html xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' xmlns:expr='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/expr'> Lounging at the Waldorf: Women's Work

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Women's Work



Since January, there have been an alarming amount of layoffs in the retail sector. Here's a snapshot of a few large chains cutting back:

Macy's - 4,350 jobs lost/68 stores closing

Staples - 200 jobs lost

Kmart - 109 stores closing

CVS - 70 stores closing

Sears - 41 stores closing


And here are some smaller chains shutting down forever and ever, amen:

American Apparel - 2,500 jobs/110 stores

The Limited - 250 stores

Wet Seal - 171 stores


But anytime there is discussion about job losses or gains in this country, it always seems to be focused on the auto industry.

I assume it's part mythology. The US becoming an economic powerhouse is intertwined with proper nouns like Chrysler and Detroit and Henry Ford. This was the post World War II flight to glory! The Wonder Bread days of the little former colony that bombed it's way to global dominance.

But I fear it's more about the stars of this myth: men.

Large amounts of men were paid incredibly well for fairly unskilled work. Of course there were engineers and accountants and all sorts of you-had-to-go-to-school-for-it positions at the top. But there were a lot more people on the factory floor who had these union strong jobs waiting them after high school just by virtue of being born the way they were born.

Men - first white men and then men of color when the industry was forced to integrate - could buy houses and raise families and send their kids to college. There was plenty of meat on the barbecue and everyone could retire knowing that the next wave of sons was going to do even better.

Then, as easily as it came, it was all taken away in part by Japan who, it turns out, didn't appreciate be unceremoniously bombed.

It also came to light that when nations don't have a bloated military to support, money goes to things like education which leads to more efficient businesses and product.

Hallo, Mercedes! Hej, Volvo! Konichiwa, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Kawasaki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Yamaha!

I have no facts (but who does these days?) but I would guess that most of the people losing jobs at the Limited and Wet Seal and Macy's are women. But who is sitting at the president's table? Transpor-goddamn-tation, where only 1/4 of the workforce is women and less than 9% are women of color.

Tesla. General Motors. Uber. Well, that is, until 200,000 people deleted their accounts in protest.

The only retailer on the president's economic advisory council is Wal-Mart and their relationship with employees is fairly delicate.

People love to reminisce about life before the closure of mines and assembly lines. But substantial amounts of women have lost their jobs in the last 30 days and no one is talking about it at all.

So I thought I would.


Sources
Macy's 1 - Macy's 2 - Staples - Sears/Kmart - CVS American Apparel The Limited  - Wet Seal - Women in the Automotive Industry


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