The Council on Contemporary Families just released the 5th edition of Unconventional Wisdom. This collection of plain-English research abstracts and ideas has pieces you’ll want to know more about, some you’ll argue with, and many that will, as the title suggests, surprise you. This is a heads up to you: don’t miss this nice work, a volume edited by Stephanie Coontz and Joshua Coleman.

Two pieces grabbed my attention. Sociologist Wendy Manning from Bowling Green State University wrote about premarital cohabitation and divorce risk. Old news = cohabitation was associated with higher odds of divorce. New news = that stuff about cohabitation and divorce is old news. In particular, writes Manning, “when we looked at couples married since 1996, we found that this older association no longer prevails. For couples married since the mid-1990s, cohabitation before marriage is not associated with an elevated risk of marital dissolution. In fact, among a subgroup of women facing the greatest risk of divorce, cohabitation with definite plans to marry at the outset was tied to lower levels of marital instability.” Check it out. 

Meanwhile, in a grounded, empirical, and de-facto retort to recent much-ado about mothers and the dignity (or not) of work, demographer Suzanne Bianchi (UCLA) reports that “Mothers today work during pregnancy more often and return to work much sooner after the birth of a child than did mothers half a century ago…. More dramatic [is] the change in the speed at which women returned to work after the birth of their child…. By 2001-03, 42 percent of such mothers were back at work three months after the child’s birth. The majority of first-time moms (55 percent) were back at work six months after the birth, and almost two-thirds (64 percent) had returned to the job by the child’s first birthday.”

You see, the “dignity of work” that Mitt Romney talked about a few years back is beside the point. So is the notion that we need to honor women’s choices. Work and family are about all of us, and not special category for women, or women who are mothers, or whatever. It is just not that optional nor is it about character or values nearly so much as about culture. If there are puzzles about work and family, they aren’t about women, the puzzles are about how we structure work, and how we support families. Keep looking for the evidence, like that provided by Bianchi and Manning, and you’ll see that unconventional wisdom gives us the new conventions.

Virginia Rutter

The Council on Contemporary Families recently released a virtual symposium entitled “Is the Gender Revolution Over?” In it, CCF fellows from around the United States offer their commentary on a discussion paper prepared by David A. Cotter, Joan A. Hermsen, and Reeve Vanneman. The press release, which I wrote with CCF co-chair Stephanie Coontz, offers a summary of key findings.

So, what do Cotter, Hermsen and Vanneman see as the status of women and the gender revolution? Key findings include:

  • A SLOWING OF WOMEN’S ENTRY INTO NEW OCCUPATIONS AND POSITIONS. Barriers to women’s opportunities in traditionally male jobs have declined since the 1960s-for example, the 1970s and 1980s saw a 20 percentage point increase in women managers. Yet during the next two decades there was only a five percent increase in women’s representation in management. Working-class occupations are nearly as segregated today as they were in 1950 and have become more segregated since 1990.
  • MORE EDUCATIONAL DEGREES FOR WOMEN, BUT CONTINUED SEGREGATION OF COLLEGE MAJORS. In some fields, women have even lost ground since the mid 1980s. In 1970 only 14 percent of computer and information sciences degrees were granted to women. By 1985 women’s share had increased almost threefold, to 37 percent. But by 2008 women accounted for only 18percent of degrees in the field.
  • SOME SIGNS THAT THE RAPID CHANGES IN TRADITIONAL ATTITUDES TOWARD WOMEN BETWEEN 1977 AND THE MID 1990S HAVE COME TO AN END. From 1977 to 1996, the percentage of people who believe women are less suited to politics than men fell by half, to around 22 percent. However, despite the attention to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, there’s been no change over the past two decades, and almost one-fourth of Americans still hold this view. In addition, since 1994, there has been some slippage in support for egalitarian marital arrangements.

Cotter and his colleagues conclude that “the gender revolution has not been reversed,” but “it is stalled on several fronts – and there is still a long way to go.” Other scholars provide different points of view on the subject. An index to responses can be found here.

COHEN, GALINSKY, JONES: LOOK AT THE LABOR MARKET University of Maryland demographer Philip Cohen elaborates on the minimal progress women have made in management, in “What if Women Were in Charge?” and points to the long-run implications for working women. Work and Family Institute President Ellen Galinsky argues that men’s support for more egalitarian family practices has not stalled, in “Gender Evolution Among Employed Men.” She suggests, however, that the transformation of family life may yet stall if we do not abandon our work-centric definitions of masculinity and develop more family-friendly workplaces.

