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Labor & Industrial Relations

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  1. 0 reviews 0 5 2 2 out of 5 stars 2/5
    11.3 hrs • 9/4/2015 • Unabridged

    For more than a century, the interplay between private, investor-owned electric utilities and government regulators has shaped the electric power industry in the United States. Provision of an essential service to largely dependent consumers invited government oversight and ever more sophisticated market intervention. The industry has sought to manage, co-opt, and profit from government regulation. In The Power Brokers, Jeremiah Lambert maps this complex interaction from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Lambert’s narrative focuses on seven important industry players: Samuel Insull, the principal industry architect and prime mover; David Lilienthal, chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who waged a desperate battle for market share; Don Hodel, who presided over the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) in its failed attempt to launch a multiplant nuclear power program; Paul Joskow, the MIT economics professor who foresaw a restructured and competitive electric power industry; Enron’s Ken Lay, master of political influence and market-rigging; Amory Lovins, a pioneer proponent of sustainable power; and Jim Rogers, head of Duke Energy, a giant coal-fired utility threatened by decarbonization. Lambert tells how Insull built an empire in a regulatory vacuum and how the government entered the electricity marketplace by making cheap hydropower available through the TVA. He describes the failed overreach of the BPA, the rise of competitive electricity markets, Enron’s market manipulation, Lovins’ radical vision of a decentralized industry powered by renewables, and Rogers’ remarkable effort to influence cap-and-trade legislation. Lambert shows how the power industry has sought to use regulatory change to preserve or secure market dominance and how rogue players have gamed imperfectly restructured electricity markets. Integrating regulation and competition in this industry has proven a difficult experiment.

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    The Power Brokers by Jeremiah D. Lambert

    The Power Brokers

    11.3 hrs • 9/4/15 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 2 2 out of 5 stars 2/5
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  2. 2.5 hrs • 9/1/2013 • Unabridged

    A 2012 Economist Book of the Year! Many of the United States’ most innovative entrepreneurs have been immigrants, from Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charles Pfizer to Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Elon Musk. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies and one-quarter of all new small businesses were founded by immigrants, generating trillions of dollars annually, employing millions of workers, and helping establish the United States as the most entrepreneurial, technologically advanced society on earth. Now, Vivek Wadhwa, an immigrant tech entrepreneur turned academic with appointments at Duke, Stanford, Emory, and Singularity Universities, draws on his new Kauffman Foundation research to show that the United States is in the midst of an unprecedented halt in high-growth, immigrant-founded start-ups. He argues that increased competition from countries like China and India and US immigration policies are leaving some of the most educated and talented entrepreneurial immigrants with no choice but to take their innovation elsewhere. The consequences to our economy are dire; our multi-trillion dollar loss will be the gain of our global competitors. With his signature fearlessness and clarity, Wadhwa offers a concise framework for understanding the Immigrant Exodus and offers a recipe for reversal and rapid recovery.

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    The Immigrant Exodus

    2.5 hrs • 9/1/13 • Unabridged
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  3. 9.7 hrs • 11/13/2012 • Unabridged

    Shadowbosses reads like an organized crime novel, but it’s actually a true story of how labor unions are infiltrating our government and corrupting our political process. This compelling and insightful book exposes how unions have organized federal, state, and local government employees without their consent, and how government employee unions are now a threat to our workers’ freedoms, our free and fair elections, and even our American way of life. A chilling expose, Shadowbosses is also a call to citizen action against those who really hold power in America today.

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    Shadowbosses

    By Mallory Factor, with Elizabeth Factor
    9.7 hrs • 11/13/12 • Unabridged
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  4. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    6.5 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Abridged

    Women are constantly being told that it's simply too difficult to balance work and family, so if they don't really "have to" work, it's better for their families if they stay home. Not only is this untrue, Leslie Bennetts says, but the arguments in favor of stay-at-home motherhood fail to consider the surprising benefits of work and the unexpected toll of giving it up. It's time, she says, to get the message across—combining work and family really is the best choice for most women, and it's eminently doable. Bennetts raised two children while earning a living, and understands the challenges and the rewards firsthand. She and millions of other working women provide ample proof that there are many different ways to have kids, maintain a challenging career, and have a richly rewarding life as a result. When women sacrifice their financial autonomy by quitting their jobs, they become vulnerable to divorce as well as the potential illness, death, or unemployment of their breadwinner husbands. The truth is that when women gamble on dependency, most eventually end up on the wrong side of the odds. Not since Betty Friedan has anyone offered such an eye-opening and persuasive argument for why women can—and should—embrace the joyously complex lives they deserve.

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    The Feminine Mistake

    6.5 hrs • 7/15/12 • Abridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  5. 9.0 hrs • 11/11/2011 • Unabridged

