Two Janitors' Stories Illustrate Rising Inequality

In the past 35 years, American corporations have adopted a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest, according to an article on the New York Times website.

The approach has made companies more productive but it has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling.

The story of two janitors — one from the 1980s and the other present day — illustrates this change.

In the '80s, the full-time employee of Kodak received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.

The present day janitor is an employee of a cleaning contractor hired by Apple. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

Read the full article here.