• The Political Economy of St. Catharines' Illicit Taxi Trade

      Galano, David; Department of Sociology (Brock University, 2014-01-27)
      The global restructuring of production has led to increasingly precarious working conditions around the world. Post-industrial work is characterized by poor working conditions, low wages, a lack of social protection and political representation and little job security. Unregulated forms of work that are defined as “irregular” or “illegal”, or in some cases “criminal,” are connected to sweeping transformations within the broader regulated (formal) economy. The connection between the formal and informal sectors can more accurately be described as co-optation and, as a subordinate integration of the informal to the formal. The city of St. Catharines within Niagara, along with much of Ontario’s industrial heartland, has been hard hit by deindustrialization. The rise of this illegal service is thus viewed against the backdrop of heavy economic restructuring, as opportunities for work in the manufacturing sector have become sparse. In addition, this research also explores the paradoxical co-optation of the growing illicit taxi economy and consequences for racialized and foreign credentialed labour in the taxi industry. The overall objective of this research is to explore the illicit cab industry as not only inseparable from the formal economy, but dialectically, how it is as an integrated and productive element of the public and private transportation industry. Furthermore the research examines what this co-optation means in the context of a labour market that is split by race.
    • Precarious Work and Communities: The Impact of Neoliberalism on Working Class Politics

      Maich, Grace; Department of Sociology
      Precarious work, which refers to work that is poorly paid, lacks benefits, and where workers have relatively little political power, has been on the rise in North America in the last few decades. If precarious workers are isolated and unengaged, they will not be able to represent their political needs. The goal of this research is to clarify the relationship between precarious work and levels of community engagement and social support. Using feminist political economy and hegemony perspectives, this project engages with the question of whether precarious work has a direct impact on community engagement and social support and how demographic variables moderate this relationship. A quantitative analysis of 2014 telephone survey data done by the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario project demonstrates the effect of precarious work. Results show that precarious work has a large significant negative effect on social support but an inconsistent impact on community engagement. I conclude that more information is needed about participation in extra-parliamentary activities to fully understand whether precarious workers suffer from lack of political representation. However, precarious workers are clearly more isolated than other workers and this may contribute to continued intergenerational precarity.