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Who does the dishes? Precarious employment and ethnic solidarity among restaurant workers in Los Angeles’ Chinese enclave

Who does the dishes? Precarious employment and ethnic solidarity among restaurant workers in Los... Large-scale immigration to the US from Asian and Latin American countries has garnered much scholarly attention on immigrants’ economic integration. To enhance their economic prospects, newly arrived immigrants with limited English skills who face discrimination may rely on other immigrants with shared national origins to form businesses and find jobs. Ethnic enclave economy model describes a mutually beneficial relationship between coethnic employers and employees that relies on shared ethnicity and ethnic solidarity. However, employers are increasingly hiring non-coethnics, indicating a change in the ethnic economy and questions the role of ethnic solidarity. This study examines the consequences of hiring non-coethnic labor by focusing on Chinese and Latino employees in Chinese-owned restaurants in Los Angeles. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, this study examines the reasons for hiring Latinos, the role of ethnic solidarity in job allocation and pay practices, and how Chinese employers manage the two groups of workers. In general, this study finds that despite sharing ethnic solidarity with employers, Chinese workers experience worse treatment than non-coethnics via complaint management, off-the-clock violations, and wage theft. In contrast, Latino workers do not share ethnic solidarity with their employers, but still receive more favorable treatment because Chinese employers are concerned that Latino workers will use institutional means to file formal complaints and report labor violations. This study’s findings contribute to a larger discussion about whether the obligations associated with ethnic solidarity outweigh the benefits and whether ethnic enclave employment provides pathways for upward mobility among coethnics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ethnicities SAGE

Who does the dishes? Precarious employment and ethnic solidarity among restaurant workers in Los Angeles’ Chinese enclave

Ethnicities , Volume 19 (2): 19 – Apr 1, 2019

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References (65)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018
ISSN
1468-7968
eISSN
1741-2706
DOI
10.1177/1468796818789455
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Large-scale immigration to the US from Asian and Latin American countries has garnered much scholarly attention on immigrants’ economic integration. To enhance their economic prospects, newly arrived immigrants with limited English skills who face discrimination may rely on other immigrants with shared national origins to form businesses and find jobs. Ethnic enclave economy model describes a mutually beneficial relationship between coethnic employers and employees that relies on shared ethnicity and ethnic solidarity. However, employers are increasingly hiring non-coethnics, indicating a change in the ethnic economy and questions the role of ethnic solidarity. This study examines the consequences of hiring non-coethnic labor by focusing on Chinese and Latino employees in Chinese-owned restaurants in Los Angeles. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, this study examines the reasons for hiring Latinos, the role of ethnic solidarity in job allocation and pay practices, and how Chinese employers manage the two groups of workers. In general, this study finds that despite sharing ethnic solidarity with employers, Chinese workers experience worse treatment than non-coethnics via complaint management, off-the-clock violations, and wage theft. In contrast, Latino workers do not share ethnic solidarity with their employers, but still receive more favorable treatment because Chinese employers are concerned that Latino workers will use institutional means to file formal complaints and report labor violations. This study’s findings contribute to a larger discussion about whether the obligations associated with ethnic solidarity outweigh the benefits and whether ethnic enclave employment provides pathways for upward mobility among coethnics.

Journal

EthnicitiesSAGE

Published: Apr 1, 2019

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