Tuesday, September 19, 2006


More On Barbara Ehrenreich's New White Collar Union

Barbara Ehrenreich was inspired by her experience writing Bait And Switch to found a group to help white collar workers. Using as her model the women's movement of the 1970's, she envisioned the group as both a forum to air the grievances of white collar workers, and as a meeting place where members could share their experiences and lend each other support. The new group is named United Professionals, and its chairman is Bill Holland, a former HR executive and the author of a book entitled Are There Any Good Jobs Left? Holland expects the group to establish chapters in all fifty states within a year, and anticipates that it will reach its most proactive constituency through the Internet.

Ehrenreich believes United Professionals may eventually grow strong enough to lobby Congress for universal health insurance and mandatory severance pay for laid-off workers. "Our employer-based health insurance system doesn't make any sense," she says. "It may have made sense years ago to have health insurance attached to one's job, but nowadays one's job is not attached to you. So when you lose your job, there goes your health insurance."

The author of the Times article coyly suggests that United Professionals may serve as a vehicle for the authors involved to sell their books, as several of its leaders have written on work-related issues, including Tamara Draut, author of Strapped: Why America's 20- And 30- Somethings Can't Get Ahead, as well as Ehrenreich and Holland. That's okay, even if it were true. We at the White Collar Warrior see nothing wrong with a little self-interest mixed in with the altruism. After all, Christian evangelists blatantly enrich themselves through the word of God, and conservative pundits like Bill O'Reilly make no secret of their stellar book sales.

With dues of $36.50 a year, or only ten cents a day, United Professionals certainly seems worth the expense of joining. In addition to lobbying for health insurance and providing support to its members, United Professionals will provide legal and financial advice. Sounds good to me!

"From Author, Help for White-Collar Workers " from the New York Times (Registration required)

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