Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Pity-Charity Complex
March 20, 2014 9:07 AM   Subscribe

"I say “you” deliberately here, because much of the writing about low-wage workers tends to obscure just that fact — that these stories could well be about you. Too much writing on the left and the right has tended to treat the people in some of the nation’s most common jobs as if they are some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves. " --Sarah Jaffe on the media's strange ways of talking about low-wage workers.
posted by The Whelk (40 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
"A teller is just a cashier with a tie on," that's brilliant and true.
posted by emjaybee at 9:18 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Jaffe is always great. "Too often, people derive something that feels like strength from remembering that someone else has it worse. But that’s temporary, and real strength comes from all of us being strong together."
posted by enn at 9:20 AM on March 20 [20 favorites]


Yep. And I'll take it one step further: too many writers talk about "solidarity" with low-wage workers on one hand while actively sneering at the culture that said low-wage workers enjoy and downright despising the political positions that low-wage workers may favor.

Low-wage workers are not just "low-wage workers". That's reducing homo sapiens to homo economicus. They're people who like things, do things, buy things, want things, believe things, and have opinions about things. You may think that a lot of those things are déclassé or downright trashy. You may think that some of those things are bad for them. You may even think that some of them are morally abhorrent. But taking solidarity seriously means not only advocating on the side of capital-L Labor. A lot of low-wage workers don't like capital-L Labor. Solidarity means finding a way to engage with them that does not subsume their personal and political agency into yours.

You can't "be strong together" with someone while thinking they're an ignorant, tasteless fool, even and especially if they are.
posted by valkyryn at 9:24 AM on March 20 [28 favorites]


This is an interesting intersection of the media making the working poor "they" instead of "us" so that we can be cognitively disconnected from their plight, and "us" being fine with that because we don't want to believe we are "they". I'm so bewildered at the number of people who are teetering on the edge of oblivion espousing ideology that will guarantee they'll take the plunge into low-wage hell forever, and take their descendents with them.
posted by kjs3 at 9:30 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but when you say "you" to the average news consumer, it's of little impact, or they might harken back to the days where they had their Quizno's Job during the Summer to pay for gas and movie tickets. Not quite the same thing when you're trying to support yourself, or worse yet, a family.

I do agree with the consensus of the article that there is a large degree of "Otherness" when thinking of those poor folk over there. But I personally think it's more of an issue of psychology and denial than in a mere phrasing. When bad things happen to people (and yes, trying to live on minimum wage is not a good thing), I tend to immediately place people in the "other" category, and look for comparisons rather than identifications, to comfort myself with the perhaps delusional thought that I can spare myself and my family the same fate, or coming from some ego-driven, yet comforting better than-ness about my own fears and frustrations.

The closer in social scale, background, behaviors, even race they are to me, the more I look for some separating factor. Oh.. they don't read, they aren't well spoken, they like to party too much, etc. etc.

Note that I say this as someone who worked (3 years ago, when I was 34) at a minimum wage jobs for over a year and barely subsided. In fact, I started delivering pizzas at night just to make enough money to have gas to get to the first job.

I also say this as someone who perhaps lucked back into the corporate world, and fortunately, for me at least, someone who went from thinking "us" when referring to wage-workers back to "them."

But more importantly, even now making more than minimum wage, it seems it's all I can do to keep myself and my family afloat, and frankly, when I still am spending all my money and mental energy on just maintaining (albeit with more amenities) my own personal status quo, it still feels like minimum wage to me. It wasn't that long ago, and the stresses have different names, but they feel the same. Common problems have gone from finding quality groceries to car payments, but they cause me the same anxiety.

