“Working in a grocery store used to mean a stable middle class living. That changed in Southern California with the creation of a two-tier wage structure in 2004. Those hired after the strike make significantly less than those employed prior and have a much harder time qualifying for health care benefits. It is the difference between a stable middle class existence and the high turnover of low-paying work that forces people to take multiple jobs to make ends meet.”
Grocery Workers and the Collapse of the Middle Class, by juls, Caltics, March 21, 2007
“Columnist Bill White of the Allentown Morning Call pictures Circuit City CEO Philip J. Schoonover getting a warm welcome to hell – very warm. Satan tells him, ‘This place is full of overpaid, outsourcing, golden-parachuting, employee-abusing worms like you.’ Schoonover’s sin? Laying off 3400 employees because they had been around for too long and needed to be replaced by minimum wage workers. His punishment? Having a choice of Dick Cheney or Nancy Grace as a roommate and spending eternity listening to Sanjaya’s Greatest Hits.
“The New York Times took the Circuit City slaughter with much greater equanimity. In his economics column last week, Times columnist David Leonhardt showed some pious sympathy for the laid-off, who will, after a 10 week cooling off period, be able to re-apply for their old jobs at much reduced pay. But he goes on to explain that Circuit City’s employee abuse is just part of the larger corporate demand for ‘efficiency.’ Wal-Mart, after all, has capped employee pay and taken the stools away from its elderly employees.”
Circuit City Slaughter, by Barbara Ehrenreich, April 9, 2007
So, what happens when what little there is of the middle class is snuffed out? Does the United States become Columbia? Or North Korea? Anybody know? We sure ain’t gonna be France or Denmark.
Oh, and by the way, some days it’s really hard to read Dr. Ehrenreich, especially when she’s being arch, but this post went well with the un-arch Caltics post I’d been saving for… something. Might as well be this.