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Union membership in America has been a tale of relentless, decades-long decline, as anti-union rhetoric and campaigns in business and government systematically dismantle workers’ rights. Too often, workers are afraid to take advantage of even the meager rights they do have. For over 60 million people, employment in America means inadequate wages, job insecurity, and unsafe jobs, all exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. But against these seemingly impossible odds, there’s a new workers’ movement sweeping the nation, bringing hope.

On the Job is the first account of a new kind of labor movement, one that is happening locally, quietly, and among our country’s most vulnerable – but essential – workers.

Noted public health expert Celeste Monforton and award-winning journalist Jane M. Von Bergen crisscrossed the country, speaking with workers of all backgrounds and uncovering the stories from 12 of these worker-led organizations. They are among the 200 worker centers in the United States that have successfully achieved higher wages, safer working conditions, and on-the-job dignity for their members.

On the Job describes ordinary people finding their voice and challenging power: from housekeepers in Chicago and Houston to poultry workers in St. Cloud, Minnesota and day laborers in Graton, California, as well as construction workers across the state of Texas. An inspiring book for these times, On the Job reveals that labor activism is actually alive and growing – and holds the key to a different future for all people.