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Understanding Labour Markets

This project is concerned with how labour markets are shaped, structured and regulated.

As part of this, Dr Gray has explored the interaction between institutions (labour unions, the state, academies), politics, and culture. In particular, Dr Gray has examined UNITE HERE over a number of years and the ways in which they have fought to structure low end service work in Las Vegas, despite the general continual decline of the union movement. Their success has raised wages and benefits and reduced insecurity for their members and for non-unionised staff in the industry.

The project examines their strategies, examine reasons for their success and looked at their role within the growth regime.

  • Gray, M. and DeFilippis, J., 2015. Learning from Las Vegas: Unions and post-industrial urbanisation. Urban Studies, v. 52, p.1683-1701. doi:10.1177/0042098014536787.
  • Gray, M., 2015. Altering the landscape: Reassessing the Role of the Culinary Union in Las Vegas’s Hospitality Industry, in Jordhus-Lier, D. and Underthun, A. (eds.) A Hospitable World? Organising Work and Workers in Hotels and Tourist Resorts, Routledge.
  • Gray, M., 2004. The social construction of the service sector: Institutional structures and labour market outcomes. Geoforum, v. 35, p.23-34. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2003.07.001.

Another strand of work explores different ways of creating written and visual narratives around working lives. Here, Dr Gray worked intensively with a number of cleaners in different settings (domestic, institutional, commercial) to examine issues of identity, agency, precarity, security, and care. See:

  • Gray, M., 2014. “Educating R̶e̶e̶t̶a̶ Mia: Reflections on Producing Narratives of Work”, in Castree, N., Kitchin, R., Lawson, V., Lee, R., Paasi, A., Radcliffe, S. and Withers, C. (eds.) Sage Handbook of Human Geography, Sage.

Finally, Dr Gray examines how technology, platforms, AI affect workers’ power, agency, and security. See:

  • Clifton, J., Glasmeier, A. and Gray, M., 2020. When machines think for us: the consequences for work and place. Cambridge Journal of Regions Economy and Society, v. 13, p.3-23. doi:10.1093/cjres/rsaa004
  • Davies, A.R., Donald, B., Gray, M. and Knox-Hayes, J., 2017. Sharing economies: Moving beyond binaries in a digital age. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, v. 10, p.209-230. doi:10.1093/cjres/rsx005

Image credit: Cliff, on Flickr