Home » Archives » October 2008 » #129:What About The Polo Shirt Collar Class?

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10/16/2008: "#129:What About The Polo Shirt Collar Class?"

Music: Reverend Glasseye & His Wooden Legs
Mood: wondering

When the economic crisis of 2008 trickles down to every part of the economy and the average consumer will be forced to reduce their spending, I fear there will be massive layoffs in the polo shirt sector of the economy. What is the polo shirt collar class, you may ask? If you have to wear a uniform and/or a nametag to work for a large corporation that pays you and most of your fellow workers minimum wage or barely just above, you are a member of the polo shirt class.

Polo shirt class workers are too often treated as interchangeable parts by their employers and abused by their customers when the good or service they want is not available or to their satisfaction. According to an article at Politico by Louis Soares, thirty million Americans, or twenty-five percent of the American workforce, work in what I define as the polo shirt collar industries. Soares says that this is the fastest growing section of the economy-but the article was written last month.

If a quarter of the American workforce is employed in industries where they sell goods and services mostly to people who work at other stores, what is going to happen when people have to cut back on their spending? The large corporations that run these stores will look at their declining sales and start cutting back on hours or eliminating jobs altogether. This is componded by the fact that the people who work in the polo shirt industry normally have to work more than one job to not make ends meet.

We have a Presidential election coming up and I have yet to hear from either of the major party candidates what they plan to do to help the average polo shirt collar worker. My natural inclination is to say why even bother to think that the government is going to look out for anyone except those with power and influence? Is it too much to ask to assume that any elected official cares, let alone wants to help? If that is truly the case, then the only way to get better working conditions for the polo shirt collar workers is to make your opinions known to the businesses you shop at, and threaten to boycott them if they do not improve them. At this point we seem to have two votes: our political one and our consumer one. While government can step in, the only way to really get a corporation to listen is to threaten to take your business elsewhere. It has worked lately in terms of getting coporations to become "greener," why not do the same and get them to respect their workers?

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