Why the Fissured Workplace Is Bigger Than the
Contingent Worker Survey Suggests
By David Weil, 5.14.19. Originally appeared in the The American Prospect as part of a section entitled “The Future of Real Jobs: A Prospect Roundtable,” with contributions by Robert Kuttner, John Schmitt, Heidi Shierholz, and David Weil.
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 offshoring, outsourcing, and the 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 because I wanted to highlight that the practices associated with fissuring arose from a more fundamental change in how businesses structured themselves beginning in the 1980s.
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