Status of Labor, Jobs to Change in 1990s

By Morrow, Darrell | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 1, 1990 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Status of Labor, Jobs to Change in 1990s


Feature Editor Another Labor Day is approaching - the 96th since the day became a holiday to honor the American worker.

Laboring and the jobs at which each worker labors is an integral part of his or her life. Work represents status, identity, self-esteem and a pay check traded for the fruits of the worker's labors.

Oklahoma economists and labor experts generally agree that the status of labor and jobs in the 1990s will be much different than the 1980s.

Times are changing, tools are changing and job standards are changing quickly on almost every job in today's work place.

Views on the status of labor in the 1990s were solicited from Dr. Larkin Warner, regents professor of economics at Oklahoma State University; Craig Knutson, economist for Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.; David Carnevale, professor of public administration at the University of Oklahoma and former 14-year veteran union executive; Chalmers Labig, associate professor of management at Oklahoma State University; Ross Williams, president of the Oklahoma AFL-CIO Union; Dr. Ray Alonso, professor of strategic management at University of Oklahoma; and Will Bowman, research specialist with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Labor challenges of the 1990s - Key challenges in the 1990s are predicted to be:

- Providing enough quality jobs in Oklahoma.

- Increasing productivity to be competitive on both a national and international level.

- Education of workers to keep stride with technology.

"Whether you are talking about unions or management, the key is going to be high productivity - watch your P's and Q's," said Knutson.

"Organized labor will not be growing in the 1990s. If you are not going to increase your productivity, you are not going to be able to compete. Education and OJT (on the job training) are going to be very important.

"It is going to be imperative in the '90s that you are going to have to be terribly articulate and terribly literate just to follow the instructions," he said. "I don't believe in high tech jobs. I believe every job has high tech in it. Everyone is going to have to be articulate and literate enough to operate those tools.

"The decade of the '90s is going to be very competitive. What we are competing against is a terribly well educated world population - our business population is well educated, that is."

Knutson noted that the Hispanic and Black growth rates into the work force "are going to be two to four times the rates of whites."

"Education is absolutely paramount to achieving that goal of productivity and quality," he said. "We've got a large group entering the force in the '90s that historically have not had high education achievement levels and that could cause problems in the 90s."

"The biggest challenge is to have an economy that is creating enough jobs so we don't have a population decline," Warner said.

Williams said he considered labor's challenge "the same thing as that of the chamber of commerce - to bring jobs to Oklahoma - quality jobs. What needs to happen for that to take place is what's been in the press lately - that we have quality education in Oklahoma."

"We need to have decent workers compensation benefits and unemployment benefits - most people unemployed never qualify for it," he said. "We need a better system to take care of those that lose their jobs."

Bowman said workers must be prepared to adjust to changing jobs.

"The challenges will be finding employment and obtaining the necessary training to keep up with technology," he said. "The working public will have to expect to have changing careers more often and upgrade training more often. Workers unemployed, for whatever reason, will have to go into other fields, which of course, will require other training.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Status of Labor, Jobs to Change in 1990s


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?