Maybe it's all part of the Man's plan, but keeping my own head afloat just means more to me than worrying about the next guy who's treading water a little deeper down.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:32 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


The pronoun thing is obviously just a small point in a larger argument but it's one that would lead pretty quickly to utter confusion. I mean, in the end you're "othering" unless you use "we" ("you" is just as "othering" as "they"). And then you'd have stories about how "we are demanding an increase in the minimum wage, which we also oppose on the grounds that it will destroy job opportunities. Meanwhile, we mostly don't care enough about the issue to actually do anything about it." I mean, we're all "we" in the end--but that being true doesn't really help us sort out the various different forces at play over any issue like this.
posted by yoink at 9:43 AM on March 20


...the culture that said low-wage workers enjoy...
:/
I'm not sure which culture low wage workers all belong to. If we are going to make assumptions that their culture is low-brow crass culture (and I don't really concede the point as while I'm doing financially alright currently I do come from a family of low wager workers), but even if we concede that people some equate low wage workers with crass culture, frankly I have no trouble advocating for better pay while still and the same time hating crass and/or bigoted culture. Just because you have empathy for someone's plight in a given area does not mean you have to have empathy for the entirety of their situation. I want all fast food workers to make decent wages even if a sub-set of those workers are assholes.
posted by edgeways at 9:46 AM on March 20 [18 favorites]


Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody poor
And mercy no longer could be
If all were as happy as we

--William Blake
posted by gimonca at 9:51 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I could not care less what kind of culture people have so long as they can make a living wage to support themselves and thier family, because that helps everybody.

Also cause I'm not a heartless sociopath.
posted by The Whelk at 9:51 AM on March 20 [24 favorites]


The powers that be and much of the "base" are relatively willing to discard, partially, their various race (though there seems to be a lot of thinly veiled status anxiety regarding Asians), gender, and sexuality advantages. They are not so willing to discard their class advantages.

Traditional capital U unions seem moribund and irrelevant outside of certain niches where they function industrially more than politically, and the public sector unions v which are their own thing. I think being too tightly tied to political machines is a big part of it. Imagine if your job required you to join a Republican PAC - that's how Unions seem to feel to enough actual workers I've talked to, just with Democrats. A lot of Metafilter style support for Labor seems to ignore labor - auto workers recently rejected an employer supported union bid in i think SC.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:00 AM on March 20


...downright despising the political positions that low-wage workers may favor.

When the 'political positions' many of them hold support the policies that do a lot to keep them down (like anti-Unionism), that's not low-class, that's just stupid.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:02 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Ignorant is more like it.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:06 AM on March 20


The thing is, I think that a lot of journalists, particularly younger journalists, are pretty cut-off from low-wage workers. They come from elite backgrounds, and there aren't any low-wage workers in their families or extended social circles. They probably don't know a lot of bank tellers, either. If they ever have worked for low wages, they were probably subsidized by their parents. The stories aren't about them or their neighbors or their families, and the way that they write about low-wage work reflects that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:15 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


I see it as another facet of the Just World Phenomenon coping mechanism. Just as nobody wants to believe that something randomly bad could ever happen to them, nobody wants to believe that something already has.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:16 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


See also "The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:17 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


...downright despising the political positions that low-wage workers may favor.

I can despise political positions in support of the policies that keep people disenfranchised, without necessarily despising all the people who hold those positions. Accordingly, there is no need for me to act as though those positions are valid, just because some of the people I support may hold those beliefs.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:21 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


As a generalization, "low wage" workers do not write about low wage workers. The article clearly pushing for more identification with workers of the world solidarity. But for whatever reason(s) Americans have quite their union joining and thus are in not much of a place to fight back. Now, with globalization etc it becomes more difficult to bargain, strike for better work conditions and companies can always threaten to have goods made elsewhere, thus further weakening the labor movement.

What is seldom noted in the Us versus Them (union v. non union) is that professionals often have guilds or associations --medial, legal, college administration etc--that actually set standards, including income, for those who would never think of themselves as "union" but who, nonetheless, expect their guilds to offe4r protection and "correct" conditions for them.

As for "our' not identifying with low wage workers, we often think not merely in terms of money but education, type of work, etc. that is done. This might not be a wise thing to do but I believe we think this way. Example: adjuncts at universities make lousy wages, with no benefits, and yet they mostly I think do not regard themselves as "other" low wage workers.
posted by Postroad at 10:48 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Too much writing on the left and the right has tended to treat the people in some of the nation's most common jobs as if they are some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves. McDonald's workers are trotted in to tell stories of hardship again and again, pushed for more detail, asked to lay themselves bare.

It's a particular kind of emotional labor that we ask of these workers. In addition to the strength and courage to tell the boss, to his face, that you're walking out because you’re sick of how you're being treated, we demand that you perform the role of the poor person for us, and we squabble over the right things to do for you.
Oh, but this part made me emit an unbidden shriek of recognition.

