September 3 2017
Catch-terms in labour law and policy these days include “precarious work” the “gig economy“, and “fissured work“. All describe elements of the same transformation of work patterns, away from the model of full-time, long-term employment with a single employer that dominated much of the post-War period (the ‘standard employment model’) towards jobs that are characterized by lack of tenure, little job security, poor pay, and few benefits.
For a Labour Day Weekend read, check out this interesting article in the New York Times by writer @NeilIrwin describing the career paths of two cleaners working for high tech companies in America, one at Kodak in Rochester in the 1980s and one at Apple now.
What are the differences in their work arrangements and career opportunities?
Which model of employment is better for the employees? Which is better for the employers? For shareholders?
Obviously the woman who worked under the Standard Employment Model with Kodak fared much better. Do you think there are policy lessons in this story that governments should heed in developing labour and employment laws today?
Should governments attempt to legislate a return of the “standard employment model”? If so, how could they do that?
See discussion of the rise and fall of the Standard Employment Model in Chapter 2 of The Law of Work.