High-Tech Betrayal: Working and Organizing on the Shop Floor

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9780870134937: High-Tech Betrayal: Working and Organizing on the Shop Floor
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High-Tech Betrayal is the first comprehensive study of life and work in an American high-tech factory. Victor Devinatz uses both research and personal experience as a shop floor organizer to dispel the popular belief that high-tech industries offer positive employment alternatives for those seeking to escape jobs in the "declining" industries. While many believe that the "light manufacturing" work of high-tech industries is preferable to "heavy" industrial work, Devinatz attacks these misconceptions by exposing some of the myths that such work offers more promotional opportunities, requires higher skill levels, and is better paying. Devinatz demonstrates that U.S. high-tech factories of the late twentieth century are much like the industrial sweatshops of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries where poorly paid workers toiled in the shadows of brutal foremen without the benefits of union protection. Devinatz argues that, instead of creating exciting work environments of the future, high-tech firms are marching boldly into the past.

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About the Author:

Victor G. Devinatz is Professor of Management at Illinois State University.

Review:

"High-tech" will not be so carelessly evoked as the cureall for poverty and U.S. global competitiveness if Victor Devinatz's revealing ethnography gets the attention it so richly deserves. This timely book takes us inside management strategy and workers' resistance in a very modern and highly exploitative workplace. It offers telling accounts of the constraints under which protest unfolds and revealing insights into the relation of an activist intellectual and his co-workers. Devinatz's book is a critical contribution, in all the best senses of the term, to the study in labor relations in the United States. -- David Roediger; Chair of American Studies, University of Minnesota

High-Tech Betrayal is an incisive, readable account of what it is like to work in a high-technology manufacturing plant. The author debunks the claim that "high tech" jobs are inherently good jobs. Would that more academics followed Devinatz out of the ivory tower and into the real world! This book is recommended reading for anyone seeking to understand what is happening inside the American workplace today. -- Sanford M. Jacoby; Professor of Management, History, and Policy Studies UCLA

Work experience is located in a class terrain in which the struggle for power and control is on-going. The dynamics of this often one-sided struggle are well documented by the author whose narrative puts flesh on the oft sterile skeleton of labor-process analysis. The struggle for control of work is best understood by its impact on the day by day lives of workers. In this Devinatz has done a first rate job in capturing the essence of workplace power in contemporary America. -- Laurie Clements, The University of Iowa

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Victor G. Devinatz
Published by Michigan State University Press (1999)
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