Readers React

The new normal in employment: underemployment

To the editor: The labor picture of long-term unemployment, part-time employment and underemployment for a significant population of workers could well be the new normal. ("Freelance workers a growing segment of California economy," Aug. 2)

Corporations are benefiting from this situation, as it keeps labor costs low. Along with outsourcing, spinning off less profitable company divisions and relocating headquarters overseas, it increases profits and stock values.

In this environment, even the employed are afraid to change jobs, which keeps employers in the driver's seat and wages stagnated.

Without a paradigm shift, there will be no incentive for change.

Erwin Anisman, Rossmoor

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To the editor: Your article ignores an important issue in this matter: illegal immigrants.

Citizens and other people legally entitled to work are forced to compete for some jobs with illegal workers, driving down wages and making it impractical for employees to complain about unsafe working conditions, wage overtime violations or other injustices. Employers love this situation because it gives them tremendous leverage in dealing with employees, and most labor unions seem to have been neutered in dealing with this issue.

If politicians and labor unions truly cared about the plight of our legal unemployed and underemployed workers, they would aggressively address the issue. Instead, they prefer to talk about raising the minimum wage, which won't solve the problem.

Don Smith, Torrance

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