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Location: Santa Ana, California, United States

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics and an admitted diet fanatic. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of two interactive workbooks, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual and Diet With An Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook, she also publishes a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge and various weight loss mini-courses. She can be reached at http://www.DietWithAnAttitude.com/index2.html, http://www.UnemploymentBlues.com, or http:www.VirginiaBola.com.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Changing Face of American Work

Corporate restructuring has been in the news recently, quietly sandwiched between stories on the war, the corruption in Washington, and the Enron trial.

Both Ford and General Motors plan to close down manufacturing plants and lay off 60,000 workers. The American auto industry is unusual in that every production position supports jobs in supply, components, and is the primary fuel for local economies. Experts estimate that as many as 460 secondary jobs are generated by every 100 auto industry positions (Source: Washington Post, 01/26/06). If that figure is correct, the changes at Ford and GM will result in the actual loss of 276,000 jobs!

The UAW is reeling. Decades of hard bargaining have fallen by the wayside as the competitive pay and benefits of the industry shrink to a level unthinkable 30 years ago. The new US plants opening up for Japanese manufacturers are non-union, all organization attempts stiffly resisted.

It is a much bigger picture than corporate change - it is societal restructuring. The power shift is away from the long-established middle-class backbone of our culture to the multinational conglomerates that can strengthen their bottom line by outsourcing to the lowest overseas bidder and to the bloated oil companies with their obscene record profits. More than that, it is an international restructuring where the wealth of the developed nations flows towards the emerging economies of the third world. It is a balancing act of a million different needs on a planet of finite resources.

Perhaps eventually we will see a more equitable world where capital and labor are evenly divided among all the earth's inhabitants. But the process is painful. Our goal of equality for all always envisioned our helping others to climb up, not preparing ourselves to slide down.

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