New York Times labor and workplace reporter Steven Greenhouse will appear at UCSB tonight to introduce his newest book, “The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for The American Worker.”
The free lecture, which will address issues such as weakening job security and employee mistreatment, is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall.
According to Greenhouse, concerns over how the nation’s workforce is treated have existed long before the recent fiscal crisis exposed them to the public eye. These issues, he said, are the backbone of his book and will be the predominant focus of tonight’s lecture.
“The reason that I wrote the book was that many Americans, including policy makers in Washington, were not paying attention to what was happening to the nation’s workers,” Greenhouse said. “There really has been a squeeze on workers for years and years. Only with the recession coming now have people realized, but really, things have been bad for much of this decade.”
Greenhouse will also appear alongside Ann Louise Bardach (an investigative reporter) and Peter Dreier (director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College) in a panel discussion entitled “From Main Street to Wall Street: What News Gets Reported and What Does Not.” The panel will be held in the UCen State Street Room at 1 p.m. tomorrow and will center on how economic news is reported by major media outlets.
Greenhouse began his career at the New York Times in 1983 as a business reporter. Since 1995, he has focused his writing on decreasing wage trends, unlawful child employment and the mistreatment of workers by well-known corporations such as Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us.
Nelson Lichtenstein, a UCSB history professor and co-sponsor of the event, said that when it comes to labor and workforce expertise, Greenhouse reigns.
“He is the foremost labor and employment reporter in the United States,” Lichtenstein said. “I mean, he’s published thousands of articles in the New York Times, been to almost every city and state. He is, by far, the most knowledgeable and active reporter in America’s most important newspaper firm.”
According to Lichtenstein, Greenhouse’s depth of knowledge and experience enable him to connect with a diverse audience.
“Although he reports on immigrant Latinos and chicken factories, he also reports on the kind of jobs that UCSB graduates will get — whether that be an assistant manager position at a retail store or working for a government agency,” Lichtenstein said. “He can appeal to everyone who works for a paycheck.”
The talk, Greenhouse said, will be particularly important for students entering the work force since the current generation faces far more obstacles in the job market than their predecessors.
Annika Shultz, a fourth-year sociology major, said she is excited to hear Greenhouse’s opinions on recent graduates entering the working world.
“It’s going to be hard to get a job, even with my degree,” Shultz said. “I’m looking forward to hearing his perspective on the economy and the advice he has for college students looking to integrate themselves into the workforce.”
Similarly, Chris Gavin, a UCSB career counselor, said Greenhouse’s lecture should help ease the shock of converting from college to a career.
“I think that there are just a lot of choices and a lot of uncertainty,” Gavin said. “Uncertainty with economic trends, with education and with what you can actually get when you graduate with a Bachelors degree. [Students] don’t have either the resources or the experience, which makes the transition to the work world a difficult one.”