intimidated workers

Posted: May 21, 2014
By: Clay Cerny

 

Al Jazeera America reports on claims of a Texas employment miracle. While some may be moving ahead in the Lone Star state, construction workers interviewed for this article are working hard for $8-$10 an hour. The state’s governor brags that Texas has an unemployment rate far lower than the national average (national 6.3%; Texas 5.5%). However, the state is producing as many low wage jobs as high paying jobs. It also offers less support for low wage workers, which means they struggle even more to get by. The working poor in Texas live harder lives than workers in New York or California, states that have more progressive labor laws and social safety net services.

 

Some may say, “A job is a job.” Those people usually have a job or other source of income that gives them the security needed to be glib and unfeeling about others. Across America, low wage workers are struggling to get by. So are middle class workers, who often resent the aid given to low wage workers. All American workers need to remember who the real winners in this society are – the 1% – and ask them to pay for their share of our common needs. The Texas Miracle is just one more example of an American economy that asks more and more of the working poor. That’s not a miracle. It’s a tragedy.

 

Posted: July 20, 2012
By: Clay Cerny

Writing in Common Dreams, John Buell explores how workers are afraid to confront their bosses.  Moving from the scandal at Penn State to examples from the public and private sector, Buell shows worker fear to be pervasive and well founded.  Workers who step out of line should expect to be fired.  Buell ends on a ray of hope, the Mondragon* collective in Spain and similar organizations in the U.S., where give themselves rights by owning the workplace.

* Mondragon’s tagline is “Humanity at work.”  For too many American workers, humanity at work is a very foreign concept.