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Rights at Work

Pay Equity Reform and the Politics of Legal Mobilization

What role has litigation played in the struggle for equal pay between women and men? In Rights at Work, Michael W. McCann explains how wage discrimination battles have raised public legal consciousness and helped reform activists mobilize working women in the pay equity movement over the past two decades.

Rights at Work explores the political strategies in more than a dozen pay equity struggles since the late 1970s, including battles of state employees in Washington and Connecticut, as well as city employees in San Jose and Los Angeles. Relying on interviews with over 140 union and feminist activists, McCann shows that, even when the courts failed to correct wage discrimination, litigation and other forms of legal advocacy provided reformers with the legal discourse—the understanding of legal rights and their constraints—for defining and advancing their cause.

Rights at Work offers new insight into the relation between law and social change—the ways in which grass roots social movements work within legal rights traditions to promote progressive reform.

372 pages | 5 line drawings, 7 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Chicago Series in Law and Society

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Society

Political Science: American Government and Politics, Judicial Politics

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

1: Introduction
2: Pay Equity as Public Policy
3: Law as a Catalyst
4: The Social Context of Legal Mobilization
5: Compelling Concessions: Law as a Club
6: Implementation in the Dimming Shadows of Law
7: Rights Consciousness and Social Change
8: Legal Mobilization and Political Struggle


APSA Law and Courts Section: C. Herman Pritchett Award

Society for the Study of Social Problems: C. Wright Mills Award
Honorable Mention

Law and Society Association: Herbert Jacob Book Prize

The Wadsworth Publishing Award, Law and Courts Section

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