Labor Day, September 7th
Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America
Summary:Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, the author decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job, any job could be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on six to seven dollars an hour? To find out, she left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered as a woefully inexperienced homemaker returning to the workforce. So began a grueling, hair raising, and darkly funny odyssey through the underside of working America. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.
Hand to mouth : living in bootstrap America
Summary:The author, in her signature brutally honest yet personable voice, takes all of these preconceived notions of what it means to be poor and smashes them to bits. She articulates not only what it is to be working poor in America (yes, you can be poor and live in a house and have a job, even two), but what poverty is truly like, on all levels. In her thought-provoking voice, she discusses how she went from lower-middle class, to sometimes middle class, to poor and everything in between, and in doing so reveals why "poor people don’t always behave the way middle-class America thinks they should." — Provided by publisher.
The new geography of jobs
Summary:From the author, an economist, this book is an examination of innovation and success, and where to find them in America. An unprecedented redistribution of jobs, population, and wealth is under way in America, and it is likely to accelerate in the years to come. America’s new economic map shows growing differences, not just between people but especially between communities. In this book, the author provides a fresh perspective on the tectonic shifts that are reshaping America’s labor market, from globalization and income inequality to immigration and technological progress, and how these shifts are affecting our communities.
Triangle : the fire that changed America
Summary:Describes the 1911 fire that destroyed the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York’s Greenwich Village, the deaths of 146 workers in the fire, and its implications for twentieth-century politics and labor relations.
Heads in beds : a reckless memoir of hotels, hustles, and so-called hospitality
Summary:"A humorous memoir by a veteran hospitality employee that reveals what goes on behind the scenes of the hotel business. Includes tips on how to get the most out of your hotel stay."
Rise of the robots : technology and the threat of a jobless future
Summary:Examines the effects of accelerating technology on the economic system.,"In Silicon Valley the phrase "disruptive technology" is tossed around on a casual basis. No one doubts that technology has the power to devastate entire industries and upend various sectors of the job market. But Rise of the Robots asks a bigger question: Can accelerating technology disrupt our entire economic system to the point where a fundamental restructuring is required? Companies like Facebook and YouTube may only need a handful of employees to achieve enormous valuations, but what will be the fate of those of us not lucky or smart enough to have gotten into the great shift from human labor to computation?"
Shop class as soulcraft : an inquiry into the value of work
Summary:Called “the sleeper hit of the publishing season” (The Boston Globe), Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a “knowledge worker,” based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.
Bread and roses : mills, migrants, and the struggle for the American dream
Summary:The 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts was a watershed moment in labor history as significant as the Haymarket bombing in Chicago and the Triangle fire in New York. In a history with the narrative drive of a novel, journalist Watson provides the first full-length account of the strike that began when textile workers stormed out of the mills on a frigid January day. Despite owners’ predictions to the contrary, the walkout soon became a protracted Dickensian drama that included 23,000 strikers from fifty-one nations singing as they paraded through Lawrence, bayonet-toting militiamen patrolling the streets, and the daring evacuation of the strikers’ tattered and hungry children to Manhattan, where they lived with strangers and wrote loving letters to their parents on the picket line.–From publisher description.
We are Market Basket : the story of the unlikely grassroots movement that saved a beloved business
Summary:On June 23, 2014, the long-time CEO of a popular New England supermarket chain was ousted by his board of directors, led by his cousin. What transpired over the next two months is an inspiring tale of epic loyalty to a man who had impacted his community far beyond that of providing groceries.In We Are Market Basket, readers will learn more than simply the story of the strike heard round the world. How did a single CEO garner so much respect from his company’s managers and rank-and-file workers that they walked out of the stores and protested? How did the ousting of an executive result in customers leaving the stores and joining protest rallies? Politicians were forced to take sides, and media were left stunned at the unprecedented and united show of support for this lone businessman. What was so special about this CEO and how he ran his business that provoked such ferocious loyalty? How does a company spread across three states maintain a culture that embraces everyone—from cashier to customer—as family? Can a company really become an industry leader by prioritizing stakeholders over shareholders? With its arresting firsthand accounts from the streets and executive suites, We Are Market Basket is as inspiring as it is instructive as it chronicles the epic rise, fall, and redemption of an iconic and uniquely American company.
Women’s work : a reckoning with home and help
Summary:When Megan Stack was living in Beijing, she left her prestigious job as a foreign correspondent to have her first child and work from home writing a book. She quickly realized that caring for a baby and keeping up with the housework while her husband went to the office each day was consuming the time she needed to write. This dilemma was resolved in the manner of many upper-class families and large corporations: she availed herself of cheap Chinese labor. The housekeeper Stack hired was a migrant from the countryside, a mother who had left her daughter in a precarious situation to earn desperately needed cash in the capital. As Stack’s family grew and her husband’s job took them to Dehli, a series of Chinese and Indian women cooked, cleaned, and babysat in her home. Stack grew increasingly aware of the brutal realities of their lives: domestic abuse, alcoholism, unplanned pregnancies. Hiring poor women had given her the ability to work while raising her children, but what ethical compromise had she made?
Heartland : a memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on Earth
Summary:Traces the author’s turbulent childhood on a Kansas farm in the 1980s and 1990s to reveal her firsthand experiences with cyclical poverty and the corrosive impact of intergenerational poverty on individuals, families and communities.
Maid : hard work, low pay, and a mother’s will to survive
Summary:A journalist describes the years she worked in low-paying domestic work under wealthy employers, contrasting the privileges of the upper-middle class to the realities of the overworked laborers supporting them.