The Sociological Imagination
By Nathan Morrow
I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave
In the article, the author( of the article) went to work in an Amalgamated packing factory as a Temp worker to investigate the conditions that the workers were placed under. Receiving minimum wage, she worked anywhere from 10.5 hours to 12 hours a day with only two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break. The conditions were deplorable, demoralizing, physically damaging, and unfair. For example the author writes," I feel genuinely sorry for any child I might have who ever asks me for anything for Christmas, only to be informed that every time a "Place Order" button rings, a poor person takes four Advil and gets told they suck at their job." This quote was representative of physically damaging and demoralizing conditions on the factory floor. Miserable conditions existed everywhere in the factory. In the book section, static electricity from the shelves were incredibly strong. In the entire factory, the scanners the employees use make high demands of the temp workers. The author consistently made less than 60% of her total goal. And se was a professional, not a novice packer off the street. Unfortunately, the job was sometimes the only one they could get, and not everybody could even get the job. A supervisor said to the author that there were 16 people waiting for her job. Even worse, there was a 20 year old worker in the factory. There wasn't even time for him to go to college and he might have not even graduated high school! In the end, the author just left work without telling anybody, exept for another temp worker, and left to write the exposé over the mistreatment in the factory to hopefully make a change in society.
The broader issues raised in the article are workers' safety, poverty and jobs, and minimum wage. Workers' safety is an issue, as is made evident in the article. The author of the article even wrote that the supervisors warned about on the job injuries. Poverty and jobs because many of the people at the factory were either leaving a worse job or didn't have their old jobs anymore. Minimum wage is the last issue because not many people can survive on minimum wage.
The author was literally demonstrating one of the facets of empathy. She is also trying to draw attention to the conditions these workers are facing just to survive and to make people empathize with them.