“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
Where’s the Gig Economy? Workers more apt to have standard work arrangements in 2017 than in 2005.
“Americans Are Willing to Forgo a 56% Pay Raise for Best Job Perks,” Yadoo, Boomberg, 10/18, based on an NBER study
Low pay, poor prospects, and psychological toll: The perils of microtask work: UN questions whether this work has any benefits for society, Geuss, Arstechnica 9/18
Accidents at Amazon: workers left to suffer after warehouse injuries, Amazon workers … treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income after workplace accidents, Sainato, Guardian 7/18
CEOs vs. Workers, Day, Jacobin 7/18
Where’s the “Gig Economy?” Moody, Jacobin 6/18
How many gig workers are there? Gig Economy Data Hub
Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements —MAY 2017, BLS 6/18
If the economy is so great, why are 78 million hustling for dimes? Nutting, Marketwatch 6/18
Big Brother at Work: Employee Monitoring in the Analytics Age, O’Connor, Who.What.Why, 5/18
Crafting a life–White-collar workers are fleeing their desks to become brewers, bakers and pickle-makers. Ryan Avent reckons the artisanal boom points to the modern economy’s failings, and maybe its future as well, 5/18
Employers are monitoring computers, toilet breaks – even emotions., Saner, Guardian 5/18
Political precariat, Telek, Open Democracy 5/18
Is Your Job Lynchian, or Is It More Kafkaesque?, King, Longreads, 4/18
The Emerging Plan to Save the American Labor Movement, Matthews, Portside, 4/18
Why We Have to Go Back to a 40-Hour Work Week to Keep Our Sanity: One hundred fifty years of research proves that shorter work hours actually raise productivity and profits — and overtime destroys them. So why do we still do this? Robinson, AlterNet 4/18
“The notion of pensions — and the idea that companies should set aside money for retirees — didn’t last long. They really caught on in the mid-20th century, but today, except among government employers, the traditional pension seems destined to be an artifact of U.S. labor history.” ‘I hope I can quit working in a few years’: A preview of the U.S. without pensions,
Ending shareholder monopoly: why workers’ votes promote good corporate governance, McGaughey, LSE 11/17
Where Bad Jobs Are Better: Retail Jobs Across Countries and Companies, Carré & Tilly, Russell Sage, 11/17
Meet The Camperforce, Amazon’s Nomadic Retiree Army, Bruder, Wired, 9/17
The Despair of Learning That Experience No Longer Matters, Wallace-Wells New Yorker 4/17
Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work, Eurofound, 2/17
Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy, Manyika et al, McKinsey 10/16
How work can lead to suicide in a globalised economy, Waters & Chan, 8/16
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 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 Collapse of the Middle-Class Job, Buchheit, 5/16
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
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