Book Review: The Big Squeeze

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The big squeeze : tough times for the American worker by Steven Greenhouse. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.

For MBA students, the news over the past decade has been good. Employment opportunities have increased. Executive salaries have risen sharply. Corporate profits have soared. But for millions of workers, the news has been bad. For many, wages have stagnated. Heath and pension benefits have been cut back. And job security has disappeared.

While the American economy, corporate profits and worker productivity grew robustly, the median income for nonelderly households remained flat. Worker productivity climbed 60% but the hourly wage increased only 1% after inflation. In the economic expansion, the size of the pie increased, but the worker did not get a bigger piece.

The Big Squeeze explains what has been happening in the workplace. Weaving personal stories of workers with economic facts and data, author Greenhouse, labor correspondent for the New York Times, creates a disturbing picture of the economic environment for workers.

Some of the stories of worker abuse are outrageous. Employees at Taco Bell, Wal-Mart and Family Dollar were forced to work unpaid hours off the clock each week. Circuit City fired 3900 senior sales people because their wages and commissions were considered too high. At RadioShack’s headquarters, 400 workers were fired in one day by email.

Greenhouse offers suggestions for government, business and labor to relieve the squeeze on workers.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “Book Review: The Big Squeeze”

  1. Paula Says:

    yet more comments.

  2. Carlton Says:

    A test comment. Is this book about boa constrictors?

  3. Meg Says:

    Good book.

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