From Widgits to Digits is about the changing nature of the employment relationship and its implications for labor and employment law. For most of the twentieth century, employers fostered long-term employment relationships through the use of implicit promises of job security, well-defined hierarchical job ladders, and longevity-based wage and benefit schemes. Today's employers no longer value longevity or seek to encourage long-term attachment between the employee and the firm. Instead employers seek flexibility in their employment relationships. As a result, employees now operate as free agents in a boundaryless workplace, in which they move across departmental lines within firms, and across firm borders, throughout their working lives. Today's challenge is to find a means to provide workers with continuity in wages, on-going training opportunities, sustainable and transferable skills, unambiguous ownership of their human capital, portable benefits, and an infrastructure of support structures to enable them to weather career transitions.
"Written by an internationally renowned labor scholar, this book documents the evolution of the employer-employee working relationship through three eras (artisanal, industrial, and digital production) and articulates the impact and policy implications of these changes...This is an insightful, readable, carefully researched resource likely to be of considerable interest to professionals and scholars across a wide range of disciplines." T. Gutteridge, University of Toledo, Choice "This is a formidable book. Katherine Stone has showed yet again that she is one of America's leading labour law scholars. What she has to say is imaginative and original, relevant, carefully researched and easily accessible to professions and scholars right across the spectrum of disciplines." Harry Arthurs, York University "Contemporary employment practices no longer fit the legal models that are supposed to regulate them. Katherine Stone, one of our most thoughtful and articulate labor scholars, shows in this book how the situation came about and what should be done to improve it. It's hard to imagine a sharper or more readable account of these issues." William H. Simon, Columbia University "An insightful, readable, carefully researched resource likley to be of considerable interest to professionals and scholars across a wide range of disciplines." Choice "From Widgets to Digits speaks to a [broad] audience, and indeed represents that rare effort that will serve as a university textbook ... as well as a challenge to the profession and to policymakers. Widgets is the best synthesis we now have of where we have been, where we are now, and where we might go with respect to the regulation of employment in the United States. Widgets to Digits is a work of grand synthesis. While other books have talked about the "new deal" imposed on workers by corporate employers, Stone has theorized and drafted what could realistically be put forth as a "New Deal" for workers in the larger political sense, should that needed organizational change "mechanism" appear, or should economic collapse once again force political change." Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal "This is a detailed and insightful work, which t houghtfully describes and contrasts the old and new workplace.' - Julissa Reynoso, Layer at a private litigation firm in New York City