WashU Experts: Wingfield offers advice to labor department

Be cognizant that neoliberal policies can cause stress, inequality and depressed wages

Adia Harvey Wingfield, professor of sociology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, specializes in research that examines how the intersections of race, gender and class can affect social processes in the workplace. She offers advice to the Trump administration’s Department of Labor:  

“I urge the Department of Labor to be mindful of the myriad challenges facing workers in a neoliberal economy where worker protections are becoming increasingly rare. Work has changed so much over the past half century, often in ways that increase employees’ stress and uncertainty; exacerbate economic, racial and gender inequality; and depress wages.

“Labor secretary nominee Andrew Pudzer has personal and professional ties to Wash U., and is spoken of highly by some members of our community who know him personally. Given that, I hope that he will utilize these ties to avail himself of academic experts and researchers who can show him data-driven studies about contemporary work and labor issues. In particular, there is an abundance of research documenting the specific challenges facing women, racial minority men, and workers of all races who are employed in the growing number of ‘bad jobs’ that offer low wages, few benefits, little autonomy and no job security.

“I hope Pudzer will take note of available research that offers reasonable policy solutions for eliminating, rather than worsening, these work-related issues. Establishing paid sick and parental leave, penalizing employers for wage theft and investing in public- as well as private-sector work are just a few ideas that many experts agree could provide more stability and equity for working Americans. If Pudzer is, as described, truly an advocate for workers who wants to foster dialogue, I encourage him to capitalize on his Wash U. connections to begin a conversation about how to make America work again.”

Read more “First 100 Days” messages at Election2016.wustl.edu.

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