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Deteriorating Working Conditions In Us Essay

986 words - 4 pages

During the past year we have devoted a number of blogs to discussing working conditions, as they currently exist in China, specifically at the Foxconn plant used to manufacture several Apple products. We’d now like to turn our attention to the rapidly deteriorating working conditions in the United States; first by enumerating briefly what we’ve already learned are contributing factors to unhealthy work in the U.S. and second by contrasting, combining, and complementing this knowledge with what is currently going on – for better or worse – in different workplaces across America.

So, what do we know contributes to or constitutes an unhealthy workplace?

For a very long time (over a ...view middle of the document...

These changes in work organization, in turn, give rise to psychosocial stressors such as job strain, effort-reward imbalance, emotional labor, threat-avoidant-vigilant work, organizational injustice, as well as increased demands in the form of long work hours, contingent work, shift work which increase stress and can lead to chronic illnesses, including mental and physical health problems. Psychosocial stressors play an important role in promoting CVD risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension. Many of these work stressors are especially prevalent among drivers (bus, taxi, and truck) as well as health workers who are exposed to noxious combinations of long work hours, intensification of work, inadequate training, lack of support and emotional labor leaving them prone to anxiety, burnout, depression and hypertension.

The psychosocial work environment has only recently begun to be acknowledged as a serious risk to worker’s health. The psychosocial work environment refers to the interaction between the individual worker and various aspects of the work environment. The primary way researchers have looked into this subject has been to examine the way work is organized – e.g., how hard one has to work (i.e., the workload), the amount of control a person has over how their work gets done, whether a person experiences injustice or unfair treatment at their workplace, has employment security, works long hours or in shifts, etc. When a worker perceives threats at work this can create a stress response which, over time research has found, can cause increasingly deleterious effects on one’s health.

For instance, Karasek’s Job Strain Model posits that employees in jobs that are high in demands and low in control (high strain) are likely to experience stress which results in deleterious health. Research has shown that jobs characterized as “high strain” over time put a physiological strain (e.g. increased blood pressure) on workers that can result in a range of serious and chronic physical health conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders, hypertension,...

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