Steven Greenhouse, in a new book entitled "The Big Squeeze," reflects upon the tough issues facing American workers. In the past 20 years, corporate profits have soared and worker productivity grew apace, while wages have stagnated. In the economic expansion that began in November 2001, corporate profits have doubled, but average wages have increased by only 2 percent. As Greenhouse notes, "this may be the first time in American history that the typical working household goes through an economic expansion without any increase in income whatsoever."
As a result of the changes in both the public and private sectors, American workers today face a variety of threats. Aggressive managers desperate to trim costs use tactics reminiscent of the sweatshops of a century ago: locking workers inside shop floors or not allowing them to take bathroom breaks, harassing workers who attempt to unionize, refusing to pay overtime for additional hours or, even more egregiously, altering workers' time sheets. Then, of course, there is the threat that many jobs will be outsourced to countries like India or China, where companies can pay lower wages. There are companies that replace salaried workers with temps or contractors to avoid paying benefits.
The legal profession is no exception. Note the explosion of the temporary staffing industry and our stagnating wages, in red: