Work

“Our experience with periods of labor shortage indicates that its first effect is greatly to increase the bargaining power of labor, both individually and collectively. This results in steady improvement of wages and working conditions, which means that employers must seek to make employment attractive, since the workers are no longer motivated by the fear of losing their jobs. A shift of workers from the less pleasant and remunerative occupations occur, so that standards are raised at the lower levels. The status of labor will improve, since employers can no longer rely upon the discipline of discharge to enforce authority. The tendency will be for labor to have some participation in industrial and economic policy.” Eulau, Ezekiel, Hansen, Loeb, Jr. ” The road to freedom: Full employment,” New Republic, Special Section, 9/24/1945, p. 395

Busting the Myths of a Workerless Future, Moody, Labor Notes, 7/16

‘Middle class’ used to denote comfort and security. Not anymore Quart, Guardian 7/16

The Lumpenproletariat is expanding, Bloomberg, 7/16

There are few shortages of skilled workers in America.

Data on PhD holders jobs and salaries, from WSJ

The Civil War Didn’t End Slavery After All: The American prison system is a massive—if invisible—part of our economy and social fabric. Karaffa, IPS 6/16

Flexibility in the On-Demand Economy, Smith NELP 6/16

The Gig Economy Is Growing, and It Is Terrifying, Gawker, 3/16

“…all of the net employment growth in the U.S. economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.” Katz & Krueger, The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015, 3/16

Uber business model does not justify a new ‘independent worker’” category,  Eisenbrey & Mishel, EPI 3/16

The Precarious Workplace, by David Bensman, Uncommon Sense #30, 2/16]

Decent Work Agenda ILO 1/16

Logged In The new economy makes it harder than ever to untangle capitalism from our daily lives. Huws, 1/16

World Employment Social Outlook, Trends 2016” ILO

“Security for a Precarious Workforce” Am. Prospect, Bensman 12/15

Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century, Case & Deaton, 9/15

Rights On Demand: Ensuring Workplace Standards and Worker Security in the On-Demand Economy, NELP 9/15

What Is Good Work? Parker, Interaction Instit. 10/12

Good Work Code [one possible list of characteristics of good work]

What Is Good Work Guidance? Meaningful Work

What is Good Work? Achieving Good Work in Turbulent Times, H. Gardner, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values

The Future of Work, Ghosh, Frontline

from TO BE OF USE, Marge Piercy

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

“In truth, the average American not only wants to work, but strives to do a good job. People don’t want 20 hours a week; they want a real job—a full-time, 40-hour a week job. And it’s more than just the money. They want a destination, a place to go when they get up in the morning, something productive to give their lives structure. Such a pity that even so modest a goal as having a full-time job is now considered a “luxury.” David Macaray, LA playwright and author and former union rep.

“I think one of the big wishes of the human kind is to transform things, to work on things to construct, to destroy, to sometimes construct again. And not only to look at the world, let’s say, passively. I think that’s the aim of humankind, being a man, a woman, is to change things.” Luc Dardenne, filmmaker

“There is no worse material poverty than that of not being able to earn one’s daily bread.” Unemployment is not inevitable; it is, rather, “the result of a prior social option and an economic system that values profits more than people…..Ours is a culture of waste. This happens when the god of money is at the center of an economic system, and not the human person…..There are economic systems that have to make war to survive. ….We have to [change the world] with courage, but also with intelligence; with tenacity, but without fanaticism; with passion, but without violence; and all together, confronting conflicts, without being ensnared in them–striving to resolve tensions to reach a higher level of unity, peace, and justice.” Pope Francis

“While unemployment is an ordeal for anyone, it still appears to be more traumatic for men. Men without jobs are more likely to commit crimes and go to prison. They are less likely to wed, more likely to divorce, and more likely to father a child out of wedlock. Ironically, unemployed men tend to do even less housework than men with jobs and often retreat from family life….” “The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man,” Mike Dorning, Bloomberg Business