    “‘As far as I can determine there is only one solution [to the CEO’s demand to save more money]’, the human resources representative wrote to her superiors. ‘That would be the death of all existing retirees.’” It’s no secret that hundreds of companies have been slashing pensions and health coverage earned by millions of retirees. Employers blame an aging workforce, stock market losses, and spiraling costs—what they call “a perfect storm” of external forces that has forced them to take drastic measures. But this so-called retirement crisis is no accident. Ellen E. Schultz, award-winning investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, reveals how large companies and the retirement industry—benefits consultants, insurance companies, and banks—have all played a huge and hidden role in the death spiral of American pensions and benefits. A little over a decade ago, most companies had more than enough set aside to pay the benefits earned by two generations of workers, no matter how long they lived. But by exploiting loopholes, ambiguous regulations, and new accounting rules, companies essentially turned their pension plans into piggy banks, tax shelters, and profit centers. Drawing on original analysis of company data, government filings, internal corporate documents, and confidential memos, Schultz uncovers decades of widespread deception during which employers have exaggerated their retiree burdens while lobbying for government handouts, secretly cutting pensions, tricking employees, and misleading shareholders. She reveals how companies: –Siphon billions of dollars from their pension plans to finance downsizings and sell the assets in merger deals –Overstate the burden of rank-and-file retiree obligations to justify benefits cuts while simultaneously using the savings to inflate executive pay and pensions –Hide their growing executive pension liabilities, which at some companies now exceed the liabilities for the regular pension plans –Purchase billions of dollars of life insurance on workers and use the policies as informal executive pension funds. When the insured workers and retirees die, the company collects tax-free death benefits –Preemptively sue retirees after cutting retiree health benefits and use other legal strategies to erode their legal protections. Though the focus is on large companies, which drive the legislative agenda, the same games are being played at smaller companies, nonprofits, public pensions plans and retirement systems overseas. Nor is this a partisan issue: employees of all political persuasions and income levels—from managers to miners, pro-football players to pilots—have been slammed. Retirement Heist is a scathing and urgent exposé of one of the most critical and least understood crises of our time. 

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    Retirement Heist by Ellen E. Schultz

    Retirement Heist

    9.0 hrs • 11/11/11 • Unabridged
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  6. 14.6 hrs • 1/5/2009 • Unabridged

    An eye-opening and previously untold story, Factory Girls is the first look into the everyday lives of the migrant factory population in China. China has 130 million migrant workers—the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China’s Pearl River Delta. As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a never-before-seen picture of migrant life—a world where nearly everyone is under thirty; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Chang takes us inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theater, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monk-like devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family’s migrations, within China and to the west, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation. A book of global significance that provides new insight into China, Factory Girls demonstrates how the mass movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and transforming Chinese society, much as immigration to America’s shores remade our own country a century ago.

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    Factory Girls

    14.6 hrs • 1/5/09 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    7.7 hrs • 1/1/2009 • Unabridged

    When Orwell went to the north of England in the thirties to find out how industrial workers lived, he not only observed but shared in their experience. He stayed in cramped, dreary lodgings and subsisted on the scant, cheerless diet of the poor. He went down into the coal mines and walked crouching, as the miners did, through a one- to three-mile passage too low to stand up in. He watched the back-breaking, dangerous labor of men whose net pay then averaged $575 a year. And he knew the unemployed, those who had been out of work for so long they had sunk beyond despair into an inhuman apathy. In his searing yet beautiful account of life on the bottom rung, Orwell asks himself why socialism—which alone, he felt, could conserve human values from the ravages of industrialism—had so little appeal. His answer was a harsh critique of the socialism and socialists of his time.

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    The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

    The Road to Wigan Pier

    7.7 hrs • 1/1/09 • Unabridged
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  8. 8.2 hrs • 5/15/2008 • Unabridged

    Over the years, American jobs have become more intellectually challenging and less physically exhausting. Yet more and more American workers—blue collar, white collar, and pink collar—are expressing dissatisfaction with their jobs. They love their careers, but not their working conditions. What turns a model employee into a malcontent? David Kusnet followed the workers at four companies in the Seattle area in the turning-point year of 2000: Microsoft, Boeing, Kaiser Aluminum, and Northwest Hospital. He tells the stories of skilled and dedicated workers battling not so much for better pay and benefits as for respect and a say in the future of the business. Indiscriminate cost-cutting and the pursuit of short-term profits prevent the best workers from doing their best work, fueling the workplace conflicts of the twenty-first century.

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    Love the Work, Hate the Job by David Kusnet

    Love the Work, Hate the Job

    8.2 hrs • 5/15/08 • Unabridged
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  9. 10.5 hrs • 4/15/2008 • Unabridged

    Alexandra Harney uncovers the truth about how China is able to offer such amazingly low prices to the rest of the world. She has discovered that intense pricing pressure from Western companies combined with ubiquitous corruption and a lack of transparency exacts an unseen and unconscionable toll in human misery and environmental damage. In this landmark work of investigative reporting, former Financial Times correspondent Alexandra Harney uncovers a story of immense significance to us all: how China’s factory economy gains a competitive edge by selling out its workers, environment, and future. Harney’s firsthand reporting brings us face-to-face with a world in which intense pricing pressure from Western companies combines with ubiquitous corruption and a lack of transparency to exact a staggering toll in human misery and environmental damage. This eye-opening expose offers, for the first time, an intimate look at the defining business story of our time.

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    The China Price

    10.5 hrs • 4/15/08 • Unabridged
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  10. 4.9 hrs • 3/10/2008 • Unabridged

    In one of the most significant social trends of the new century, and the biggest transformation of the American workforce since the women's movement, members of the baby boom generation are inventing a new phase of work. Encore tells the stories of encore career pioneers who are not content, or affluent enough, to spend their next 30 years on a golf course. These men and women are moving beyond midlife careers yet refusing to phase out or fade away. As they search for a calling in the second half of life and focus on what matters most, these individuals stand to transform the nature of work in America. They also hold the potential to create a society that balances the joys and responsibilities of contribution across the generations—in other words, one that works better for all of us.

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    Encore

    4.9 hrs • 3/10/08 • Unabridged
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