From Chattel Slaves to Wage Slaves


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The Dynamics of Labour Bargaining in the Americas

Edited by Mary Turner
Indiana University Press

This labour history reveals that chattel slaves like wage slaves conducted labour bargaining to improve their terms of work. The dynamics of labour bargaining fro slave, contract and wage workers in the Caribbean, the Southern States and Latin America is traced here over a period of two centuries. A distinguished group of scholars depicts the terms on which workers provided labour and the methods they used to improve them.

* They establish that slave workers used verbal negotiations, go-slows, sabotage and strike action to establish informal contracts and cash rewards.

* Contract workers, both Asian and European, used the same procedures, in some cases with less success, to bargain for the terms nominally secured by their contracts.

* And wage workers, enmeshed in coercive legal structures, struggled to win legal rights to the methods of labour bargaining used by their slave ancestors.

These studies demonstrate that, despite changes in legal status, the methods available for workers to improve their terms of work remained substantively the same. The book brings to question the time-honoured demarcation between chattel and wage slavery.

Additional information

Weight 19.1 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1.25 in


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