Harassment IncentivesThe truth is that Dominique Strauss-Kahn's past sexual assaults were covered up not because the women he assaulted "had something to lose" but because the women he assaulted did not belong to a labor union. Think about this as Republicans continue to assault unions in the US. These political ideologues are destroying an institution that gives the powerless one small bit of power to fight back against the immensely powerful.
Penelope Trunk:These women have nothing to lose when they report men who cross the line sexually. So the maid reported. And then, it turns out, all sorts of women in higher up positions spoke up against Strauss-Kahn. The women wouldn’t report the harassment on their own. They don’t want to suffer retribution. But now there will be no retribution, so it’s safe to come forward.On the other hand, Steven Greenhouse reports that various kinds of harassment and assault of hotel maids are extremely common. Is it true, after all, that a maid has “nothing to lose”? Perhaps that would be true if the economy operated at a permanent full-employment state. Even if you did get fired, you could find some other hotel to clean in. But when unemployment’s 9 percent it seems to me a low-wage worker has a huge amount to lose. Unless she’s represented by a strong labor union, which was the case for the maid at the Sofitel in question.
This is why men are going to focus harassment at the higher ranks of the corporate ladder. These are the women who have to keep their mouths shut if they want to keep climbing the ladder.
But God help the guy who harasses a women with nothing to lose.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Matthew Yglesias on the Power of a Union
Here is a post by Matthew Yglesias on his blog at Think Progress that makes it clear just how a union empowers people: