Freedom in the Workplace?

Freedom in the Workplace? Cornell University Press 2007 


by Gertrude Ezorsky



1. What important issue does this book, Freedom in the Workplace?, address that will interest ZNet readers?


The book addresses the question of whether workers in the United States are free. I develop a notion of freedom focused on the workplace that illuminates the severe limits on workers freedom by illegal coercion against organizing unions and by low wage offers — barely enough to feed their families – that workers are pressured to accept. Older, sick workers are forced to stay in exhausting jobs in order to be eligible for their pensions.


2. How does Freedom in the Workplace? differ from other relevant contemporary works on freedom?


Most contemporary theorists simply ignore the workplace. But Freedom in the Workplace? shows that the world of labor relations offers a rich field for exploring important moral concepts such as freedom and coercion in an area that deserves greater attention from those interested in justice and freedom.


3. Who will find Freedom in the Workplace? useful?


This is a valuable book for a wide range of readers: Undergraduate and graduate students who plan to enter the workforce, as well as men and women already at work. The book is sure to stimulate good discussion in the classroom. It also should prove very interesting to faculty who teach applied ethics and general readers interested in freedom.


4. How does Freedom in the Workplace? illustrate and support its general points?


Bu using examples taken from real cases, which show how workers sometimes in shocking ways are deprived of their freedom by their employers.


5. What additional information about labor relations does Freedom in the Workplace? provide for its readers?


The book provides important information about the specifics of labor relations such as the doctrine of Employment at Will; the National Labor Relations Act and the National Labor Relations Board; the Office of Safety and Health Administration; the distinctions among closed, union and agency shops, and the effect of outsourcing.


Order the book from Cornell University Press.






“Gertrude Ezorsky is a grand veteran philosopher whose commitment to justice and freedom is legendary. Don’t miss this book!” — Cornel West, Princeton University


“This book is short but provocative because it defines and redefines the meaning of choice and freedom as those terms apply to our workaday world. It is certain to stimulate a good discussion in the classroom.” — Nelson Lichtenstein, Director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy, UC Santa Barbara


“This is a very useful book for a wide range of readers — undergraduates … who intend to enter the workforce, and lay readers who are interested in ethics in the workplace. Gertrude Ezorsky argues that unfreedom is much more prevalent in workplace interactions, particularly in offers of employment, than is usually admitted.” — John P. Pittman, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York


“Freedom in the Workplace? is an interesting book about an important topic, written in a clear and lively manner.” — Jeffrey Reiman, William Fraser McDowell Professor of Philosophy, American University


“This clearly written and tightly argued text introduces students to moral concepts of freedom, force, and coercion. In addition to offering an original account of these important moral concepts, it teaches students about working conditions for the bottom tier of American workers. Gertrude Ezorsky illustrates her points with real world cases that vividly illustrate the stakes behind our moral concepts. The world of labor relations has long been ignored by philosophers; Ezorsky’s wonderful text demonstrates that it offers both a rich field for exploring important moral concepts such as freedom and coercion and an area that deserves greater attention from those interested in advancing justice. Highly recommended for undergraduate philosophy students.” — Elizabeth Anderson, John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


About the Author


Gertrude Ezorsky is Professor Emerita, City University of New York, Brooklyn College and the Graduate School. She is the author of Racism and Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action, also from Cornell, and the editor of Philosophical Perspectives on Punishment and Moral Rights in the Workplace.



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