Washington Post har en bra artikel om USAs nya arbetarklass . För 100 år sedan fanns det en liknande arbetarklass i Sverige. Sedan kom socialdemokratin och mot högerns konsekventa motstånd byggdes efterkrigstidens välfärdsstat upp.
Idag är Sverige på väg att avskaffa välfärdsstaden och införa det som högern en gång strävade efter. Men innan vi ger Reinfeldt allt det som han vill ha, så är det klokt att titta litet på den modell som han vill införa i Sverige, för den finns redan införd i USA. Grundbulten i dagens amerikanska samhälle är de s.k. temparbetarna som jobbar för svältlöner och som saknar sjukförsäkring och semester. Innan mina moderata vänner protesterar så får vi komma ihåg att artiklar som denna står på förstasidorna av USAs motsvarighet till DN, knappast någon radikal vänstertidning.
Phillip Hicks had loaded his rusting pickup and was heading to work one afternoon last year when his tearful daughter called from a pay phone. She had been pulled over for speeding, she told her father, and worse, she was driving with a suspended license. The police had impounded her car and left her by the side of a dusty highway.
To most workers at the sprawling Toyota plant where Hicks works, the detour to pick up his daughter would be a headache, no doubt. To Hicks, 40, it was considerably more. He called his employer to say he would be late for the swing shift. But since Hicks is a temporary worker, his daughter’s brush with the law became a permanent blemish on an already shaky employment record. Temps are allowed only three days off a year, and Hicks was coming up against that.
“They told me I had an attendance problem,” he sighed wearily, his soft mountain accent revealing his roots in coal country to the east.
Hicks is among the ranks of what economists call the “contingent” workforce, the vast and growing pool of workers tenuously employed in jobs that once were stable enough to support a family. In a single generation, “contingent employment arrangements” have begun to transform the world of work, not only for temp workers, but also for those in traditional jobs who are competing with a tier of employees receiving lower pay and few, if any, benefits.
The rise of that workforce has become another factor undermining the type of middle-wage jobs, paying about the national average of $17 per hour and carrying health and retirement benefits, that have kept the nation’s middle-class standard of living so widely available.
Hicks has spent four years as a temp worker building cars for Toyota Motor Corp., making manifolds and dashboards for Camrys, Avalons and Solaras sold all over the United States. He works alongside full-fledged Toyota employees who earn twice his salary, plus health and retirement benefits.