The way people talk about you when you're a low-income worker, like you're an inherently noble-minded beast of burden as opposed to a person who's in a perpetually tough spot because you make $6/hour instead of $12? It's so patronizing, and it isn't only journalists who do it. The pity, the cooing, the softening around the eyes! And when they want your opinion on a law or bill that is going to directly affect you, like whenever the GOP gives the old college try to eliminating food stamps or whatever, the person who's asking acts like you're supposed to be grateful they even asked you at all. It feels creepily exoticizing even as it presumes that we're all part of some monolithic group instead of just a bunch of Average Janes and Joes who happen to have one fact in common: We don't really make enough money to live.

There are a lot of disorientingly weird parts about having grown up in a no-income household, then busting my ass every single day until I woke up 15 years later to discover that I had somehow managed to obtain steady full-time employment and even buy my own tiny starter house -- 99% luck, 1% American Dream. But the weirdest thing? Always having to bite my tongue whenever I'm faced with a well-meaning but totally clueless person who feels the need to compliment me on my ability to communicate in an apparently educated-sounding voice even though I'm a high school dropout. "Where did you go to college?" I didn't. "Wow, you're so articulate!" I can't even count the number of times I've had this conversation. ESPECIALLY when I was working at places like Walmart and Burger King -- do people really think that sounding smart somehow magically inoculates you from making minimum wage? Being referred to as "articulate" makes me want to flense myself and leap into a pit of rock salt. So gross. It makes me feel like a class traitor, too: Rich folks know I'm from poor stock because of the way I dress and behave, poor folks think I'm from rich stock because I have a propensity for sounding high-falutin'. I miss my people.

There's a galling number of otherwise perfectly respectable, friendly humans who earnestly equate the lack of a well-paying job with unmitigated slack-jawed yokelism, so it's not surprising that our media reflects this and talks about us like we're some strange combination of helpless children and the backbone of the nation. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool lifelong bleeding heart Democrat, but liberals are the WORST at this. At least the GOP doesn't even pretend they care about us at all. Democrats love to either pull out a token cleaned-up poor to use as a political prop or just talk about and over us like we're not even there, then expect us to act grateful on the off-chance they deign to throw us some legislative crumbs. Republicans never expect gratitude because they literally think we should go starve and freeze to death in a gutter. Neither party cares about poor people, and both parties oscillate between courting our votes with hyperemotional scare tactics and being super-scared that we're going to mount an uprising. The Democrats just hate us less.

It would be nice, though, if we could refrain forever from doing the "everything will only be able to change once Those People stop voting against their own economic self-interest" thing. Being poor doesn't mean you're more likely to vote Republican, right-wing, pro-corporations as people, anti-union, etc., it means you're less likely to vote that way. As always, a consistent plurality of low-income people pull the lever for the Dems: cite, cite, cite, cite.

Poor people can learn how to read books and talk pretty and vote for economic equality just like anyone can. We're poor, we're not stupid.
posted by divined by radio at 10:55 AM on March 20 [52 favorites]


I think that a lot of journalists, particularly younger journalists, are pretty cut-off from low-wage workers.

I know a lot of younger journalists, mostly working in Canada anyways, and I wouldn't say they come from elite backgrounds at all. The ones I went to school with - and I understand the post-secondary situation up here is much different from the one in the U.S. - were nearly all on student assistance and worked crappy jobs in the summer and struggled to pay rent. I don't think their families were destitute, but they certainly weren't part of the elite. But what I noticed wasn't so much that these young journos-to-be were cut off from low-wage work as actively seeking an escape from it - I get the sense that any avoidance or blindness towards the issue would be part of an effort to move on and move up.

I can see where you're coming from; the situation is ripe for the sort of journalist not needing the pay - because everyone knows there isn't much in that way - but instead seeking the cultural power that comes with mass communications. It's not just the "media elite," though, perpetuating the attitude toward the working poor that divined by radio so succinctly outlined above - it's happening across the board by journalists from all backgrounds, even those who have the most intimate understanding of what it's like to not make enough to live on.
posted by onwords at 11:08 AM on March 20


> I can despise political positions in support of the policies that keep people disenfranchised, without necessarily
> despising all the people who hold those positions. Accordingly, there is no need for me to act as though those
> positions are valid, just because some of the people I support may hold those beliefs.

