Nonetheless, millions of people across the US are forced to work jobs where they are miserable in order to be able to give their families what they need, no matter what they have to give up in order to do so. Some of the people she meets are very similar to the characters in George Saunders’ story Pastoralia in the terms that they too work hard, don’t get the best treatment, and are only working because of their need to provide and sustain themselves and others. Saunders subtly depicts his characters as minimum wage workers, much like those in real life, who are struggling to give their loved ones what they need. Authors have been known to use their writing as symbols of other things that are occurring in the world. For George Saunders, in Pastoralia, he writes about characters that reflect real-life workers that are earning a low wage.
Poverty and low wages have been a problem ever since money became the only thing that people began to care about. In Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich, she presents the question, “How does anyone live on the wages available to the unskilled?” This question is what started her experiment of living like a low wage worker in America. Ehrenreich ends up going to Key West, Portland, and Minneapolis to see how low wage work was dealt with in different states. With this experiment she developed her main argument which was that people working at low wages can’t live life in comfort because of how little they make monthly and that the economic system is to blame. Ehrenreich decided to do this experiment because
This is how companies minimize their total costs and they seek for locations with the smallest wages and human rights protections (Background). Now lets take a look and see why sweatshop work is so horrendous. The way that sweatshops treat their workers is absolutely brutal. They force their workers to work all the way up to 60-80 hours per week and do not pay them nearly enough to even be able to provide food for their families. Sometimes the workers will only receive a few pennies for one whole day of work (Background).
Even with these jobs they could not compare to the amount of women who just did domestic services around either their own home or for their employers at their home. This mainly happened in the Sweated Trade, which was clothing and dress making. In the sweated trade women were often paid 'piece rate' for the amount of items that they made in a week. The men expected the women to give up their jobs once they became married. This is because the men did not think that it was acceptable to send their wives out to work.
There are people who injure themselves at work and have to rely on disability and food stamps. There are people who have jobs but they don’t pay enough so they still need assistance from TANF, WIC & food stamps. I also know that the job market has not been friendly to some people in the last few years alone. Employers are being laid off from jobs because companies can’t pay them. In my opinion, there are a few reasons that could explain the reason for the poverty rates being the way they are.
Lastly, Ehrenreich evaluates her overall experience among the minimum-wage worker’s class. She concludes that the minimum-wage lifestyle is unfair and difficult to deal with. Ehrenreich notes that the government is also a factor to be considered when it comes to low-income workers, being that the government decides the minimum wage. She also indicates that the markets are getting increasingly expensive, being that low-income housing and jobs are continually disappearing. Nickel and Dimed provides a first-hand perspective on the experiences a low-wage worker may encounter.
This process of giving and not receiving is exhibited when Ehrenreich attempts to find aid from welfare programs, but is disappointed when she can only qualify to receive less than a week 's worth of groceries. “There are no secret economies that nourish the poor”(Ehrenreich 27) and as a result individuals within this group are left on their own to support themselves and their families with mediocre wages. In addition to having little to no assistance when it comes to nourishment, the poor must also pay for additional costs that financially capable people do not have. An example of these additional costs can be seen when Ehrenreich must constantly pay for fast food because she has no source of refrigeration and also, when she must buy expensive medicine
In the book Nickel and Dimed, the author Barbara Ehrenreich, a journalist with a PH.D, does undercover reporting about low wage workers by obtaining minimum wage jobs in three areas of the United States--Florida, Maine, and Minnesota. As she journeys through the hardships and struggles of becoming a minimum wage worker, Ehrenreich claims that it is impossible to survive as a minimum wage worker. In the chapter "Scrubbing in Maine," Ehrenreich provides many examples that back up her claim as she struggles to survive financially, physically, and socially. Probably the most obvious struggle Ehrenreich encounters in her minimum wage jobs in "Scrubbing in Maine" is the physical demands or hard labor of the jobs. In her first job in Maine, working as a dietary aide for Woodcrest Residential Facility, the job required her to "scrape uneaten food off the dishes[...]rinse the dishes, presoak them, stack them in a rack, and load the rack into the dishwashing machine, which involves bending down almost to floor level with the full rack[...]" (63).Not only did she wash dishes for forty people, but she would ... ... middle of paper ... ...oucher at a South Portland Shop-n-Save" (102).
In the end, society has been negatively affected by the food industry in some of the most depressing ways possible. Whether it is taking advantage of workers, or pushing for a certain product, or even selling contaminated food with no remorse. Hopefully, the food industries can decide to run their businesses with less to hide, because it was unfortunate that not a single company had the courage to simply get interviewed at least once through out the movie.
Workers in the fast food industry face strenuous and inadequate conditions in their workplaces for little pay and long hours. Fast food chains purposely hire socially marginalized workers because they have limited skill-sets and are ideal contenders to endure such conditions. Meatpackers are frequently injured on the job; they suffer stabbings and lose limbs, as well as the sanitation workers who clean up after in the slaughterhouses. The employees in the restaurants experience poor working environments while the physical laborers risk losing their lives in such dangerous surroundings. Improvements are vastly needed in the fast food workplaces and actions can be taken to provide considerably better working circumstances such as enforcing stricter health sanitation laws, specific instructions for handling food, higher pay for workers, and safety regulations involving machinery.