Labor market researcher Janelle Jones of the Center for Economic and Policy Research notes in “Divergent Revolutions for Blacks, Latinos, and Whites” that there is a smaller gender wage gap among African Americans and Latinos than among whites. But she notes that this is partly because men have been losing ground in the workforce.

MORE RESPONSES: GAINS IN SOME AREAS, STALLS IN OTHERS In “No Stall in the Sexual Revolution,” Indiana University sociologist Brian Powell link draws on his research on American attitudes about family diversity to document the remarkable expansion of support for gay and lesbian couples and families during the past decade.

But that leaves two other scholars–Paula England from New York University and Barbara Risman from University of Illinois-Chicago-presenting different viewpoints on what has and has not changed.  In “In Sex and Romance, Not So Much Gender Revolution,” CCF senior fellow Paula England notes several trends in personal behavior that remain remarkably resistant to change. But CCF executive officer Barbara Risman is more impressed by the radical transformation in girls’ self-confidence in “The Beat Goes On.”

In “Revolutions Seldom Revolutionize Everything,” CCF co-chair and Evergreen State College family historian Stephanie Coontz also sees the hangovers from the past that England and Risman discuss. She goes on to explain that the movement for gender equity has become more complicated now that sexism is no longer a monolithic system, imposed by outright exclusion and legal enforcement of inequality. In their rejoinder Cotter et al concede that a real revolution has occurred but note that counter-revolutions, or at least reversals of gains, are not uncommon.

Check out the dialogue. And weigh in with what you think.

Virginia Rutter

 

This is a brief dispatch from teaching sex. I’m teaching a sociology class at Framingham State University this semester called Sex/Sexualities in Society. Students in my class also are enrolled in my colleague Bridgette Sheridan’s history class History of Gender, Sexualities and the Body. Together these courses are part of an innovative linked learning community called “The Making of Sexualities.” Who says you can’t do sex every day?

Monday night we had a video Skype class with my colleague, Marie Bergström, who studies online (heterosexual) dating in France. Marie is from Sweden, and is completing her doctoral research in Paris. My awesome students were riveted by the topic, and by connecting across continents about sexual politics. If I could summarize, we learned that there are sexual double standards in France and in Sweden, but they aren’t the same. Ditto for the US. Last week read an article, “Casual Hookups to Formal Dates: Refining the Boundaries of the Sexual Double Standard,” about hooking up on college campuses and found the same thing: Even as we are long beyond the sexual revolution, and even though men and women experience new kinds of freedoms to have sexual desire, they end up following distinct rituals in order to manage sex-specific sexual stigma and opportunities. The learning community is fundamentally a critique of essentialism and heteronormativity. But as we read and dialogue, we have a basic puzzle: why the persistence of the sexual double standard? We just read Mary Wollstonecraft in my classical theory class; she raised the issue over 200 years ago, but it still isn’t old news.

Next week, Pepper Schwartz is coming to FSU—she’ll talk to professors, meet with students, and she’ll address the entire campus about sex across the life cycle, with the fun title “From Viagra to Hooking Up: The Sexual Life Cycle.” It will be a big day for Framingham State University. And it will be great to hear what Pepper has to say about the sexual double standard across the life cycle—and over the past four decades since the sexual revolution suggested the end of all that.

-Virginia Rutter

 

Some nice work of my own: The second edition of The Gender of Sexuality: Exploring Sexual Possibilities is out!  Pepper Schwartz and I wrote it in the 1990s, and revising it focused our attention on how sex has changed in a decade+. Here are three examples:

In 2012, same-sex marriage rights have changed dramatically. In 1998, we thought that same-sex marriage was here to stay in the U.S…. but noted that much of the population wasn’t going to like it. At the time, Hawaii had had their flirtation with same-sex marriage rights, Vermont was working on theirs, and Pepper was busy testifying in a number of these cases. Today, a majority of the population believe same-sex marriage rights should be equivalent to cross-sex marriage rights, with each generation becoming increasingly accepting of marriage equality. Six states and the District of Columbia have marriage rights, yet 33 states have laws or constitutional amendments that are “Defense of Marriage Acts” asserting marriage must be between a male and female. The debates have continued to be ugly (such as the experience with Proposition 8 in California and the unspeakable and silly positions of our political candidates) but the change is definitive, and if we have a third edition down the road, I predict marriage equality will be law of the land.

