Casualization: A Primer

ragged_dick_frontispiece_coates_1895This is for those who don’t yet understand, not for those who have lived it.

Casual employees have never been treated well. They come and go with a shrug on the parts of institutional executives. Organizations know that they need a certain number of permanent employees they treat well in order to maintain the cohesion of the enterprise and to manage the casuals. They want to keep that number as small as possible, preferring nothing but casual employees who could be hired and laid off as needed. The types of those employees considered mandatory did grow over the 20th century, but that was because of employee unions and, in part, because growth is the nature of bureaucracy.

Over past decades, this growth has slackened (as has union power). The new ethos of a gig-economy has thrown us back to management models where workers are almost immediately replaceable. They are of too great an expense to be considered for permanent employment and perks. Digital possibilities and increasing (and often forced) uniformity of task allow a replacement employee to step right in when someone leaves, never missing a beat.

Read the rest at: Tenure for the Common Good.

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