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Politics professor Paul Frymer wins awards for article on racial integration of national labor unions

Paul Frymer, associate professor of politics, has received three recent awards for his article "Acting When Elected Officials Won't: Federal Courts and Civil Rights Enforcement in U.S. Labor Unions, 1935-1985." The article was published in the August 2003 issue of the American Political Science Review.

Frymer received the Law and Society Association's prize for the best article of 2003, as well as the American Political Science Association's Mary Parker Follett Award for the best article on politics and history. He also received the association's McGraw Hill Award for the best article in the field of public law.

Frymer's article about the racial integration of national labor unions examined the role of courts in the production of social change. The courts, he argued, were effective at a time when elected officials failed to respond. Unable to resolve its own political disputes, Congress delegated to the courts the responsibility of enforcing civil rights laws. Judges and lawyers responded, and a series of subsequent civil rights cases compelled unions to integrate by imposing significant financial costs from damage awards and lawyers' fees. Ironically, although the percentage of African American workers increased dramatically, in many unions their overall numbers went down because the unions were so weakened by the litigation.

Frymer, who will arrive at UCSC this fall as an associate professor and director of the Legal Studies Program, is currently a fellow at Princeton University in the Law and Public Affairs Program. Prior to this year, he was an associate professor at UC San Diego.

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