Sunday, July 15, 2012

Americans don't holiday, update

Remember that Americans don't take vacations because they are collaborating in their own self-destruction; here is some new data from the OECD to confirm:

Link from Opinio Juris.  That pitiful blank spot on the far right is the US.  You can see the original chart and much more in a paper entitled "NoVacation Nation" by Rebecca Ray and John Schmitt [pdf].  Some highlights:

[W]orkers in the United States are less likely to receive paid annual leave and paid public holidays, and those U.S. workers that do receive paid time off generally receive far less than their counterparts in comparable economies.
... The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid leave. 
...In all countries many employers offer, usually as a result of collective agreements, public holiday entitlements over and above statutory minima.  ... in the United States, almost one in four workers there has no paid leave and no paid public holidays at all.
...lower wage workers are less likely to have any paid leave (69%) than higher-wage workers (88%); part-timers (36%) far less likely to have paid leave than full-timers (90%); and workers in small establishments (70%) are less likely to have paid leave than those in medium and large establishments (86%).
For low wage, part time, and small business workers in America, life is a relentless grind.  NC had a post recently by Alternet's Lynn Parramore on "Pain and Bondage in the US Workplace," which uses the recent fascination with Fifty Shades of Grey to describe how Americans, so exercised about freedom, willingly submit to increasing repression when it comes to contracting out their labor:
Americans are supposed to be people who love freedom above everything else. But where is the citizen less free than in the typical workplace? Workers are denied bathroom breaks. They cannot leave to care for a sick child. Downtime and vacations are a joke. Some – just ask who picked your tomatoes – have been reduced to slave-like conditions. In the current climate of more than three years of unemployment over 8 percent, the longest stretch since the Great Depression, the worker has little choice but to submit. And pretend to like it.
Parramore recalls the 60s, when unions and progressive national policies tempered repression in the workplace, but as we know most of that came to a screeching halt with the Reagan election.  Three decades later plenty of Americans who have suffered the stagnant wages and stripped benefits that characterize life in the contemporary American workforce continue to support the policies and politicians that ensure and increase their submission, while reviling both unions and federal regulatory policy as assaults on freedom.  That is perplexing.

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