worker

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Worker

An employee or one engaged in an activity that makes money. In left-wing circles, the word especially refers to employees who earn wages (as opposed to salaries) and/or those in blue collar professions.

worker

a person employed by an organization to perform a JOB or work tasks either on a paid basis (as an employee) or on an unpaid basis (as, for example, a charity worker).

Traditionally, paid employees have been categorized into two groups of workers:

  1. manual workers, i.e. those working mainly with their hands. Although manual workers may be engaged in service occupations such as pavement sweeping, the dominant image of the manual worker is that of an employee engaged in production in a factory Often these workers are referred to as blue-collar workers because their physical working environment is such that (blue) overalls are necessary;
  2. non-manual workers, i.e. those who can be said to work with their heads rather than their hands, providing administrative services rather than directly creating material goods. As with manual workers, the term is somewhat artificial: some non-manual employees, typists for example, require considerable manual dexterity White-collar worker is an alternative term in common use, though it tends to be applied mainly to clerical rather than managerial or PROFESSIONAL employees. White-collar workers are so called because their apparently favourable working environment makes a light-coloured shirt or blouse practical work wear, and because smart clothing is often viewed as appropriate dress for work of this type and status. In sociology ‘black-coated worker’ has also been used to refer to clerical workers because a sober, dark jacket similarly has been seen as essential work wear.

Although these categorizations are somewhat imprecise in terms of the type of work performed, there is often a clear difference in the conditions of employment (see CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT) associated with each. Those workers classed as non-manual tend to have more favourable conditions (for example, better holiday entitlements) than manual workers (see STAFF STATUS).

The difference in working conditions between the two groups has been thought in the past to give rise to two distinct sets of attitudes. Manual workers were thought to subscribe to COLLECTIVISM and to a confrontational view of their relationship with their employer, whilst non-manual workers were thought to be more individualist (see INDIVIDUALISM) in their attitudes and to adopt a deferential approach to their managers. Though always an oversimplification, the picture has become more complex in recent years with the apparent spread of individualism amongst manual workers and the growth of highly repetitive, routinized clerical work, leading, some say to the ‘proletarianization of white-collar work.

Probably the most widespread popular image of the worker is that of a male employee employed in factory work. However, this image is now a long way out of step with reality. Only 25% of the UK labour force are now employed in manufacturing, with a corresponding growth in services in recent years. In addition, there has been a large increase in the number of women workers, with the result that nearly half of the employed force is female. In the UK, the employment of males in full-time manufacturing jobs has been steadily replaced by the employment of females in PART-TIME, service sector jobs. See DISCRIMINATION, ORIENTATION TO WORK, TEMPORARY WORK, WHITE-COLLAR UNION.

References in periodicals archive ?
The statistics issued by the National Centre of Statistics and Information (NCSI) indicated that the number of male expatriate workers reached 1,442,177 while the number of female expatriate workers reached 189,383.
The latest statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) indicated that the number of male workers among the expatriate workforce reached 1,416,162 while the number of female workers reached 187,996.
One of the great myths of the immigration debate is that American workers will not do the types of jobs currently being filled in large part by illegal immigrants.
According to the report, three in every four building industry workers both live and work in New York City, including 72 percent of all construction workers.
Workers' Compensation (WC) laws are designed to ensure that employees who are injured or disabled on the job are provided with monetary awards.
Early on, whichever form the activity took, the black workers behind it were fired, blacklisted and attacked by police, militia and mobs.
If he seems like a throwback to an era when members of the working press identified with other working stiffs, that's because he remembers an American economy where workers expected that, if they did their work well and their employers prospered, their jobs would not be in jeopardy.
This qualitative research project investigated male blue-collar workers' understanding of health determinants, gender issues related to health, and workplace health promotion.
If Congress' current proposals for immigration reform pass this year or next, would they help the immigrant workers now doing reconstruction on the Gulf Coast?
Now a study by a team of Nordic researchers of cancer risk among dry-cleaning workers in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden finds that, with the exception of bladder cancer, exposure to the solvent showed no link to the disease [EHP 114:213-219].
But a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research questions the conventional wisdom that competition from immigrants invariably hurts native workers.

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