The pandemic and attendant economic crisis have laid bare the enormous power imbalances in contemporary American work life.
Today, we speak with sociologist Erin Hatton about her new book Coerced, in which she looks at four distinct groups of workers—from prisoners and welfare workers to graduate students and college athletes—who are not often recognized as “employees,” thereby making them vulnerable to exploitation.
Over the course of the hour, she identifies how coercion and precarity characterize work life for so many Americans and makes the case for unions and expanded worker rights for all.
Erin Hatton is an associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, where her research focuses on work and political economy. She is the author of The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America (Temple University Press, 2011) and Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment (University of California Press, 2020).