Wednesday, October 11, 2006

White-Collar Workers Unite!

Barbara Ehrenreich and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have joined forces to create United Professionals, a nonprofit networking agency for “unemployed, underemployed, and anxiously employed” white-collar workers. The idea for the organization grew out of the research for her latest book, "Bait and Switch." Ehrenreich, intending to covertly enter and expose the degrading and volatile world of corporate employment, spent nearly a year searching for a job through websites, networking events, career coaches, only to discover it was worse than she thought.
This organization is for "the 20-somethings who come out of college with an average of $20,000 in debt and are stuck in low-wage jobs. And this is not what they expected with a college degree. The other group is people in their late 40s and beyond who find that they are suddenly judged as too old to be in the work force.”

The goal is to form a voting bloc, or at least a coalition of interests. “It’s not just a matter for the poor, the chronically poor,” Ehrenreich explains. “The insecurity and instability of the middle class is part of the picture and we want those middle-class people to see that things like universal health insurance and a better safety net are in their immediate self-interest. I think we can build a majority movement for economic justice in this country."

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