Stiffing the Working Class: Welcome to Third-World America

Stiffing the Working Class: Welcome to Third-World America

Stiffing the Working Class: Welcome to Third-World America

Stiffing the Working Class: Welcome to Third-World America


A blue-collar factory worker shares with the reader his personal journey over three decades of manufacturing in America. Cutting corners and cutting wages may goose the bottom line briefly, but over the long term they destroy employees' ability to get the job done. Anecdotes from the contemporary manufacturing world expose management's utter disrespect for workers, from unsafe and unsanitary work conditions, to low pay, lack of job security, and the use of illegal immigrants."


Even when the disinfectant in the air was strong enough to burn the eyes, the underlying stench it was intended to conceal was almost enough to make a person vomit. It was my least favorite place in the plant but, unfortunately, it was also the only direct path to maintenance supply.

The bare plywood walls were dreary and depressing. the floor was always damp and usually slippery. Cracks throughout the dingy and faded linoleum exposed damp plywood, adding the smell of mold and mildew to the other repulsive odors brewing in the dingy passageway. the homemade door, which was nothing more than a piece of warped plywood on hinges, never closed properly, allowing the heat and humidity of southern Georgia to seep into the non-air-conditioned corridor, adding yet another dreadful element to the already almost unbearable conditions.

This was a disgrace I would never have dreamed existed anywhere in 21 -century America, not to mention in a food manufacturing facility. This was a disgrace that could easily qualify as the oxymoron of all oxymorons: a makeshift so-called “restroom facility” that was nothing more than a homemade plywood shanty elevated on 4 x 4 stilts and squeezed onto the side of the building, next to the trash compacter, that housed an almost endless row of odor-producing portable toilets—or to put it in proper oxymoron context, indoor outhouses.

This demoralizing excuse for a “restroom” was used by employees in the outdated “old facility.” I was fortunate enough to be assigned to the brand new cook facility next door. So I only had to walk through this repulsive place when I needed something from maintenance supply. But even though we had luxuries like real, flushable toilets in the cook plant . . .

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