Reg Theriault and his book, "The Unmaking of the American Working Class".

Essay by anonymous82743University, Bachelor's December 2005

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Drawing upon his experiences as a veteran longshoreman and fruit tramp, Reg Theriault, author of "The Unmaking of the American Working Class", accurately describes the blue-collar culture and ethics that have defined America, and it explains why they are worth preserving in today's society. "The Unmaking of the American Working Class" tells the reasons behind the disappearance of blue-collar work in America today. This advocacy for blue-collar workers follows sentiments regarding the human worker as a mere machine to be ordered about as a being of science.

After reading selections of Theriualt's work, the connection between the jobs of the working class and the equally distasteful jobs of garbage men became apparent. Picking up trash is disgusting and degrading, yet some one must do it; just as there must be a working class, to help ensure the vitality of the economy. What is so poignant about the blue collar workers is that they all dream and hope for a better future, yet they never leave their stations.

These human workers differ from preconceived notions of the human mechanic because of the level of camaraderie that is established through similar lines of work. Instead of maximizing profit and being concerned with outputs, these blue collar workers join unions and fight for their rights as they see fit. However, they will not quit these jobs to try and better themselves, and ultimately are replaced with machines or underpaid immigrant workers if the unions are being too radical and demanding.

It is a balance the workers must be weary of: to exact the right amount of fairness from the employer against demanding too much and being replaced. Blue collar workers need their jobs and cannot afford to be replaced, so they must only demand so much. The unions can only take...