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The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker (Borzoi Books)

6 Ratings: 0.7
A book by Steven Greenhouse

ABOUT THIS BOOK Why, in the world's most affluent nation, are so many corporations squeezing their employees dry? In this fresh, carefully researched book, New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse explores the economic, political, and social trends … see full wiki

Author: Steven Greenhouse
Genre: Economic Policy & Development, Labor & Industrial Relations, Labor Policy, Blue Politics
Publisher: Anchor
Date Published: February 10, 2009
1 review about The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American...

The future looks mighty grim for the beleagured American worker.

  • Feb 24, 2010
  • by
I imagine that many conservative talk show hosts who have heard of or even read  "The Big Squeeze" will dismiss out of hand Steven Greenhouse's new book as just more predictable liberal negativity.  After all, according to Sean Hannity on one recent afternoon program it is possible for everyone to become rich in America if they are just willing to work hard enough.  This is hogwash, Mr. Hannity.  Everyone is not cut out to be an enterpreneur or a stockbroker.  The reality is that in America today 10% of the population controls nearly 50% of the wealth.  The gap between the richest Americans and the rest of us has been increasing at a alarming rate.  Good paying jobs are being shipped to other nations and millions of Americans employed in retail or service industries are being forced to work in miserable conditions just to scrape by.  "The Big Squeeze:  Tough Times For The American Worker" is about the sobering new realities facing an ever increasing number of American workers today.  And for the most part what Steven Greenhouse has discovered is not a pretty picture.

It would appear that the American worker is under attack from all directions.  Over the past two decades the U.S. has been inundated by millions of illegal aliens from places like Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti.  The presence of these additional workers helps to depress blue collar wages in this country and places a strain on the public services we all have to pay for like schools and hospitals.  Meanwhile, despite that fact that Americans are among the most productive workers in the world U.S. corporations have accelerated the outsourcing of good paying white collar jobs to places like Pakistan and India where workers are happy to work for a fraction of what his American counterpart makes.  Greenhouse spotlights a number of instances where American workers were actually forced to suffer the indignity of training their foreign replacements or else risk losing their severance packages.  This one hits especially close to home because my wife found herself in just this situation a few years ago.

As the grip of "The Big Squeeze" gets tighter and tighter, increasing numbers of Americans are forced to accept lower paying positions at outfits like Wal-Mart and Family Dollar.   Steven Greenhouse hightlights a whole host of appalling working conditions too numerous to mention here that employees at these retailers are forced to endure.  To me the most disturbing one was that in many smaller stores Wal-Mart employees working the overnight shift were actually locked in the store with no manager present and with absolutely no ability to get out in case of an emergency! How can they get away with that??   In the course of "The Big Squeeze" Greenhouse does give kudos to both the discount retailer Costco and the accounting firm Ernst and Young. He praises these companies for the value they place on their employees and cites them as models for other companies to follow.   Greenhouse also believes that if the challenges facing American workers today are ever to be reversed then labor unions must play a major role, particularly with those doing lower-paying jobs like janitors and nursing home workers.

For most Americans, what Steven Greenhouse has to say in "The Big Squeeze:  Tough Times For the American Worker" will really come as no surprise.  The problems outlined in this book are myriad and the implications for most workers are quite frightening.  Steven Greenhouse argues that America should take a second look at globalization and perhaps make some adjustments along the way.  "The Big Squeeze" is a highly readable and  very informative book.  Recommended!
The future looks mighty grim for the beleagured American worker. The future looks mighty grim for the beleagured American worker. The future looks mighty grim for the beleagured American worker. The future looks mighty grim for the beleagured American worker.

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