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Unprotected Labor
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Unprotected Labor: Household Workers, Politics, and Middle-Class Reform in New York, 1870-1940

Vanessa H. May


Through an analysis of women's reform, domestic worker activism, and cultural values attached to public and private space, this book explains how and why domestic workers, the largest category of working women before 1940, were excluded from labor protections that formed the foundation of the welfare state. Looking at the debate over domestic service from both sides of the class divide, it assesses middle-class women's reform programs as well as household workers' efforts to determine their own working conditions. The author argues that working-class women sought to define the middle-class hom ... More

Keywords: Women's reform, domestic worker activism, cultural values, working women, labor protections, welfare state, domestic service, class divide, middle-class women, reform programs

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780807834770
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807877906_may


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Vanessa H. May, author