The Healthcare Confidential Podcast | Episode 42 "The Next Shift with Gabriel Winant" Theresa Jacobellis |
Gabriel Winant is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Chicago. His writing about work, inequality, and capitalism in modern America has appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, Dissent, and n+1. His new book, “The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America,” examines the link between deindustrialization and the rise of low-paying healthcare jobs through the lens of Pittsburgh in the decades since the decline of the steel industry.
Healthcare and social assistance account for 14 percent of the labor force in the United States. And it is a sector that has grown exponentially, particularly among the lowest paid. Today, low-wage healthcare workers, deemed essential, often work more than one job to make ends meet. During the pandemic, this resulted in many of them becoming unintentional virus vectors as they went directly from one facility to another.
The Take-Away: Gabriel believes that as long as healthcare is privatized and profit-driven, there will be a class of healthcare workers, primarily women and people of color, who struggle to live on their earnings and who lack the social capital to organize for better working conditions and wages. He advocates for policy change that elevates these healthcare jobs to a level that provides its workers with a living wage.
Learn more: Purchase Gabriel’s book, “The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America,” at your local bookseller or from its publisher, Harvard Press.