In 2012, gender differences in sexual freedom have become a lot more subtle. In 1998 we said “the more things change the more they remain the same” with respect to gender. What we meant was that women had benefited a lot from the sexual revolution–and had an increased amount of sexual and social freedom relative to some remote past. So, by the 1990s, a young single woman’s (like a man’s) having ever had sex did not, in general, affect her reputation, but her having had, say, more than five partners was judged more harshly than a man’s being known to have done the same. Studies continue to show gender difference in sexual experience, but the numbers change and there is more diversity by subgroups. Think of the issue of pleasure. When we looked at research on hooking up from the past decade, studies showed how in college “hook ups” men were more likely to have an orgasm, or receive oral sex, if it is a first hook up. But as more hook ups occurred, women in such encounters experienced pleasure more often. Could be an issue of skills. Could be an issue of reticence. Things have changed. But the persistence of a gap has remained. I often write about how gender inequality is sneaky; part of the sneakiness is that sometimes when one gender gap narrows, a new one opens up….

In 2012, transgender statuses are much more in the public consciousness. In 1998, we gave the most sparing attention to transgender people and transgender experiences. A decade later, we were stunned to see this lapse in our own book. The transgender experience in the US and across the globe continues to be challenging. But transgender experience is no longer an “exotic outlier” that few people have heard about or recognize the value of understanding. The debate over rules in Canada’s “Passenger Protect” program (think U.S. “no fly” practices) that stipulate that people must appear to be the gender (by which they really mean “biological sex”) indicated on their identification makes the point. On the one hand this appears to be an insane regulation even for those who don’t strictly identify as transgender. It is particularly hostile to those who are transitioning, or who don’t intend to medically transition, but live as one gender while being another biological sex. On the other hand, the dialogue, which you can see in the Washington Post or Huffington Post or many blogs dedicated to trans themes, foregrounds a wider public consciousness (if not perfect understanding) of the issues than we saw in the 1990s.

And that is just the first couple of pages of the book! I hope you’ll check it out.

Virginia Rutter

The Council on Contemporary Families co-chair Josh Coleman sent the following note about the CCF’s awesome, highly affordable media workshops they are giving online. I gave the first one last Thursday (you can listen to the podcast for free). I’m biased, but it is a super-practical and efficient series! If you feel moved, share the info about the series with colleagues.

From Josh–

Here’s what people are saying so far:

CCF’s Teleseminars on Working with the Media are a must for anyone interested in spreading the word about their research. I attended the first event featuring Virginia Rutter and she gave targeted tips for media planning in a very accessible and engaging manner. The advice on how to figure out what you want from the media, how to tap resources to help support these goals and how to develop a timeline and get the work done was particularly beneficial to someone new to working with the media. I expect more excellent advice from the remaining seminars!

Sarah Damaske, Author of For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work

I had no idea I’d come away from the Teleseminar on Making a Personal Media Plan with so many specific, practical suggestions – plus some sound advice about how to communicate nuanced ideas to the general public and enlist journalists to the cause. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

Ashton Applewhite, Writer

I learned so much from the first webinar in the CCF media series: Virginia Rutter demystified the process of working with the media, by giving us tangible steps, concrete examples of success and insights into how best to collaborative with journalists. The workshop was accessible and extremely useful, both for media “novices” and those with considerable media exposure. It reinforced my belief that the best people to teach researchers about how to interface with the media are other academics who have done the same! I will definitely be signing up for the remaining workshops in this series!

Amy Schalet, author of Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens and the Culture of Sex

Go here for more information or to register.

Josh Coleman and Stephanie Coontz
Co-Chairs, Council on Contemporary Families

Virginia Rutter

GWP welcomes Sarah Damaske, an assistant professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations and Sociology at the Pennsylvania State University and author of For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work (Oxford University Press, October 3, 2011). Her remarkable new study of moms and work, described in detail in her new book and below, goes far in separating myth from fact.

