Archivo de la categoría: Empleo

Precarización del trabajo y capitalismo del siglo XXI

Alejandro Valle Baeza

Una madre mexicana cabeza de familia compró una casa en Zumpango, en las afueras de la Ciudad de México. Después de que esa casa fue asaltada en dos ocasiones, para su fortuna en su ausencia, y de que ella fue robada en el transporte hacia su trabajo; decidió vivir en un minúsculo departamento. Regreso a la urbe de la que ha poco antes había emigrado. Perdió todo lo que había pagado de la hipoteca de su vivienda y vio esfumarse un sueño.

Como ella millones de mexicanos viven en una pobreza sin esperanza, con trabajos arduos y exiguos salarios.   En muchas ocasiones trabajan estando enfermos pues sus patrones no les permiten faltar por enfermedad: ellos saben que si faltan “demasiado” podrán ser sustituidos fácilmente. Seguir leyendo Precarización del trabajo y capitalismo del siglo XXI

Dead Labor on a Dead Planet: The Inconvenient Truth of Workers’ Bladders

Kafui Attoh

“Once labor has been embodied in instruments of production and enters the further process of labor to play its role there, it may be called, following Marx, dead labor [. . .].  The ideal toward which capitalism strives is the domination of dead labor over living labor.” — Harry Braverman1

“[T]here are no jobs on a dead planet.” — Bill McKibben2

In a recent essay in New Labor Forum, authors Jeremy Brecher, Ron Blackwell, and Joe Uehlein urge the labor movement to take a more active role in the fight against climate change.3  Many unions, they lament, have been reluctant to engage the issue, and indeed others have actively taken positions at odds with the climate movement’s most basic tenets.  Where unions have been asked to choose between job security and the environment, many have understandably chosen the former.  In this fraught context, the authors argue that unions must not only work to reveal the “jobs versus environment” choice as a false one, but that they must do so by developing a climate protection strategy of their own.  Drawing on the example of World War II and the economic mobilization that surrounded it, they suggest that labor adopt a strategy involving large-scale government investments in sustainable transit, clean energy, and green infrastructure.  Not only would such a strategy put millions of people to work, but it would put them to work on precisely the jobs that matter for mitigating climate change.  In many ways, there is little in this strategy with which to disagree.  For labor, ignoring climate change can no longer be an option.  To quote Bill McKibben: “[T]here are no jobs on a dead planet.”4  At the same time — and especially given the analogy Brecher, Blackwell, and Uehlein attempt to draw between World War II and the climate fight — one cannot help but raise yet an additional question.  That question, which will be the focus of this essay, is on the labor process itself.  Drawing on the ongoing experience of transit workers in California’s East Bay, this essay asks the rather simple question: what might a climate protection strategy modeled on World War II mean for transit workers?

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