Friday, June 11, 2010

Interview Questions

When did you first come to America and why?

What about America did you like that made you want to stay here?

What is your typical day like?

What do you like most about your position?

What things do you like least about it?

What challenges have you faced being an international worker?

What rewards do you think you got from being an international worker?

How many languages do you speak and how do you feel they’ve been helpful in your work?

Do you feel that in your work experience that everyone gets completed equally among people form different backgrounds? That there were no bias or discrimination?

Among the teachers in CUNY system do you think everyone is treated fairly?

What’s the biggest difference between work in your home country and work here?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Step two

Studs Terkel's " Working" contains many very interesting interviews with people about things they do. Two interviews that I found particularly interesting were "Who Built the Pyramids?" with Mike Lefevre and "The Sporting Life" with Eddie Arroyo.

"Working" with Mike Lefevre is an interview with Mike about what he does at a steelworker plant. This interview raises many issues concerning factory workers, and some wider issues. One that is raised from the very beginning with the title of the interview is "Who Built the Pyramids?". He says it was not the pharaohs, it was the unknowns. Mike talks about feeling alienated from the products of his work. He also says that him doing the same repetitive motion a lot causes him to kind of separate his mind from his body which is another form of alienation but of his mind to his body.

Mike also brings up the issue of automation in the workplace. This is an important issue especially with the increasing prevalence of technology in more aspects of modern life including the workplace. His point of view is that if the machines would shorten his work week, or somehow assist him in his job without costing him it, then he would be O.K with more automation.

"The Sporting Life" with Eddie Arroyo is another interesting interview featuring Eddie Arroyo who is a horse jockey. This interview raises several issues like those of hazardous work conditions and what would be fair compensation to employees who became injured on the job.
Eddie believes that being a Jockey is one of the most hazardous careers at the time and he believes that Jockeys who get hurt on the job deserve more money than they normally receive from the workers union they have or from the track owners themselves.

These interviews tell us about some factors that shape the experience of work, such as work conditions, and how people may feel about different types of work.

It brings up the questions did the race Jockey conditions ever get better? Is working in a steel factory still the same now as it was then?

There are other course texts which raise similar issues like the Schossler essay about working in slaughterhouses and how the compensation for people who get injured n those factories really doesn't seem too fair. Those people also do a lot of repetitive motions which can actually lead to injury in and of itself.

One question I would like to know more about is how can these conditions be improved.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Post #5

In the interview with Rosemary Pepe by Clifton Hood, the interviewer is trying to find out information about Rosemarys Grandfather, who worked on the subway during it's early days of construction. Clifton asks questions about his life as an immigrant, the granfathers work experience, and his experience working in the early days of the NYC subway.

As far as the interviewee goes we don't see a whole lot about their personality although we learn that Rosemary was very proud of her Grandfather. We learn a great deal about the personality and experiences of the Grandfather. He appeared to be a hardworking person who went back and forth from Italy to America and worked on various jobs including tiling, and helping build the NYC Subway in it's early days of construction. From what we hear from Rosemary he was someone who cared a lot about family and gave his wife a lot of support in her endeavors.

The historical context of the interview is the early 1900's when the NYC subway was first being built. This time period was mentioned by Rossemary Pepe during the interview.

This interview had some similarities in it with the interview with Mike from Turkel, specifically Mike and Rosemarys Grandfather both expressed that they wanted their kids to have more opportunities so they didn't have to do those same kind of jobs when they grew up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Post # 4

Here are two paragraphs from Essay #2

Economic inequality is a topic being brought to light more and more these days. There have been a host of essays, articles, and books written about the subject. There was even a documentary movie made about being born rich.

I think that people should be concerned about ridiculous economic inequality, when it means that some people don't get a fair shake. There are hedge funds and other tax craziness that cost the government lots of money with seemingly unfair tax reductions. Krugman said: "The nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Joint Tax Policy Center estimates that letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people with incomes over two hundred thousand dollars would be worth about $140 billion a year starting in 2012. That's enough to pay for the subsidies needed to implement universal health care." It looks like the money gained from fixing those loopholes would go a long way towards balancing things out a bit.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Post #3

For Mike in "Who Built the Pyramids" it seemed as though he was good at his job but he would like to get more recognition for his work. To him it meant he was able to provide for his kids so they could have a chance to do even better in life. In the film "Born Rich" there were a variety of people who were born into families who have a lot of money. The people interviewed had varying opinions and perspectives on being rich and what it meant to them.

One thing Mike said that was also echoed by some of the interviewees in "Born Rich" was that they each felt very separated from the other kind of people. Mike felt that they were different, and some of the people in "Born Rich" felt the same way. There was a nightclub in "Born Rich" were only kids who wanted to spend a whole lot of money in the nightclub were allowed to enter, therefore those same kinds of kids ended up seeing each other. Mike spent many of his off hours in Taverns with other people who performed similar labor jobs.

The two texts together indicate that some people in different "classes" in America felt separated from the other.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The folowing is a paragraph from draft # 1 of essay #1

There was even a case when some workers in a Wal-Mart store succesfully joined a Union. These workers worked in the Meat Cutting section of one store. Within two weeks Wal-Mart announced it was cutting it's Meat Cutting departments nationwide. They also fired 4 workers who voted for the union. This seems to show that Wal-Mart is even willing to fire many workers to keep a union from forming anywhere in their company.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blog post #1

Hello my name is Mwani Ngemi.

I was surprised to hear that Wal-Mart goes to the extraordinary lengths that it does to stop unions from forming in all of their stores. The tactics they used for that seemed really underhanded. I had heard that Wal-Mart does not treat it's employees too well but I didn't know exactly how they were doing that besides giving them low wages.