“Now I’ve been fired.The person who wrote the note came across an article about it, called the Applebee’s location, and demanded everyone be fired — me, the server who allowed me to take the picture, the manager on duty at the time, the manager not on duty at the time, everyone. It seems I was fired not because Applebee’s was represented poorly, not because I did anything illegal or against company policy, but because I embarrassed this person. In light of the situation, I would like to make a statement on behalf of wait staff everywhere: We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.”
- Reblogged from biyuti
A worker from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, with his face painted with tears of blood, chants slogans during a rally in front of a railway station in Seoul November 11, 2012. Thousands of workers who took part in the rally asked for an extensive revision of the labour law and demanded that the government provide temporary workers employment stability by converting their status to full-time workers. The worker’s headband reads, “Abolition of temporary workers system”.
Photo and text: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji.
- Source: zeezeescorner
In the Mexican city of Monterrey, where the over development of newly built suburbs affect peoples daily lives and customs, there is a large bridge spanning Highway 85. On that bridge Alejandro Cartagena pointed his camera down at the morning traffic. He was seeking and peeking into the backs of open trucks, where construction workers often pile together on their way to earn a living. Like commuters everywhere, they sleep, eat, read and talk on their way to work. Often they look up, and maybe they notice someone taking their picture.
- Reblogged from reginasworld
On the 13th of June, 8,000 miners marched in Spain. They were protesting against a proposed 64% cut in subsidies for the mining industry. The BBC reports “The protest took place as government ministers were responding to questions about the banks bailout.”
Image: Socialist Workers Party. Link Via The Art of Protest.
- Source: zeezeescorner
My latest journal article: Context and outcomes of intercultural education amongst international students in Australia. Published by Intercultural Education:
International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. This paper provides a demographic context of the international student population in Australia and it also addresses the gaps impeding their full social participation in Australian educational institutions. This paper argues that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction. Educational providers would better serve international students by focusing on practical learning, career-planning and reinforcing the social and cultural skills valued by Australian employers.
Los estudiantes internacionales representan una gran inversión económica así como de relaciones internacionales para Australia. Las universidades Australianas dependen financieramente cada vez mas del ingreso de estudiantes de ultramar, sin embargo no responden adecuadamente a las necesidades culturales, lingüísticas y religiosas de estos estudiantes. No obstante su formación universitaria, los estudiantes internacionales encuentran barreras para la obtención de empleo en su campo profesional luego de su graduación en universidades australianas. Este artículo presenta el contexto demográfico general de la población estudiantil internacional en Australia e identifica las barreras para su integración social. El argumento central en el presente artículo es que una mayor atención a la organización social de estos estudiantes puede no solamente mejorar su satisfacción educacional sino también profesional. Las instituciones educativas Australianas podrían ofrecer mejores servicios a los estudiantes internacionales si avocaran recursos para el entrenamiento de habilidades prácticas que ayudaran a estos estudiantes a planear su carrera y mejorar sus capacidades sociales y culturales.
Read my article via the publisher.
Australia will implement an anti-racism strategy from July 2012. In this post I sketch out some ideas as to how applied sociology might contribute to this process. The 2011 Mapping Social Cohesion Report shows that 14% of all Australians have experienced racial or religious discrimination. Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke (below) noted to SBS News that government and other areas of public service do not reflect Australia’s multicultural make up:
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has put out a discussion paper outlining their anti-racism vision. They are seeking for the public to get involved by commenting on the paper, attending public discussion forums and participating in the online survey, which I have done.
- Source: sociologyatwork.org
By Gwen Sharp and Lisa Wade:
…Kimble and Olson question its lauded female empowerment message. Current readings of the poster as a feminist emblem assume this female worker is calling out to other women, inspiring them to leave their kitchens and join her on the factory floor. In fact, Westinghouse workers would have seen it in a different context, as just one of many similar posters displayed in the plant. When taken as just one in a series directed at workers, the collective “we” in “We can do it!” can’t be read as women, but allWestinghouse employees, who were used to seeing such statements posted in employeeaccess-only areas of the plant.
Further, the message wasn’t designed to empower workers, female or otherwise; it wasmeant, as were the other posters in the series, to control Westinghouse’s workforce. One of the major functions of corporate war committees was to manage labour and discourage disputes that might disrupt production. Images of happy workers expressing support for the war effort and praising workers’ abilities served as propaganda meant to persuade workers to identify themselves, management, and Westinghouse itself as a unified team with similar interests and goals. The posters commonly encouraged employees to meet production goals and align themselves with corporate values, while discouraging them from discussing unionizing or organizing to improve working conditions or wages. Kimble and Olson write: “…by addressing workers as ‘we,’ the pronoun obfuscated sharp controversies within labor over communism, red-baiting, discrimination, and other heartfelt sources of divisiveness.” Indeed, the authors note that such measures were effective, since “patriotism could be invoked to circumvent strikes and characterise workers’ unrest as un-American.”
