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High-Tech Workers in the Silicon Valley

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Brief History of the Valley

The Silicon Valley area became a major manufacturing power after World War II. The Cold War furthered this development, as industries involved in defense, aerospace, steel, oil, automobiles, and so on prospered (Hossfeld 405-406). The high-technology industry began in the laboratories of corporations such as Bell Laboratories, American Telephone and Telegraph, Fairchild Camera and Instrument, and General Electric during this Cold War era (Bacon, “Organizing”). Employment in California, especially Silicon Valley, grew rapidly between 1950 and 1980 due to technical innovation that characterized the postwar prosperity. Furthermore, federal spending expanded California’s economy, placing it in the front of a high-technology revolution (Hossfeld 405). Politicians such as the former President Clinton and Vice President Gore consider the Silicon Valley the model for the United States industrial growth in the new millennium. While this “model” has had remarkable products and performance, it also employs underpaid workers in unsafe environments (Siegel 91). Moreover, unlike most manufacturing industries in the United States, the high-tech workers are not organized into unions.

Microelectronics and Cell Phones

Santa Clara Valley, California, better known as Silicon Valley, is the birthplace and reigning capital of the largest and fastest growing manufacturing industry in the world, microelectronics (Hossfeld 405). Microelectronics is defined as a branch of electronics that deals with the miniaturization of electric circuits and components. This involves computers, processor, cell phones, and many other electronic devices. Cell phones are becoming a part of the microelec...

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