A judge presides over the case of Kate Reddy, a working-mother. Her crimes: not knowing her daughter’s preference for broccoli and indulging her children with expensive Christmas presents. This poignant nightmare from Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, now a major motion picture starring Sarah Jessica Parker, deftly portrays Kate’s fears that she will be considered a bad mother.

A hedge-fund manager, devoted wife of an architect and mother of two, Kate works at a high-stress and high demanding job. Before her youngest turns two, she has left the firm and moved to the country where her husband will be the sole breadwinner. Kate’s story is a commonly told one about middle-class women’s choice to “opt-out” of the workplace due to the pressures of combining work and family.

But this story does not accurately portray the average working-mother who leaves work.

In my research with eighty women living in New York City in 2006-2007, I discovered that it is working-class mothers who are more likely to interrupt their careers and often face prolonged periods out of work, as they move into and out of the labor market in search of a good position. Working-class moms have a harder time cobbling together childcare so working outside the home has to be worth the effort—meaning jobs that provide benefits, the promise of promotion, a fair wage, and the respect of employers (characteristics often lacking in the service sector jobs these women most often found themselves in).

Turns out that most middle-class mothers are “doing it”—weaving work and motherhood. In fact, the movie version of the book has changed the story to show Kate staying at work in the end. Women with higher education and higher-status jobs benefit from more than just their larger incomes, they typically have more “social capital,” including an insider’s understanding of the ways that the workplace functions and connections to people who can help them find jobs. These resources make it easier for middle-class women to stay in the labor market when faced with a bad job because they are connected to networks that can help secure better employment. Rather than opting-out of the workforce, per the fictional Kate, many of the middle-class moms that I met switched jobs (sometimes multiple times) in an attempt to balance home and work.

All of the mothers who participated in my study, whether or not they worked, shared Kate’s fear that someone would sit as judge and jury to their crimes of imperfect motherhood. This pressure to be good mothers did not lead women to leave work—in fact the majority of women in my study, like the majority of mothers nationwide, work. But it has led to a common response when women are asked to justify their decisions about work.

Whether the decision is to stay home or go to work, the majority of women justify their work decisions as being made for their families. Women who work explain that labor market participation fulfills their families’ needs. Cynthia, a working-mom married to a husband earning six figures, explained that she stayed at work, “so I could make all the extras and everything for [my kids].”  Those who leave work explain that they, too, make their decision for their family. Virginia, a stay-at-home mom whose husband is unemployed, said she left work to “be home for the kids,” although she only left work when a new boss reduced her job flexibility and publicly belittled her. These responses allow women to emphasize behavior they believe is acceptable, such as decisions made to care for family and to minimize behavior that might be seen in a negative light, such as taking advantage of a job opportunity or finding disappointment at work.

Cultural expectations about selfless motherhood lead women to say they make work decisions for their family and continue to drive the public discourse about women’s work. Ultimately, the talk of middle-class women’s choice or working-class mothers’ financial need to work constrains our public consciousness, pigeonholing women’s work as selfishly chosen or unrewardingly forced. Instead, my research suggests that women examine the possibilities that lie before them and make decisions that they believe best for themselves and their families.

The woman who “chooses” to leave work because her financial resources allow it is a red herring. She draws attention away from the real issues that all women, even fictional Kate, face in the workplace: a lack of workplace flexibility, few childcare options, few sick days, and little parental leave. All women would benefit from policies that addressed these concerns, but we also need to focus our attention on creating better work environments for working class women so that these women, too, can find the respect and fair wages that will lead them to stay at work. Creating better work environments will mean more women will stay at work and that stability will be better for mothers, families and the economy in the long run.

Sarah Damaske


Call Center/Wikimedia Commons

Last Thursday in downtown D.C. I joined a large crowd of union members from Communications Workers of America–members of many other unions were there, too, in solidarity. And, after 45,000 workers had been in strike for two weeks, on Saturday, as reported by Steve Greenhouse in the NYTimes, things changed a little bit:

Leaders of the unions that have been on strike against Verizon Communications announced on Saturday that they were ending the walkout even though the two sides had not reached an overall settlement for a new contract.

For now, no more picket lines. Workers start back tonight (evening shift) under their old contract. Reports say the negotiations will continue to be contentious. At the picket line I listened to speakers who focused attention on the experience of call center workers and some of their concerns.