Would you take them as your friends, unconditionally? That's real. Everything else is self-deluding bullshit.
posted by jfuller at 11:11 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I could not care less what kind of culture people have so long as they can make a living wage to support themselves and thier family, because that helps everybody.

Right on. The government should pay everyone 100k to do whatever they damn well please cause that would help everyone. Oh why be so stingy TBM? Let's make it a cool million!
posted by three blind mice at 11:18 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Right on. The government should pay everyone 100k to do whatever they damn well please cause that would help everyone.

$100K is more than a living wage, but countries that do pay everyone the bare necessities are doing better than here as a result. That safety net affords people the chance to quit jobs that are (literally) killing them, saves healthcare $$$, grants the time to find a position where they can generate far more wealth in the economy, and gives the ability to upskill instead of laying the trap of becoming homeless and unemployable and/or living off crime. Basically, the American Dream. (Not to mention, less stress, more happiness, greater security, more fulfilled lives, y'know, all that stuff that is actually the end to which economics is merely a means for.)
posted by anonymisc at 11:32 AM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Would you take them as your friends, unconditionally?

Take no one as a friend unconditionally, whatever their economic position may be.

and I have no idea what you're getting on about TBM, seems a bit off kilter. There is a big difference between paying people that work hard a living wage and outright giving people a million bucks, I suspect you know this right?
posted by edgeways at 11:35 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Would you take them as your friends, unconditionally?

Not necessarily, why would I? I am not friends with everyone I know, whether I support their politics or not. But if you are asking would I respect them, then I'd say, it depends. I can still respect someone for other aspects of their life without agreeing with all their political positions. But I don't need to agree with all the political positions all of my actual friends hold, either.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:39 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


$100K isn't a living wage, but countries that do pay everyone the bare necessities are doing better than here as a result. That safety net affords people the chance to quit jobs that are (literally) killing them, saves healthcare $$$, grants the time to find a position where they can generate far more wealth in the economy, and the ability to upskill instead of becoming homeless and unemployable. Basicly, the American Dream. (Not to mention, less stress, more happiness, greater security, more fulfilled lives, y'know, all that stuff that is actually the end to which economics is merely a means for.)

A strong social(ist) safety net, including single-payer national health insurance that produces longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates, a government retirement pension of up to 66 percent of working income, free education from nursery school through graduate school, 46 weeks of maternity leave at full pay or 56 weeks at 80 percent pay, 10 weeks of paternity leave at full pay, is good for business, especially entrepreneurship.

Now, that article's a couple of years old, but I read a paper in a 2013 issue of Statistics Norway that put the proportion of entrepreneurial businesses still at about 3/4 of new businesses, and generating more than half of the revenue and employment of all new businesses. Sounds kind of bootstrappy. You don't have to worry about sick, hungry, miserable, distracted workers (including yourself), and it's amazing the amount of nose-to-the-grindstone work you can get done.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:56 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure what this "you don't REALLY care about minimum wage workers, because they all have culture and politics you think is bad" thing is coming from. Smells like Fox News "liberals are the ELEET and they don't CARE about REAL PEOPLE" bullshit, except aimed in a highbrow instead of lowbrow direction. Pure irrelevant bullshit.

The thing that struck me most in the article was the fact that organized labor (lowercased) had fought for a lot of these gains and that was being erased in the media.

That's a big deal.

Making sure nobody knows, or talks about, the fact that poor people can take power and change the world and make it better for themselves.

Because that idea is not a part of our culture, and there are reasons it is not.
posted by edheil at 12:00 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Being poor doesn't mean you're more likely to vote Republican, right-wing, pro-corporations as people, anti-union, etc., it means you're less likely to vote that way. As always, a consistent plurality of low-income people pull the lever for the Dems: cite, cite, cite, cite.

True, but there's often an unspoken part of this discussion which is race. It's assumed that poor people of color will vote Democratic, so what this discussion is really about is poor whites. And they, by a pretty large margin, vote Republican.
posted by yoink at 12:10 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Norway is a small ethnically similar oil-funded welfare state. It is not an economic case study for American policy.

