The Restructuring of Hotel Jobs and the Role of Institutions

Awarded Scholars:
Laura Dresser, University of Wisconsin
Annette Bernhardt, National Employment Law Project
Eric Parker, University of Wisconsin
Project Date:
Jun 2000
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

 What part have unions played in the corporate restructuring of recent
decades? As managers have experimented with mergers and acquisitions,
outsourcing and flexible staffing, how have unions responded? While unions
may attempt to resist restructuring efforts, in some cases the very presence
of a union may spur managers to turn to outsourcing and labor saving
technologies as a way to erode union bargaining power. More positively,
unions may cushion the impact of restructuring without impeding it, giving
workers a say in the reforms managers want to introduce.


Laura Dresser, Annette Bernhardt, and Eric Parker of the University of
Wisconsin with Debbie Moy of the City College of San Francisco received an
award for a set of case studies of worker representation and union density
in the hospitality industry. Drawing upon survey data, site visits, and
interviews, the researchers will investigate the impact of restructuring on
the pay and working conditions of front line employees and, in turn, the
impact of employee unions on restructuring. They will focus upon a handful
of high-end hotels in four of the most important markets. Some of these
markets are more unionized than others, allowing the researchers to test
whether the leverage of an individual union depends upon the density of
unionization around it. These case studies will show whether unions can
give workers a place alongside management in steering their enterprises
through a turbulent industrial environment.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


Join our mailing list for email updates.