ORGANIZING THE SCALE OF LABOR REGULATION IN THE UNITED STATES: SERVICE SECTOR ACTIVISM IN THE CITY
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Geographical scholarship on the localization of labor regulation, militant particularism in class struggle, and labor union activity has highlighted the need for workers to contest the scales over which their working lives are produced. Because these analyses have focused on the role of spatial competition and capital mobility in defeating labor struggle, and on the production of scale by manufacturing firms and workers, prescriptions for activism have tended to privilege inter-regional and international labor solidarity and regulatory mechanisms that might allow labor to operate at the same scale as capital, With a case study of service sector activism in the US city of Baltimore, I argue for attention to the metropolitan scale of pro-worker labor market regulation and organizing. By removing local labor activism from a juxtaposition against mobile capital, I add to existing geographies of labor regulation and resistance a theoretical and empirical focus on the importance of “spatial fixes” for workers at the local scale, and highlight the processes through which local struggles can be articulated with each other and with overarching regulation.