Moreover, the vast number of 'empirical' papers make a cheap observation about other countries, identify a single difference in welfare, and attribute vast economic differences to that single variable. It's lazy economics, and not the type of analysis that would ever fly in an economics department...
posted by jjmoney at 1:38 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


It's lazy economics

No, lazy economics is hand-waving away fantastic opportunities to learn better policy, for spurious reasons like "Norway is a small ethnically similar oil-funded welfare state" meanwhile New Zealand is what... sheep-funded? Agriculture?! And according to some sources is more ethnically diverse than even the USA, yet still leaves the USA in the dust in the metrics that matter most.
posted by anonymisc at 2:39 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


What exactly is the prescription for progressive advocacy journalism? That it not make economic distress seem so...distressing? Is it an actual conceit of this piece that the left's pernicious "other-ing" of the wretched poor is one of the top 10,000 problems with the way that discussion goes?
posted by batfish at 2:58 PM on March 20


I've seen this same critique from christians: when they talk about us, they say, journos come at us from the outside.

it's a dumb criticism in both circumstances: approaching things from that angle is just how how journalism rolls.
posted by jpe at 3:41 PM on March 20


approaching things from that angle is just how how journalism rolls.

This is just not true at all, unless you want to say that, eg, business and real estate reporting don't constitute journalism.

I would say approaching things from that angle is how the NYT styles section rolls, which is really the point. Reporting about the underpaid is basically a flavor piece, written with the understanding that it's not actually going to have any impact on any concrete action of the reader, just like reading about those whacky Christians/hipsters/magical tech people.
posted by PMdixon at 3:51 PM on March 20


Size is no doubt relevant, but ethnicity and the particular commodity from which income is derived aren’t.

I may not be an economics professor myself, but I do work with a good number of them. The ones I work most closely with are labor economists, but I do a great deal of reading in economics in my work (which is why I happened to have copies of Statistics Norway lying around my office.) It was an economics professor with ties to Norway who first showed me that article (she brought me back a coffee mug shaped like the bodice of a bunad from one of her trips once).

So, while I do agree that the program would need adjustment - no doubt major adjustment - for a large nation, I'm going to have to disagree that any economics department would dismiss the principles out of hand.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:17 PM on March 20


It's assumed that poor people of color will vote Democratic, so what this discussion is really about is poor whites. And they, by a pretty large margin, vote Republican.

Do you have sources/citations for this? Not a gotcha at all -- I'd be interested in seeing research about it, but all I'm finding on my own right now are newspaper articles that seem too vague and basic to be useful.

I'm specifically wondering how the gender gap plays into this, because what I've seen (iIrc) is that white men have *much* higher rates of voting Republican than anyone else, so once you control for race and gender, it turns out that lower-income people vote for Repubs at lower rates than other income groups. But that's just what I remember from a study I saw maybe six months ago, I could be off. And of course even that will still be kind of circular, because minorities and women are disproportionately likely to be poor.

Actually, the elderly are disproportionately likely to be poor, too, so now I'm wondering how that would effect things (especially since I think there are significantly more elderly women than men?)?

There's a galling number of otherwise perfectly respectable, friendly humans who earnestly equate the lack of a well-paying job with unmitigated slack-jawed yokelism

I've noticed this, too, and I wonder -- has it always been like that? (Honest question).

Part of that attitude is probably coming from the same old frantic and deluded denial of "but for the grace of God go I" as always. I wonder if some of it, though, is coming from a cultural shift toward worshiping wealth and truly believing that $ = value (even when it comes to human beings and ethics)?
posted by rue72 at 4:26 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


This article made me think about the language of economics. One example is the constant reference to "consumers" as opposed to "citizens" when journalists and pundits talk about the economy. They refer to consumers as if they are some other....certainly not them. It also seems there is an implied class issue with that term, with consumers being the class of people who feel economic shifts compared to the rich who don't care about the cost of a gallon of milk. But of course the rich are the biggest consumers of all.

