“The food movement has been slow to recognise the fact that worker rights and working conditions should be a key part of any discussion about the ethics of food. Reforms to the food system need to incorporate workers and their welfare, not just better farming practices, more humane treatment of animals, and other measures focusing on food as an end product. Food is also a process, and the people involved in that process have a right to fair treatment, something they don’t have currently. The continued marginalisation of farmworkers and the focus on other issues in the food movement speaks poorly of the movement overall, and reveals some telling attitudes about labour, race, and entitlement.”—Know Your Food System: Indigenous Farmworkers in California – this ain’t livin’
“Lower income for all women, particularly those of color, means less money to support their families with necessities such as housing, food, education, and health care. Closing the pay gap is even more important for women of color who are more likely than their white counterparts to be breadwinners. The long-term wage gap hurts families of color tremendously, forcing families to choose between putting food on the table or saving for a college education and retirement. On average, an African American woman working full time loses the equivalent of 118 weeks of food each year due to the wage gap. A Latina loses 154 weeks’ worth of food. The stubbornly persistent gender-based wage gap adds up substantially over the lifetime of a woman’s career. For women of color the loss of savings over a 30-hour-a-week to a 40-hour-a-week work lifespan is significant. A woman of color will have to live on one-third to 45 percent less than a white man based on the average benefits that are afforded through Social Security and pension plans. Research shows that a woman’s average lifetime earnings are more than $434,000 less than a comparable male counterpart over a 35-year working life. Analysis done in 2012 by the Center for American Progress illustrates that the money lost over the course of a working woman’s lifetime could do one of the following: --Feed a family of four for 37 years --Pay for seven four-year degrees at a public university --Buy two homes --Purchase 14 new cars Simply be saved for retirement and used to boost her quality of life when she leaves the workforce Lifetime earnings are even lower for women of color because they face higher levels of unemployment and poverty rates. In March 2013 unemployment rates of black [women] and Latinas were significantly higher than their white counterparts at 12.2 percent and 9.3 percent respectively compared to white women at 6.1 percent. According to the National Women’s Law Center, poverty rates among women, particularly women of color, remain historically high and unchanged in the last year. The poverty rate among women was 14.6 percent in 2011—the highest in the last 18 years. For black women and Latinas that same year, the poverty rate was 25.9 percent and 23.9 percent, respectively.”—Sophia Kerby, “How Pay Inequity Hurts Women Of Color,” Black Politics On The Web 4/9/13
Celeste had not has as much difficulties with her second pregnancy as with her first, but she had not realized how much of a headache life would become in the last months. Two months before the babe was due to arrive, she found she could barely endure standing for fifteen minutes at a time; chasing around an increasingly-energetic little girl was nearly out of the question. Now that Monsieur Pontmecy’s house was almost complete, she found she was foisting little Eleanor off on her father as much as she could; she did not even have the energy to feel guilty.
Before the month was out, the doctor decided to put her on bed rest as a precaution; so late in the pregnancy, no one wanted anything to go amiss. Though her ankles and back were grateful for the reprieve, Celeste herself was antsy. She could not endure being trapped in bed all day, even if she had a stack of books beside her. She had a growing child and a house to look after, and she was good at that.
Jean perhaps did not know how often she broke the doctor’s orders whilst he was away during the day.
When he was home, most of her time was divided between mending the clothes she had first sewn for Eleanor for the new babe—she had decided they could not afford a new wardrobe, nor did they need to be so wasteful even if they could—or else writing to her mother and sister and grandmother, and of course to her father as well. Her father! In reality, he was not so terribly far away, but it felt as though he was, indeed, on the other side of the world. He would of course not come until the babe was born, perhaps not even then, and she could not go to him. Yet her parents’ letters, and Aimee’s (which mostly had to do with little Phee these days) cheered her well enough, and Jean’s sweetness never failed to bring a smile to her face.
Near nine months gone, however, and Celeste was ready to endure the agony of childbirth again if it meant freedom. She of course wanted to meet her little babe (a son, she prayed), and to feel the same rush of overwhelming love as when she had first held Eleanor in her arms…
But she also wanted to resume her duties as wife and mistress of their home, and as a mother, for that matter. She was tired of being treated like a delicate invalid. Even Celeste’s goodness and patience had its limits.
“No, that waitress isn't flirting with you. Neither is the barista at your local Starbucks, nor the counter server at the Pret A Manger near your office, and you might be surprised to learn that the stripper at your local club doesn't have a deep fondness for you, either. Pretending to love one's work, to be overjoyed by the ability to serve you coffee or pizza or dance for your tips, is an integral part of the job for service workers. “Service with a smile” is expected from anyone who deals with customers, and as Josh Eidelson and Timothy Noah pointed out last week at The Nation and The New Republic respectively, sometimes low-wage service employers require much more. .... What Noah, Eidelson and Resnikoff mostly overlook is that this is deeply gendered labor, and its requirements are based on behavior that is expected of women beyond the workplace. Feminist sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild is credited in all three pieces with coining the term “emotional labor.” Hochschild has spent decades writing of the role such labor plays in the lives of workers, especially women workers. She co-edited with Barbara Ehrenreich the book Global Woman, which looked at the role of women, many of them migrant women, in the “new economy,” exploring the ways in which women's supposed skill at emotional labor leads to their exploitation as low-paid care and service workers. Much of this work has been women's work for decades, in some cases for hundreds of years. Noah comments that the increasing levels of emotional or affective labor involved in the American workplace is harder for men, but let's not forget that even in service workplaces, men make more than women. Women are 60 percent of the fast-food workforce and 73 percent of the tipped workforce—but women in restaurant work make 83 cents to a man's dollar.”—
I also wrote about emotional labor as women’s work for In These Times—bonus insights into my own years waiting tables.
watching the interview on MSNBC with the bartender who recorded the infamous Romney 47% video
can I say how much I fucking love that a working service person basically sank the Romney campaign.
I hate American politics 98% of the time, but man. Mitt walked right in, and instantly complained about the service not being fast enough. In turn, someone who was serving recorded the asshole and showed the world. Dude recorded it with a Secret Service agent hovering behind him.
POWER TO THE WORKING PEOPLE.