Today, we see the poster through a lens shaped by what came later, particularly Second Wave feminism. The women’s rights movement of the 1960s and ‘70s fostered a genderbased form of identity politics in which women identified with each another as women and viewed themselves as sisters in a struggle against gender inequality (work was an explicit area of contention). Cultural perceptions of the 1950s as a period of particularly rigid gender roles contrasted with the apparent freedom briefly available to women duringWorldWar II. Within this context, now we look at the “We Can Do It!” poster and take for granted that “we” means other women. Yet Kimble and Olson remind us that this understanding isn’t an obvious interpretation, but the outcome of efforts to frame womanhood as a meaningful social identity—one that unites members through shared experience in a patriarchal society.
Placing this poster in its original context illustrates theway in which historicalmyth-making has obscured its real role. Ironically, the iconic image thatwe nowimagine as an early example of girlpower marketing served not to empower women to leave the domestic sphere and join the paid workforce, but to contain labor unrest and discourage the growth of the labour movement.
- Source: zeezeescorner
You simply MUST read this wonderful letter from 1865; it is the most cordial affirmation of the human spirit. A former slave, now free, is asked by his old ‘master’ to return to work. Jourdon Anderson tells him where to go in a firm, eloquent, and dignified manner. This is a witty and incisive letter of dismissal that disavows bigotry, violence and oppression to the very end. Via Letters of Note:
In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdan Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdan — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).
Rather than quote the numerous highlights in this letter, I’ll simply leave you to enjoy it. Do make sure you read to the end.
August 7, 1865
To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee
Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.
As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.
In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
From your old servant,
Visit Kottke for an update on Jourdon and his family.
- Source: lettersofnote.com
The disappearing work-life divide and the feminization of abstract labor in SleepingBeauty
In the opening scene of Julia Leigh’s debut film SleepingBeauty, Lucy (Emily Browning), our beautiful college-student protagonist, serves as a medical test subject. She leans her head back as the doctor slowly threads a tube down her throat, then fills a balloon in her chest with air while she holds the tube in place. Lucy cooperates excellently and leaves with an envelope of money and a smile.
Her still, submissive choking and gagging lend the scene a heavy erotic charge, an allusion to the sex work the viewer may already know is to come from reviews and trailers. In this first scene, Lucy is already selling her body; the distinction between this and prostitution is a symbolic technicality.
What’s most off-putting in this scene is Lucy’s ability to hold a smile on her face throughout the ordeal. If Lucy’s remaining still while holding the tube down her airway as her body jerks around isn’t work, then I don’t know what is.
Though she usually she wears the uniform of an Anthropologie model and often seems to being doing not much at all — there are a few scenes of her cleaning up a coffee shop after working a closing shift and others of her biding her time in the copy room of the office where she’s an assistant — almost all of what we see Lucy do in the film is work. We know she’s working, but she hardly looks like a worker.
But what does a worker look like? Even the most traditional economic models, as well as revolutionary counter-currents, had to deal with changes over time in the character of what they called labor.
- Reblogged from thenewinquiry
Foxconn Employees Threaten Mass Suicide
Foxconn, the world’s largest electronic component maker (think: Apple, Amazon, Nintendo, Dell, Panasonic… well, you get the point) is not a nice place to work. So rampant have the suicides been that last year the company made workers sign pledges not to kill themselves.
Via The Atlantic Wire:
As American consumers ogle over shiny new gadgets at this week’s Consumer Electronic’s Show, the workers that make those products are threatening mass suicide for the horrid working conditions at Foxconn. 300 employees who worked making the Xbox 360 stood at the edge of the factory building, about to jump, after their boss reneged on promised compensation, reports English news site Want China Times. It’s not like this is the first time working conditions at Foxconn have made news outside China. But iPhone and Xbox sales surely haven’t lagged in the wake of those revelations and neither Apple nor Microsoft has done much of anything to fix things.
As The Atlantic Wire points out, this week’s This American Life features a trip to a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China where approximately 350,000 to 450,000 people are employed.
You can listen to the episode here.
Image: Workers at Foxconn via China Southern Weekly
Always reblog. This MATTERS, folks.
Agreed. Reblog ∞. This infographic doesn’t include Australia, where I live, but I did some digging and Australian CEOs earn 63 times more than the average full-time worker.
(Data by Shields (2005) via Australian Council of Trade Unions.)