Minimum Work By Barbara Ehrenreich

944 Words4 Pages
Welfare reform caused many families surviving with the help of the government to go out and look for jobs despite their need for childcare that they could not afford. Barbara Ehrenreich, a journalist with a PhD, decided to find out how life would be like living on minimum wage labor. During her journey, we see that labor has not changed majorly because laborers are not paid fairly and they are declined their rightfully owned rights. Although women are allowed in the workplace, an eight hour work day is established, and we have a minimum wage, many are still struggling to make it because the system simply does not work unless you are running the show.
Her journey begins as she begins applying at many places in Key West, Florida, where she lives.
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She applies at Menards and Wal-Mart while terrified that she will not pass a drug test due to a “chemical indiscretion” (Ehrenreich 125) but she passes her drug test and gets offered employment at both places. She chooses to work at Wal-Mart because Menards asks her to work overtime without getting compensated for it. While working at Wal-Mart, Barbara moves to live in a hotel- failing to find a place to live. she is working at Wal-Mart, she learns that “1,450 hotel workers strike nine local hotels” (Ehrenreich 187) which inspires her to make a change. This results in her realization that low wage workers “avoid fighting even in self-defense”( Ehrenreich 211) due to the fact that they are essentially…show more content…
Women now hold their place in the workforce and we have our eight hour day. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was one of the people who strongly believed that women needed opportunities for labor, and women have gotten those rights. On the contrary, women still get paid less than men. According to CNN Money, “men still make more than women in most professions -- considerably more in some occupations than others, according to a new study by the job search site Glassdoor”. Although we like to comfort ourselves with the idea that we have gotten our rightfully earned rights, we had not been given bathroom breaks until 1998. Furthermore, employees are still afraid to have a voice in the workforce. Employers establish rules that basically let laborers know that they are inferior. In Ehrenreich 's case, she witnessed being told that her bag was subject to being looked through at any time, and she saw how degrading drug tests were. Ehrenreich argues that“the drug tests, the constant surveillance, being ‘reamed out’ by managers- are part of what keeps wages low”(Ehrenreich 211) which is agreeable seeing as the low wage workers decline to fight for better conditions due to fear. Additionally, Barbara figures out that minimum jobs do not equal minimum labor, which has always been the case. I agree with that fact due to
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