Student Fellows Examine Caregiving Among Working-Class Men

Worker Institute Undergraduate Research Fellows and faculty examine caregiving patterns and responsibilities among working-class men
Worker Institute student research fellows, spring 2016
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

In the wake of the Great Recession, unions noticed that working-class men were increasingly giving up employment opportunities in order to care for their children.

One such union, contacted The Worker Institute with this information, resulting in the Worker Institute-sponsored project “Men at Work (and Family): Caregiving Responsibilities Among the Working Class.”

The project explores how men in a construction union local balance the demands of caregiving and paid work. It fills a crucial gap in work-family research, which has traditionally focused on professional women and their families, organizers said.  

ILR students Juan Guevara MILR’17, Sydney Lester ’17, Julia Krupski ’17, Lulu Zheng ’17 and Nathan Maynard ’19 are Men at Work researchers. The team is led by Professor Ileen DeVault, Assistant Professor Beth Livingston, Worker Institute Director of Workplace Issues KC Wagner and Human Ecology Professor Sharon Sassler.

This semester, the students will analyze needs assessment surveys, do comparative research, plan and transcribe interviews, and present their results to union leadership.

Guevara, Lester, Krupski, Zheng and Maynard are among the latest batch of Worker Institute student researchers.

Opportunities are aimed at expanding research skills through projects concerning workers and worker organizations, and interacting with faculty members and worker advocates.

Worker Institute undergraduate research fellows work on projects individually, or in small teams, under the direction of Cornell faculty based in New York City, Rochester and Buffalo, as well as in Ithaca.

This semester, there are more than 30 Worker Institute student research fellows.  Other projects this semester include “Immigrant Workers Website: A Resource Portal for Organizing Immigrant Workers,” “Labor Leading on Climate: Climate Jobs Program for New York State,” “Union Communication Services” and “Young Workers and the Labor Movement.”

The Equity at Work initiative examines how the workplace is impacted by the evolving and changing norms of the social construction of gender roles, identity, and expression. This includes discussion of current and evolving workers' rights, the workplace contexts in which they currently exist, and individual, organizational and cultural interventions that promote and expand employment issues of respect, fairness, equity and justice.