Workers Unite

About 30 years ago, the middle class in the United States was the biggest it’s ever been. Today, the U.S. is looking more like a country in Europe in the 1600s: thousands of rich people, and almost everyone else living in varying degrees of poverty. Why does that matter? Well, if you ask Derek Dobiecki, a worker at the Cingular Wireless store in the Holyoke Mall, the answer is "leanin'." "They took away our chairs," he told me in a 2006 interview. "If it's busy, with a lot of customers, you don’t really notice. But when it's slow, you're just leanin' for like eight hours."