Lisa Dodson

Lisa Dodson is a professor of sociology at Boston College. 

Recent Articles

The Work Around

How some supervisors of low-wage workers break the rules
to make an unfair system a little bit fairer.

(Ellen Weinstein)
Even though Andrew, a manager in a large food business in the Midwest, and his wife together make a decent income, he's preoccupied by the issue of low-wage labor. Many of the workers in his food company, he explains, make "poverty wages," and he is affected by all the troubles they bring with them to work. "I pad their paychecks because you can't live on what they make," he says. "I punch them out after they have left for a doctor's appointment or to take care of someone. ... And I give them food to take home." He talks about the moral dilemma of employing people who can't take care of their families even though they are working hard. Apparently this was something Andrew couldn't pretend was OK. He came to the decision to "do what [he] can" even at the risk of being accused of stealing. Andrew has a moderate income, health insurance, and a career ladder, but he spends most of his days dealing with the complications that wage poverty causes in his employees' lives, despite how hard...