Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The New Blue Collar

Like nearly everyone else in Joliet without good job prospects, Uylonda Dickerson eventually found herself at the warehouses looking for work.
"I just needed a job," the 38-year-old single mother says.Dickerson came to the right place. Over the past decade and a half, Joliet and its Will County environs southwest of Chicago have grown into one of the world's largest inland ports, a major hub for dry goods destined for retail stores throughout the Midwest and beyond. With all the new distribution centers have come thousands of jobs at "logistics"companies -- firms that specialize in moving goods for retailers and manufacturers. Many of these jobs are filled by Joliet's African Americans, like Dickerson, and immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.
But many bottom-rung workers like Dickerson don't work for the big corporations whose products are in the warehouses, or even the logistics companies that run them. They go to work for labor agencies that supply workers like Dickerson. Last year, she found work as a temp through one of the myriad staffing agencies that serve big-box retailers and their contractors.
Thanks largely to the warehousing boom, Will County has developed one of the highest concentrations of temp agencies in the Midwest.
Read the rest  at The Huffington Post
by Dave Jamieson

Temp work is an accelerating trend in the US.
 "All of these companies, wherever they possibly can, they want to create a workforce that doesn't work for them. The question is, Why? What is the incentive?""They're smart,"  [Nelson Lichtenstein, a professor of American labor history at the University of California, Santa Barbara] ...says. "They run the numbers."
Right, but what about true cost figuring externalities? More privatize the gains and socialize the losses?


Septeus7 said...

Didn't this happened in Japan as well during their deflation?

The social effects in Japan were quite terrible and that country is about as socially close knit as possible.

Tom Hickey said...

One of the lesser known and publicized aspects of the Japanese "transition" has been the breaking of the paternal bond between employer and employee. This was a key foundation stone of Japanese socio-economic system.

The US had something similar to this but it was not an essential element of the social compact here has it was there. Both the US and Japan saw the fraying of that social-economic bond in the '80's. Now the last thread has snapped.

Anonymous said...

Blue collar work shouldn't be lumped in with the skilled trades, for which there is a strong demand and decent wages.