restaurant workers’ organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, sets out to answer these questions.

Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory
Miriam Ching Yoon Louie

The testimonies of female immigrant sweatshop laborers show them challenging the corporate economy by refusing to stay at the bottom of the pyramid. These women provide inspirational examples of creative and successful resistance and positive social change.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Barbara Ehrenreich

Between 1998 and 2000, the author spent about three months in three cities throughout the nation, attempting to “get by” on the salary available to low-paid and unskilled workers. She takes on issues and questions posed before and during the experiment, including the reasons these wages are so low, why workers are so accepting of them, and what Washington’s refusal to increase the minimum wage to a realistic “living wage” says about both our economy and our culture.

Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy
Arlie Russell Hochschild and Barbara Ehrenreich (Eds.)

More than 15 essays on aspects of “the female underside of globalization,” mostly written by academics working in the field, but largely jargon-free.

Making Sweatshops: Globalization and the U.S. Apparel Industry
Ellen Israel Rosen

The only comprehensive historical analysis of the globalization of the U.S. apparel industry, this book asks whether the process of globalization can be promoted in ways that blend industrialization and economic development with concerns for social and economic justice, especially for the women who toil in the industry’s low-wage sites around the world.

Multimedia Resources

Video: All Work and No Pay
Moyers and Company, April 4, 2014

You’ve heard about the wave of protests calling on fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King to raise wages for their employees, who are forced to live on next to nothing. But did you know that many workers in sit-down restaurants may be faring even worse?

America’s Income Inequality
PBS NOW, 2007

David Brancaccio talks with Pulitzer prize-winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston, as well as author and advocate Beth Shulman, about the state of our country’s vast income divide and how it’s hurting those just trying to make ends meet. You can view the show online by clicking on video: Income.

Black Gold
Speak-it Productions, 2006

Tracing the path of the coffee consumed each day to the farmers who produce it, Black Gold asks viewers to “wake up and smell the coffee” by examining the unjust conditions under which it is produced.

Cinecom Entertainment Group, 1987

A little-known chapter of American labor history is brought vividly to life in this period drama based upon real-life labor wars among West Virginia coal miners during the 1920s.