The New Working Class

Source: Sarah Jaffe, New Republic, Vol. 249, no. 3, March 2018

It’s not just men working factory jobs in the Rust Belt—and it never really was….

…..There are problems with this image of the U.S. factory worker as he—and it is generally he—is depicted. First, in American factories, the workforce is far more diverse than the Rust Belt narrative would have it. The Carrier plant, site of Trump’s triumphant deal that, in fact, resulted in hundreds of workers still being laid off, had at least as many African American workers as white, and there were plenty of women laboring there, too. More important, those industrial workers who supposedly put Trump in office (a dubious assumption) have never made up the entirety of the working class or even its majority. These days, only around 11 percent of the working class are white men in industrial jobs.

Although the “narrative makers” may have missed it, the working class has changed. Those who used to occupy its fringes—hotel housekeepers, retail clerks, and home care aides—are now its majority…..