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Steven Greenhouse: Why We're Working More and Earning Less

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Jul. 31st, 2008 | 08:56 pm
posted by: jacksmoderator in corporatenews


Wages are stagnating, but productivity keeps going up. Author Steven Greenhouse explains why things are out of whack in the workplace. 

Juan Gonzalez: The federal minimum wage increased last week from $5.85 to $6.55. The increase gave nearly two million American workers a raise. The seventy-cent increase is the second of three enacted under a 2007 law that saw the first minimum wage hike in more than a decade.

But, adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage remains lower in real terms than it was forty years ago, despite record corporate profits.

A new book by the New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse examines how much of the American workforce is working more but earning less. Wages have stagnated, health and pension benefits have grown stingier, and job security has shriveled. The book is titled The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.

Steven Greenhouse joins Democracy Now! You've traveled all around America, obviously, as a labor reporter for the New York Times, and you take us into all kinds -- not just to factories, but the Silicon Valley jobs, the service jobs, to give us a sense of what is happening to the everyday worker.

Steven Greenhouse: We all love Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed, and I felt, I'm going to try building on that. And I really try looking across the board what's happening to the nation's workers. I look at, you know, farm workers. I look at Microsoft workers. I look at, you know, factory workers, whose jobs are disappearing to Mexico. And I look at, you know, software engineers at Hewlett-Packard, at some other places, you know, that have lost their jobs to India. I look at janitors in Houston who -- I focus on one janitor in Houston, who, after ten years, is making just $5.25 an hour. I write about a Dominican worker in Brooklyn who works eleven hours a day for just $35 a day. You know, the whole panoply of what's happening, to show that there's this big squeeze on the nation's workers, where, as you were just saying, wages have been flat, health and pension benefits are getting worse, at the same time corporate profits have gone up very, very nicely. Employee productivity has gone up 15, 20 percent, yet wages have been flat, plus companies are pressuring workers, you know, to work harder and harder. 

More Info: http://www.alternet.org/workplace/93241/steven_greenhouse%3A_why_we%27re_working_more_and_earning_less/
Related Link: http://www.alternet.org/workplace/93241/steven_greenhouse%3A_why_we%27re_working_more_and_earning_less/

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