Blue collar workers beginning to feel the stress

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 13, 2000

The self-styled experts of the world have finally twigged to the fact that job stress is not exclusively possessed by those who wear white collars.

They have come to realize that the blue shirts of our day likewise have emotions and are subject to the same tensions that beleaguer the rich and famous.

We little people are delighted that our plight in this area has been recognized, finally, as a world-wide problem of epidemic proportions.

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The Associated Press reported recently that job stress is on the rise and is affecting those engaged in the most ordinary jobs.

They credited the U.N.'s International Labor Organization with discovering that waitresses in Sweden, teachers in Japan, postal workers in America and assembly line workers everywhere all are showing increasing signs of on-the-job tension.

The ILO notes further that pressure to keep up with machines, and no say-so about jobs and low pay for long hours have left millions of workers burned out, accident-prone or sick.

Add to this the frequency of the necessity for workers to cope with the growing practice of supervisors electronically monitoring performance by computer and you have another cause for increased apprehension.

The international organization estimates that the cost of job stress is the United States alone stands at

$200 billion annually.

Work pressure is so intense in Japan, they report, that the Japanese have coined a phrase for death by overwork: "Karoshi." A survey in the report says 40 percent of all Japanese workers fear they literally will work themselves to death.

One analyst says "blue collar workers face high demand, but have very little control and little or no autonomy in the way they can cope with the pressure."

Perhaps those in administrative positions will brainstorm among themselves and put their minds to reducing the demands put upon us in today's sweat shops.

As said earlier, while we little people are thankful that our situation has been brought to light, we would like to share in the formulation of the solution.

Thankfully, Greenville and Butler County appear to be unhampered by many of the vicissitudes that plague folks in the workplace globally.

Our local population appears from this vantage point to be a homogenous group, thank you, where the white and blue collars of society intermingle freely and on an equal footing.