Deteriorating Jobs/Work Life

Worker’s real wages in the Western world have been largely stagnating or declining since the 1970’s. People are either underemployed or working longer and harder (often at multiple McJobs) for less. Simultaneously, unions have been subjected to an unrelenting assault by neoliberal governments.  Even lower and middle management jobs have been deteriorating as upper management and corporate shareholders reap more of the rewards in a globalized economy. Employees are exhorted to be ever more dedicated to their jobs even as those jobs provide fewer benefits or less financial security. In Alberta the oil boom has led to increased demand for workers but most employees find their wages barely keeping up to inflated housing and rental costs. Each year during the week leading up to May 1 The Edmonton District Labour Council    sponsors a series of Mayweek labour-related events

Nickel and Dimed    by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)     Undercover look at the absurdity of trying to survive in America while working poverty-waged jobs.

White-Collar Sweatshop: The Deterioration of Work and its Rewards in Corporate America    by Jill Andresky Fraser (2001)     Fascinating account of how under neoliberalism even formerly coveted white collar jobs are becoming less and less desirable.

Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America    edited by John De Graaf (2003)     Wide-ranging series of essays on the philosophical basis of work, the economy, capitalism, and inequality.

The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream    by Jeremy Rifkin (2004)     Excellent history of the origins and development of the American dream and the new European alternative. Academically oriented.