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The Fissured Workplace

The Fissured Workplace

Why Work Became So Bad for So Many and What Can Be Done to Improve It

David Weil

ISBN 9780674975446

Publication date: 05/08/2017

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For much of the twentieth century, large companies employing many workers formed the bedrock of the U.S. economy. Today, as David Weil’s groundbreaking analysis shows, large corporations have shed their role as direct employers of the people responsible for their products, in favor of outsourcing work to small companies that compete fiercely with one another. The result has been declining wages, eroding benefits, inadequate health and safety conditions, and ever-widening income inequality.

“Authoritative…[The Fissured Workplace] shed[s] important new light on the resurgence of the power of finance and its connection to the debasement of work and income distribution.”
—Robert Kuttner, New York Review of Books

“The kinds of workplace fissuring discussed here—subcontracting, franchising, and global supply chains—have been the subjects of a number of studies detailing the employment effects that Weil describes. The Fissured Workplace is unusual in bringing this research together into an integrated, detailed, and decidedly policy-oriented analysis…It makes a convincing case that the better regulation of fissured workplaces is a first step towards reversing the erosion of pay and conditions at the bottom of the labor market.”
—Virginia Doellgast, Times Higher Education


  • With insight and precision, David Weil has brought to light the shell game played by so many modern business organizations. Today, the company whose logo is on your work shirt, smock, or ID badge may not be the one that recruits, hires, manages, pays, disciplines and sometimes even houses you. This fracturing of the basic employer–employee relationship is reshaping lives and industries. If there’s one book you should read about work today, this is it.

    —Richard Trumka, President of the AFL–CIO


  • David Weil served as President Barack Obama's Wage and Hour Administrator in the U.S. Department of Labor from May 2014 to January 2017. He currently is Peter and Deborah Wexler Professor of Management in the Department of Markets, Public Policy, and Law at Boston University Questrom School of Business and serves as a co-Director of the Transparency Policy Project at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Book Details

  • 424 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press