Unless you are a customer service or call center worker yourself, there are a few things you might not know about the job, but they will help you put the Verizon strike into focus. And might help you recognize how punitive, short-sighted, and, well, disgusting, the stance of Verizon towards its own workers is.

Call center work is very stressful. I’m not talking about the stress workers experience from occasionally cranky, impatient, or rude callers. As my sister-in-law Shannon says, they call it “work” for a reason. But call center work has become like an “electronic assembly line” complete with extensive digital surveillance, monitoring, and measurement–especially measurement of those things that are easy to measure. Workers are scheduled literally every second of their work day, with very tight bench marks for how long they are staying on a call, their sales quotas, et c.

The dilemma is well described on a “working at Verizon” Jobitorial website. A worker in Tennessee writes,

My main complaint with the company is that there is no fine line between customer service and performance measures. You can’t help a customer when you have too keep calls a certain length every time so that you can meet your calls per hour, and working in financial services, you have to collect money on the account too.

What’s harder to measure are things like stress response–but these conditions produce stress responses like illness and excessive turnover–which influences bottom line and, dare I say it?, quality of life.

Ten years ago the Verizon workers’ union, the Communications Workers of America, negotiated a stress reduction package to create a “win-win” solution around the high-cost of stressed out working conditions. To reduce stress, workers were guaranteed up to 30 minutes per day to follow up on paperwork and to call back customers over their open cases. Workers and the company both feel better when they are empowered to deliver good quality service for the company. If a worker was doing her job well, she was guaranteed a limit to how frequently her calls were monitored.

There are many more details to the stress reduction package, but you get the picture. The stress reduction package was negotiated based on the premise that workers who are less stressed are more productive. Productivity numbers aren’t available, but the rate of turnover in non-union call centers is 100 percent; the rate at stress-reduced call centers is much, much lower, per CWA research economist Debbie Goldman. And company profitability has been outstanding (see below).

These are a few examples of the one hundred items that Verizon has sought to strike from the Verizon workers’ contracts. There’s no rationale, no discussion provided.

I focus on the scenario for the call-center workers today because these workers are disproportionately women–68 percent according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. These workers have limits on mandatory overtime (that is, when an employer unilaterally requires extra work hours)–absolute limits, but also the right to say no when they have a family reason–things like childcare or elder care responsibilities. Verizon wants to rescind these limits. The CWA had previously negotiated the ability of people to take personal time off for a few hours, such as when a child is sick; this too is on the chopping block. Don’t even ask about health insurance or leave policy.

On August 19 the CWA released a statement: “A recent analysis by Morgan Stanley shows that Verizon’s net income from ongoing operations was $13.9 billion in 2010. That’s up more than 16 percent from 2007.” They asked “Then why is this very profitable company demanding cuts in compensation of $20,000 per worker per year?”

So, yet another case of corporate greed. That’s disgusting. But going down the list of demands from Verizon, the cuts to quality of life, stress reduction, and just simple, professional respect for workers, that is not just disgusting, it is shameful.

To support these workers, go to Verizon Strike Donation site.

-Virginia Rutter

Earlier this month, I went with my Framingham State University colleagues Bridgette Sheridan and Lisa Eck to the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Society, and Culture (IASSCS) conference in Madrid. We each gave papers related to “Raising Awareness about Heteronormativity.” We applied research and theory to teaching and campus activities that challenge essentialism and de-center gender and sexuality. It was cool. I’d love to tell you all about it.

Thing is, if you aren’t at an international conference on sexuality, you might say, “what is heteronormativity?”

Well, here’s a big hint from a text I encountered yesterday (via Tyler Cowen):

The existence of a nuclear family is to a large extent dictated by nature. According to Aristotle (Politics, Book1 part 2) “there must be a union of those who cannot exist without each other; namely, of male and female, that the race may continue (and this is a union which is formed, not of deliberate purpose, but because, in common with other animals and with plants, mankind have a natural desire to leave behind them an image of themselves)”. However, families are also economic units that share consumption, coordinate work activities, accumulate wealth and invest in children. Indeed, Aristotle adds that “The family is the association established by nature for the supply of men’s everyday wants”.

