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Both Hands Tied: Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom in the Low-Wage Labor Market

 
 
 
 
Both Hands Tied: Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom in the Low-Wage Labor Market
Author: Jane L. Collins - Victoria Mayer
ISBN 13: 9780226114064
ISBN 10: 226114066
Edition: 4.1.2010
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 2010-05-01
Format: Paperback
Pages: 264
List Price: $28.00
 
 

Both Hands Tied studies the working poor in the United States, focusing in particular on the relation between welfare and low-wage earnings among working mothers. Grounded in the experience of thirty-three women living in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, it tells the story of their struggle to balance child care and wage-earning in poorly paying and often state-funded jobs with inflexible schedules—and the moments when these jobs failed them and they turned to the state for additional aid.

 

Jane L. Collins and Victoria Mayer here examine the situations of these women in light of the 1996 national Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act and other like-minded reforms—laws that ended the entitlement to welfare for those in need and provided an incentive for them to return to work. Arguing that this reform came at a time of gendered change in the labor force and profound shifts in the responsibilities of family, firms, and the state, Both Hands Tied provides a stark but poignant portrait of how welfare reform afflicted poor, single-parent families, ultimately eroding the participants’ economic rights and affecting their ability to care for themselves and their children.