How Big Is the Fissured Workplace?
By David Weil
RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences,
When I was working on the manuscript for The Fissured Workplace, I sought a term to capture the profound business restructuring that was emerging in a variety of industries. Those changes included but were not limited to the offshoring, outsourcing, and use of staffing agencies that led to work characterized by low wages, noncompliance with core workplace statutes, limited benefits, more contingent employment, greater risk exposure, and weakened bargaining leverage for workers in general.
I purposefully chose a somewhat obscure geologic term as the metaphor for this fragmentation to highlight that the practices associated with fissuring arose from a more fundamental change in how businesses structured themselves beginning in the 1980s. In this article, I discuss the challenges of measuring the extent of the fissured workplace and provide a conservative measure of it.
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