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Another Portland Blog

Monday, September 11, 2006

 

The plight of the college grad

"For a generation, blue-collar workers have suffered while their economic lifelines were shredded. First manufacturing jobs and the unions that helped make their workers middle-class disappeared, then wages dropped and corporate managers came to see benefits not as a reward for loyal work but as a cost to be cut. All through this, the country was told that a college degree or other high-level skills training would allow a worker to escape the degrading spiral down, and provide a lift up.

Now the security of a white collar is unraveling, too. Pension coverage for college-educated workers dropped to 60.7% in 2004. It had been rising steadily throughout the 1990s. The health-insurance crunch has hurt, as well. The percentage of college-educated workers with job-based insurance has sunk to 68.5%—down from nearly 80% in 1979.

No wonder that the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, summarizing the results of its Labor Day poll, put it this way: 'Americans believe that workers in this country are worse off now than a generation ago—toiling longer and harder for less in wages and benefits, for employers who aren’t as loyal as they once were, in jobs that aren’t as secure, and in a global economy that might well send their work overseas.'"


An excerpt from an op-ed written by Marie Cocco for the Washington Post last week. Speaking as someone with a degree that makes his living asking "how may I help you?," the article brought a tear to me eye, it did. Yarrrr. The rest can be found here, since a direct link to the Post would require a password.

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