Under the Bus

How Working Women Are Being Run Over

The Truthout Progressive Pick that shows how many women are left out of even the most basic workplace protections and face legal discrimination and abuse on the job

“I took furious notes while reading Caroline Fredrickson’s Under the Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over. . . . ‘Furious’ because I had to write fast to keep up with information Fredrickson packs into this relatively slim book, and furious because every new thing I learned made the hair on my neck stand on end.” —Katie McDonough, Salon

Called a “damn fine book” by Elle magazine, Under the Bus changes the conversation about women at work—the question is not only about those women at the top trying to “break the glass ceiling” but instead why millions are stuck on the sticky floor.

Fredrickson shows that our labor laws are based on outdated, misogynistic, and racist assumptions that leave huge sectors of the workforce without a minimum wage or the right to unionize and subject to wage theft, physical and sexual abuse, and pregnancy discrimination, despite laws that purport to protect all workers. Laws are written through compromise and negotiation, and in each case vulnerable workers are the bargaining chip sacrificed to guarantee the policy’s enactment. “Unpack[ing] the history of the racism and sexism that has left so many working women and people of color without adequate protections” (Mother Jones), Under the Bus offers “a call to action for women who have been left behind in the fight to secure fair labor standards” (Washington Independent Review of Books).


“Did you think you knew the facts about women and work? Think again. Caroline Fredrickson has written a terrific book that paints the whole picture, and it’s not pretty. The history, the huge continuing gaps in the laws, the widespread employer exploitation, the statistics, and the wrenching stories—they’re all there in this meticulously researched and utterly gripping volume.”
—Peter Edelman, author of So Rich, So Poor
“Women workers are the backbone of America’s service economy, yet, as Fredrickson so expertly describes in Under the Bus, millions have been abandoned by our nation’s employment laws, which were established to protect all workers. The book provides clear ways forward to help empower and lift up the voices of women workers and to reverse the growing income inequality they face. Fredrickson’s persuasive analysis explains why organizing and legislation must go hand in hand.”
—Mary Kay Henry, International President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
“Offers up fixes for this broken, exclusive system.”
Mother Jones
“This excellent book will contribute to ongoing discussions concerning women in the workplace.”
Under the Bus vividly brings to life the hardest working women in our economy and shows that their systemic exclusion is no mistake but a calculated result of racism and narrow thinking. Fredrickson’s indispensable work expands the conversation from the few women at the top of the corporate structure to the many millions who are working to survive. Brilliant, compelling, and important.”
—Saru Jayaraman, co-director, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; director of the Food Labor Research Center, UC Berkeley; and author of Behind the Kitchen Door
“This is a damn fine book that I will reference frequently and at length, forever. . . . The book is easy to read and it’s easy to recognize myself—and the women I’ve worked with over the years—in its pages.”
—Linda Tirado, Elle
“Informative, occasionally shocking exploration of the state of women’s rights in the workplace.”
Kirkus Reviews

News and Reviews

MSNBC's The Shift

Dorian Warren of MSNBC talks to Caroline Fredrickson - author of Under the Bus - and Sarah Jaffe about the labor movement.

The Majority Report with Sam Seder

Author Caroline Fredrickson discusses marriage equality, the Supreme Court, and the Living Constitution.

Washington Independent Review of Books

Linda Jenning calls Under the Bus, "A call to action for women who have been left behind in the fight to secure fair labor standards."

Los Angeles Times

Caroline Fredrickson discusses the implications that services like Uber and Lyft have on the American workplace and labor regulations.


Books by Caroline Fredrickson

The Democracy Fix
How to Win the Fight for Fair Rules, Fair Courts, and Fair Elections

Caroline Fredrickson

Goodreads Reviews