Football, unions, and what it is to be an employee

150_15144Spurred by the National Labor Relations Board's decision stating that Northwestern University's football players are actually university employees and thus able to unionize, the Inquirer ran a story on Sunday discussing the changing nature of what it is to be an employee.

This past summer, Penn Press author Jean-Christian Vinel literally wrote the book on the subject. The Employee: A Political History traces how the definition of the word "employee," always politically charged, has changed. From the book jacket:

"In the present age of temp work, telecommuting, and outsourcing, millions of workers in the United States find themselves excluded from the category of 'employee'—a crucial distinction that would otherwise permit unionization and collective bargaining. Tracing the history of the term since its entry into the public lexicon in the nineteenth century, Jean-Christian Vinel demonstrates that the legal definition of 'employee' has always been politically contested and deeply affected by competing claims on the part of business and labor. Unique in the Western world, American labor law is premised on the notion that 'no man can serve two masters'—workers owe loyalty to their employer, which in many cases is incompatible with union membership."

Read the Inquirer's article, then learn more about The Employee here.

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