Enforcing Labour Standards in Fissured Workplaces: The US Experience

Source: David Weil, Economic and Labour Relations Review, Volume 22 Issue 2, July 2011
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From the abstract:
The employment relationship in a growing number of industries with large concentrations of low wage workers has become ‘fissured’, where the lead firms that collectively determine the product market conditions in which wages and conditions are set have become separated from the actual employment of the workers who provide goods or services. Instead, the direct employers of low wage workers operate in far more competitive markets that create conditions for non-compliance. We examine this evolution in employment and its implications for public policy in the US, discuss the factors driving fissured employment and sketch its main features and outcomes. We then look at the traditional methods used for labour standards enforcement in the US and discuss why they are poorly suited to address fissured workplaces. Finally, we survey how public policies might better address the realities of the modern workplace, including efforts in this regard by the Obama administration.

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