Working-Class Perspectives

WCP: Why Trump will lose Ohio

October 26th, 2020

After Donald Trump won Ohio in 2016 and Republicans swept statewide elections there in 2018, Ohio seemed to have moved firmly to the right. But as Jo…

WCP: What Can Workers Expect from Amy Coney Barrett?

October 6th, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States poses a difficult question: does her faith commitment as a Roman Catholic preclude an interpretation of the law that is responsive to concerns of the working class?

WCP: The Unsettling

September 28th, 2020

The wildfires in the West add one more disruption to working-class lives in 2020. People have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and their loved ones.

WCP: Essential Work: The 2020 WCSA Awards

July 13th, 2020

At the center of all the chaos and turmoil of 2020 has been the essential worker on the front lines—from healthcare workers treating those infected with COVID-19 to service workers of all kinds who have kept us fed, supplied, and safe while putting their own safety at risk, all too often in jobs which are precarious and underpaid. Working-class life, experience, and precarity have has perhaps not been more central or important in recent memory.

WCP: The Downwardly Mobile: How Some People Lose Class Privilege

June 30th, 2020

In the U.S., the expectation of upward mobility has begun to seem like magical thinking. Few Americans move up the social class ladder, and quite a few fall a few rungs down from the status their parents achieved. In Working-Class Perspectives this week, sociologist Jessi Streib looks at some of the factors that contribute to downward mobility.

WCP: Universal Basic Income and Working-Class Futures

June 22nd, 2020

There have been few good things to come out of COVID-19. We’ve seen a genuine sense of community spirit emerge along with greater respect for blue-collar workers in the front line. In the UK, we’ve seen another less obvious shift: an emerging commitment to the idea that all citizens within a country should enjoy a basic minimum income.

WCP: Deindustrialization as a Template for COVID-19

May 18th, 2020

As we wrote in Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown, Youngstown’s story is America’s story. That’s true now as we try to imagine American life after the pandemic. No doubt, coronavirus is a natural disaster that is more contagious, widespread, and deadly than the economic disaster of deindustrialization.

WCP: “People Ain’t Gonna Come to Work if They Don’t Feel Safe”

May 11th, 2020

For many essential workers, the coronavirus pandemic presents an impossible choice: earn a living by risking your life or stay healthy but lose your income. In this week’s Working-Class Perspectives, Christopher R. Martin shares the view from Iowa, where meatpacking plants have high rates of infection.

WCP: Fishing Industry Workers Struggle to Beat Long Odds

May 4th, 2020

In recent weeks, we’ve heard increasing concerns about how the pandemic is affecting the workers who feed us, from farmers to grocery clerks. But we’ve heard very little about the fishing industry or its workers. Usually, reports on fishing focus on tons of catch, not the workers who bring it to market.

WCP: May Day 2020: Workers in the Pandemic Time

April 27th, 2020

In most years, workers around the world celebrate May Day with marches, usually led by labor unions and the political parties and allies that support them.  But as Wade Rathke writes in this week’s Working-Class Perspectives, May Day 2020 probably won’t be remembered for marches but for the struggle and sacrifice of workers, many newly understood to be essential, others newly unemployed. The fragility of work in an unequal global economy has been laid bare in this season of the pandemic, but workers are also organizing and winning both greater respect and, in some cases, better treatment.