The other concept is "wage pressure". When high income people extract more income from their employer, it is called a raise or a bonus. But when low income workers get ten more cents per hour we call it "wage pressure"...something to be avoided because it may cause inflation.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:53 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I think that, compounding the othering, a lot of low-wage workers have difficulty themselves identifying with the idea of being such. For example, as a low-wage worker who grew up middle-class and who also tries his best to engage honestly with the concept of privilege, I feel denial pushing upon me from two directions. One is a sort of unconscious attachment to the middle class that I don't at all countenance but is there nonetheless: i.e. this is temporary; I'm just here until I find a professional position in my actual field; etc. The second is a product of trying to maintain a socioeconomic consciousness; i.e. I didn't grow up in generational poverty so I'm not a "real" or "typical" low-wage worker; taking up that mantle would be appropriative or "playing poor"; etc.

I think even many low-wage workers who have significantly less privilege than I do still fall (whether justifiably or incorrectly) into the idea that their status is temporary, which makes it hard to cultivate solidarity.
posted by threeants at 5:56 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


This article made me think about the language of economics. One example is the constant reference to "consumers" as opposed to "citizens" when journalists and pundits talk about the economy. They refer to consumers as if they are some other....certainly not them. It also seems there is an implied class issue with that term, with consumers being the class of people who feel economic shifts compared to the rich who don't care about the cost of a gallon of milk. But of course the rich are the biggest consumers of all.

Yeah, I think this discursive separation between "consumers" and "citizens", or "people", or whatever definitely reinforces the odd conception that individuals in the act of consuming don't have additional economic identities or positionalities, when in fact every single one of them does. This, in turn, helps perpetuate wrongheaded assumptions like the idea that poor people don't contribute to the economy; that poor people don't pull their weight when it comes to paying taxes (L. O. L.); or that a poor person's dollar somehow doesn't spend as well or isn't as worth pursuing as a rich person's dollar.
posted by threeants at 6:02 PM on March 20


I learned tonight in casual conversation that the author is apparently a friend of a friend. Hopefully either Sarah or else my very knowledgable and passionate friend will pop in here soon.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:13 PM on March 20


As a generalization, "low wage" workers do not write about low wage workers.

Of course they do. They do not write in places we read-- major media covers a few cities and what matters to a few demographic groups that are all intertwined and not consistently interesting.

Just recently I started reading tipthepizzaguy.com. h/t Gawker. Low wage Japanese sex workers have open forums where they chat about pop culture, complain about customers, and discuss the merits of employers.

They also write on general forums like the oft-ridiculed Yahoo answers and on big broad job boards.

When they compare low wage jobs and discuss the pressures of low wage, low status work on these sites, they are doing it for each other, not for "us."

What is seldom noted in the Us versus Them (union v. non union) is that professionals often have guilds or associations --medial, legal, college administration etc--that actually set standards, including income, for those who would never think of themselves as "union" but who, nonetheless, expect their guilds to offe4r protection and "correct" conditions for them.

I would disagree. Guilds/associations set up PACs for this very reason. Texas’ dentists have one of the most powerful PAC in the state in terms of money on hand. Doctors and lawyers are up there too.

Professional associations create bright-line exclusions that drive down wages of some of their own. Here, LVNs (nurses w/o IV training) complain that Texas Nurses Association (TNA) won't let them join. Considering that TNA's PAC puts big money behind candidates, the stakes are huge.

Then there are the minimum wage workers doing the grunt work of nursing like nurses’ aides. They want to move up the ladder and earn more. They are managed by RNs. So it is no surprise that the TNA is anti-union. Their Facts of Unionization Toolkit is pretty funny because they try to cloak their position and fail miserably.

My sense is that workers down the scale would jump at the chance to unionize but they fear losing their jobs. It's not false consciousness (ignorance of their interests). There just aren't any real protections and legislators are receiving money from PACs pushing interests that hurt their own.

** I want to clarify I am not attacking RNs as a profession or as individuals. I am pointing out how this professional association presents their interests, and the contrast between them and the minimum wage workers who do more and more health care work.
posted by vincele at 9:17 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Are the Suburbs Making People Live Paycheck to Paycheck? - "Households without any cash savings are twice as likely to be wealthy as poor."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:05 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


« Older Derivative Clicker...  |  Louis C.K. makes an assumption... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments