As we are all aware, America has pretty much lost most of the high-paying, stable, manufacturing jobs with benefits and simultaneously has also seen much of its white collar workforce outsourced or off-shored. As a result, many Americans have agreed, under duress, to become part of the under-employed yet over-committed part of the work-force known as "part-time" with required "on-call" availability.
This arrangement often requires the employee to indenture their off-the-clock lives as a cog in the employers machine. Employees have become just one more facet of "just-in-time" inventory, a concept which at one time was limited to the inanimate products on the showroom floor and not to the human inhabitants of the workplace.
The concept of "lean and mean" staffing has become the paramount employment philosophy in our service economy, taking the literal meaning of the two descriptive words to the level of absurdity. "Lean" staffing means maintaining a skeletal work force just barely adequate enough to function, which is supplemented by the "mean" workers - those who are desperate enough to subjugate their entire lives to the capricious and mean demands of their employers to abrogate any hope of a regular schedule, and hence, a regular and ordered life, one that might involve school or family or additional employment to supplement their current meager wages.
This Dickensian idea of labor deployment and compensation is finally getting some long-delayed attention:
Representative George Miller of California, the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, plans to introduce legislation this summer that would require companies to pay their employees for an extra hour if they were summoned to work with less than 24 hours’ notice. He is also proposing a guarantee of four hours’ pay on days when employees are sent home after just a few hours — something that happens in many restaurants and retailers when customer traffic is slow.How does an enlightened society tolerate these Draconian and inhumane business practices which rob employees of the ability to have a life, to get supplemental employment or to take classes to improve their lot in life? - all the things they are exhorted to do in order to get ahead in life by the finger-wagging promoters of the long dead Horatio Alger myth that those who work hard will get ahead.
Who will speak up for the abused American worker who accepts one sided employment bargains like these jobs because they are often the only game in town?
There is a super discussion of working under these conditions in the comments section of this Gawker article also well worth reading.