The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream

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Univ of California Press, Apr 12, 2016 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - 268 pages
Long-haul trucks have been described as sweatshops on wheels. The typical long-haul trucker works the equivalent of two full-time jobs, often for little more than minimum wage. But it wasn’t always this way. Trucking used to be one of the best working-class jobs in the United States.  

The Big Rig explains how this massive degradation in the quality of work has occurred, and how companies achieve a compliant and dedicated workforce despite it. Drawing on more than 100 in-depth interviews and years of extensive observation, including six months training and working as a long-haul trucker, Viscelli explains in detail how labor is recruited, trained, and used in the industry. He then shows how inexperienced workers are convinced to lease a truck and to work as independent contractors. He explains how deregulation and collective action by employers transformed trucking’s labor markets--once dominated by the largest and most powerful union in US history--into an important example of the costs of contemporary labor markets for workers and the general public.
 

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Contents

Desperate
6
SteeringWheel Holder
28
Work as
58
Running the Contractor Confidence
105
The Harsh Reality
140
Drivers and Divided Labor
190
Appendix A Data and Methods
209
Notes
233
Managing Contractors
241
Glossary
245
Index
257
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Steve Viscelli is a political sociologist and lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a senior associate at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy. In addition to his academic research, he works with a range of public and private stakeholders to make the trucking industry safer, more efficient, and a better place to work. To learn more, please visit: http: //www.steveviscelli.com/.

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