Heteronormativity refers to the norms that underpin the notion that men and women are complementary and “cannot exist without each other”; that their union is natural—“not of deliberate purpose”–and, by inflection, ideal. It involves the claim that men’s and women’s “natural desire” towards one another is about leaving “behind them an image of themselves.” Think of a wedding ceremony of fifty-year-olds that incants that the function of marriage is to procreate. That is heteronormative.

The problem isn’t with hetero, hetero is grand; the problem is with naturalizing and idealizing hetero above any other. You have the elision of a social and political form, like marriage, with a natural form, like male and female, vagina and penis, and an ideal form, like a sacrament of marriage, that empowers those who believe biology is destiny.

There are consequences. When a perspective naturalizes social relations–like marriage–it renders power relations invisible by using phrases like “it’s natural” or “obviously.” In this quotation about family economics, the authors evoke a natural order of things between men and women that establishes de facto wiggle room for accounting for inequalities that persist within (and beyond) families. The authors aren’t ruling out same-sex marriage, they are just working from a model of heterosexual marriage that sets the “norm.”

You might have speculated that the passage above came from a 1950s essay by sociologist Talcott Parsons… or a 1970s discussion from Gary Becker… but it is the opening passage of a book, set to be published by Cambridge University Press, titled Family Economics. The elite scholars who wrote it open with a reference to the natural (male and female seek each other) before they propose to examine the economics of their natural arrangements.

The title of the IASSCS conference was Naming and Framing: The Making of Sexual (In)Equality. Concern with framing and theory sometimes seems removed from battles for social and sexual justice. But labeling heteronormativity helps us to name and re-frame paradigms of the powerful. It means we can call out “high theory”—like that from these economists–when it uses poetical rhetorical flourishes to engage and endorse essentialism. That’s why we’re raising awareness about heteronormativity.

-Virginia Rutter

Pepper Schwartz and I are just wrapping up the 2nd edition of our book The Gender of Sexuality. My favorite part? Analyzing the changing status of men in sex scandals. And lo and behold, here’s a  sample of what we have been thinking about posted at CNN.com.

(CNN) — Whoa! I know more about Rep. Anthony Weiner’s private business than (I pretend) I’d like to know. Not just the bulging gray underpants, but also the understanding that all the texting, tweeting, and online lurid repartee is really about… what, masturbation? TMI, right?

One of the biggest developments in American sex scandals in our recent past is the rise in just this sort of “too much information.”

Read the rest at CNN: you’ll see how TMI has become a tool for making men look foolish without doing anything to modify the sneaky gender inequality that persists  in our social and sexual arrangements.

-Virginia Rutter

 


Here’s some useful evidence that unions matter for women’s upward mobility. But quality of life is about security and justice as well as economics, and Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center on Economic and Policy Research, explains how so in a recent Guardian post, “Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the union maid.”

Fact is, DSK attacked a member of a labor union. She has protections that U.S. workers without a union do not. Without the protection of a union, would she have had the confidence to come forward? Here’s how Baker poses the question:

Housekeepers are generally among the lowest-paid workers at hotels, often earning little more than the minimum wage. It is a high turnover job, meaning that any individual housekeeper is likely to be viewed as easily replaceable by the management. If this housekeeper did not enjoy the protection of a union contract, is it likely that she would have counted on her supervisors taking her side against an important guest at the hotel? Would she have been prepared to risk her job to pursue the case?

This is no outlier. Today, the New York Times reports about a similar attack at another “high end” New York hotel:

The supervisor of a housekeeper at the Pierre hotel was suspended on Tuesday after she failed to report to the police the housekeeper’s complaint that she was sexually assaulted by a prominent Egyptian businessman, causing a 15-hour delay in the investigation.

As Baker mentions via a link to this New York Times article without union protections, hotel housekeepers recognize that they  “simply have to accept sexual harassment and even sexual assault as “part of the job”.

Baker has another agenda in his article worth noting.

The IMF has also urged western European countries to eliminate or weaken laws that prevent employers from firing workers at will. These laws, along with unions, are seen as “labour market rigidities” that prevent labour markets from operating efficiently.

So, workers can get fired at will. It is only “efficient.” Where’s the bias? Dean Baker is reminding us that hotel housekeepers can tell us.  You think efficiency arguments and “textbook” economics don’t serve the interests of power? Do the math.

Virginia Rutter