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Job Quality and Black Workers Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Sep 25th, 2021

Greater numbers of black residents live in New York, Los Angeles, and the metropolitan areas of Chicago. These are the key cities in which the best results and statistics could be obtained when analyzing job quality and the black residents of the United States. However, the inclusion of the San Francisco Bay Area was for the update of earlier research (Pitts 2). The research comes to the conclusion that black residents are faced with two crises; low-wage employment and unemployment.

The report chose to concentrate on the low-wage employment and the invisibility of the black working poor. The black worker works in very important areas in the country, some of which the country could not do without. Despite all these, many of these jobs do not pay well and often lack some very important benefits like health insurance and retirement benefits. These jobs also don’t have basic protections like unions to protect employees from employers’ arbitrary decisions. Some blacks are even forced to choose between basic amenities since they cannot afford all of them, like gasoline and childcare among many more or they result in multiple jobs in order to cater for all their bills (Pitts 4).

Many of the blacks in low-wage employment are employed in key industry sectors which include the retail market, hospitalities among other sectors. In 1999, 60.8% represented the working age of black residents who were employed either part-time or full-time.

During that year, a third of the black residents who were employed worked in low-wage employment. The report also shows that 56.5% of all black workers in the United States employed full time or part-time were in low wage employment and a similar figure also showed in the four regions under consideration. Low-wage employment has been linked to part-time employment but this does not hold true for blacks because two-thirds of all black workers in low-wage employment worked full time.

The black community’s portrayal of the job crisis is a clear indication of high unemployment. The report portrays that in the working-age population incidences of low-wage employment nearly match the incidences of unemployment. This calls for the establishment of policies not only looking into unemployment but also low-wage employment. 40% of all black workers are working in three sectors namely retail trade, manufacturing, and social health assistance.

These compared to the national task force represent 11.1% while the rest are whites. Mainly blacks are underrepresented in construction, wholesale trade, and mining. Large numbers of these blacks work for low wages in the retail industry. This calls for policymakers to come up with mechanisms that will address wage improvement in certain sectors not including the retail industry and others (Foner 79).

The report has identified key areas that need to be addressed. The first is to do away with the policies concentrating only on unemployment and come up with new policies focusing on both low-wage crisis and unemployment. Secondly, it has been noted that improving job quality for blacks will transform the industry. Lastly, due to globalization, there is a reason to concentrate on industries that generate high levels of low-wage black employment (Pitts 28).

It also has come up with areas that efficient policies responses are required to address the job quality of black workers. It points out that there is a need for unionization to better transform low-wage work into better quality jobs. This will ensure that the workers are protected from low wages because under unions workers are well paid and they are also obligated to union membership. The report also points out the need for labor law enforcement. These laws improve the welfare of the workers and also the job quality of workers in various industries (Pitts 29).

Setting effective job training programs will improve the levels of black residents of working-age being unemployed. With the support of policymakers, they should come up with a program for public sector jobs focusing on youths and young people who are incarcerated. The policymakers should make plans for clear equity criteria by targeting regional sector economic development.

Works Cited

Foner, Philip (1982). Women and the American labour movement New York: Free Press, 77-89.

Pitts, S.C, (2008): Job Quality and Black Workers: An examination of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Centre for Labour Research and Education, UC Berkeley. Pg 1-30. Web.

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