Employers from Goldman Sachs to the Golden Arches have relaxed or abandoned dress codes. Silicon Valley tech employees are famous for their hoodie sweatshirts and grey t-shirts. Sales of neckties and business suits are at all-time lows. Hourly wage jobs that used to enforce a bland, a clean cut middle-American uniformity, now allow staff to wear piercings, beards and tattoos.
Dress codes that allow casual and idiosyncratic clothing might seem to suggest a more relaxed and playful attitude toward work. But they really reflect the expectation that employees spend their nights and weekends working. …
In September 1945, a little-remembered frenzy erupted in the United States. Japan had surrendered, ending World War II, but American meat packers, steelworkers, telephone installers, telegraph operators, and auto assemblers had something different from partying in mind. In rolling actions, they went on strike. After years of patriotic silence on the home front, these workers, along with unhappy roughnecks, lumberjacks, railroad engineers, and elevator operators — some 6 million workers in all — shut down their industries and some entire cities. Mainly they were seeking higher pay — and they got it, averaging 18% increases.
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