Susanne Bruyère's edited collection, Employment and Disability: Issues, Innovations, and Opportunities, may come off as a difficult text for some new researchers, as the essays tend to be oriented toward technical explanations of policies and quantitative data. However, despite the technical nature of the articles, this book provides a stellar collection of readings that help the reader understand the different intersections between labor and disability. Specifically, this book provides us with the necessary data to help shape and respond to the larger conversations related to disability employment law, protections for the disabled, and regulations in both the private sector and US government.

Bruyère, a professor of Disability Studies and director of the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University, has assembled an impressive collection of essays from authors whose backgrounds range from academic (many coming from Cornell's Yang-Tan Institute), to NGO (United Nations), to the US government (US GAO). Each chapter has a different focus related to a central issue within the workplace, whether it is disability and the federal workforce (Chapter 2), bullying and harassment of disabled employees (Chapter 5), veterans with disabilities (Chapter 6), youth (Chapter 7), mental illness (Chapter 8), and autism (Chapter 10). The depth of the data and analyses within the diverse chapters should enhance the reader's perception of the current issues disabled employees face and how people with disabilities report their own experiences. Readers can also find methodological pathways for their own research, as each chapter uses grounding in either quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methodologies.

While the first two chapters foreground existing US policy and federal employment, Chapter 3 offers perhaps one of the strongest appeals for the benefits organized labor has for disabled employees. The chapter's authors look at three questions: "'How likely are employees with disabilities to be in jobs covered by union contracts, and has this been changing in recent years?', 'How do unions affect the disability pay gap?', and 'How likely are unionized workers to request and receive workplace accommodations?' (Ameri et al 66). Drawing labor statistics produced by the US Census Bureau, they find that union contracts tend to be more in place in blue collar jobs where contracts guarantee the ability to return to work after a disabling injury or enforce federally mandated accommodations for those already disabled (71). Likewise, US decennial Census data shows that disabled union members are more likely to close the wage gap—a fact that is supported by a 23.9% increase in pay when compared to their non-union peers (82). Lastly, disabled union workers were more likely to request accommodations on the work site with "appear[ance of] a positive effect both of unions and of having a disability, on the likelihood of requesting an accommodation" (86). While this is a brief overview of the authors' findings, it is imperative to state that the beneficial nature of workplace unionization cannot be overstated as the protections they provide are a boon to people with disabilities. Such protections are especially useful as more than half the states (27 of 50) already possess right-to-work laws enshrined in their constitutions. Ultimately, the protections that unionized workplaces give have been severely weakened by both right-to-work laws and the 2018 US Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME decision. If anything, the information brought to light in this chapter can help strengthen existing unionized workforces and guide future collective bargaining agreements.

The collection's fourth chapter, "Creating an Accommodating Workplace: Encouraging Disability Disclosure and Managing Reasonable Accommodation Requests," builds on the previous EEOC survey data that the authors use to build potential frameworks for helping both employees and employers develop reasonable pathways to disclosure and accommodations. While much of the advice presented in this chapter presents positives for a pre-Covid world—no one would or could anticipate the problems the pandemic has presented to workplaces—, the realities workers are faced with in light of shutdowns, work-from-home policies, essential worker designations, etc. complicate much of the rationale presented within the chapter. The Covid-19 pandemic has required workers to disclose a variety of disabilities—some invisible or that did not provide a need for accommodation at the time—that sometimes cannot be adequately provided. Advice such as "managers should be prepared to recognize…a reasonable accommodation request under the ADA" and "[c]ommunicating a clear, consistent, and transparent process" for accommodations had more potential in more stable economic times. In the current pandemic, these suggestions are not being fulfilled by employers across the US, especially in academia.

While the majority of the collection focuses on US labor conditions, Matthew Saleh's penultimate chapter, "Global Perspectives on Employment for People with Disabilities," offers the sole perspective on how public policy impacts global labor conditions. With more multinational companies expanding their production across the globe, and the neoliberal policies that often shape them, the importance of how such factors shape the disability employment gap cannot be understated. Saleh points us to the stark reality that industrialized and developing nations lag behind in disabled employment (Saleh 280-1), mounting work first policies that often replace social services across the globe (282-3), and the often narrow, culturally-constructed definitions of disability that dictate how local and multinational companies employ disabled workers (289-91). In order to unify the global constraints, Saleh recommends that both industrialized and developing countries adopt and apply the superstructure of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to their existing frameworks in order to update and align global services while also responding to local and regional needs (297-8).

The collection itself is a highly valuable guide to understanding the different economic pressures that affect the disabled workforce both domestically and globally. Much of what Bruyère and the chapter authors cover provides both quantitative and qualitative insights into the lived experience of disabled workers and their struggles to gain acceptance and accommodations. The aggregation of data pulled from the US Census Bureau, EECO, and United Nations in different chapters is a valuable resource that will provide researchers with the information they need without having to comb through piles of publications. The one downside of this volume involves the sharply changing nature of US labor policies, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the general shift away from unionized labor, as these may change some of the realities presented in this collection.

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Copyright (c) 2021 Geoffrey Clegg

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