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Physically, the job is extremely demanding and the women Ehrenreich works with often take pain medications to ease the pain of performing their duties.The last place Ehrenreich moves to is Minnesota, where she believes there will be a comfortable balance between rent and wages.
For instance, most of the places she worked had policies against the employees speaking to one another, which she thought was an attempt to keep employees from airing their dissatisfaction and attempting to organize against the management.
Low-wage workers typically have very few options, little education, and transportation problems.
She is starting to learn the hidden costs of being poor.
With no health insurance to see a doctor when health issues first arise, those who are uninsured can end up with significant and costly health problems.
, journalist Barbara Ehrenreich conducted ethnographic research to study what it’s like to be a low-wage worker in the United States.
Ehrenreich took an immersive approach to her research: she worked in low-wage jobs, such as food service and housecleaning, in order to better understand these workers’ lives.
At the time of her research (around 1998), roughly 30 percent of the workforce in the United States worked for an hour or less.
Ehrenreich cannot imagine how these people survive on these low wages and sets out to see first-hand how they get by.
Second, she had to take the highest-paying job that was offered to her and do her best to keep it.
Third, she had to take the cheapest accommodations she could find, with an acceptable level of safety and privacy.