Category: 

What is a Blue Collar Worker?

The working class used to be limited to blue collar shirts.
Over time, the idea of a blue collar worker moved from clothing requirements to the representation of the hardworking common man.
Construction worker.
Labor unions attracted many blue collar workers in the 20th Century.
Blue collar workers may work in a coal mine.
Article Details
  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Mi.ti., Stillkost, Sculpies, Kheel Center, Majusc00L
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Sharks hunt by sensing electromagnetic fields produced by their prey.  more...

October 24 ,  1929 :  The Black Thursday crash in the US stock market took place.  more...

Quite often, the color of a person's work shirt is used as a bit of cultural shorthand to determine his or her socioeconomic class. White collar workers are often associated with the upper middle and rich classes, since their work is primarily office-related. A blue collar worker is generally viewed as a middle class skilled laborer, who may work in an industrial setting or other hands-on professions. A pink collar worker is a person in a traditionally female job. In some countries, such as Great Britain, there is also the black collar worker, who barely earns a subsistence wage as an unskilled laborer in coal mines or other labor-intensive jobs.

The "blue collar" aspect of the term may be a misnomer these days, since skilled laborers and union workers are not necessarily limited to blue work shirts anymore. The original work shirts created for the middle and lower class workforce were indeed blue, often to match the blue denim work pants and overalls favored by factory workers. White shirts would never survive the harsh conditions of a factory, so they were reserved for clerical workers seeking a professional appearance. Management and labor leaders often recognized their peers by the color of their shirts.

Ad

Over time, the term blue collar worker entered the public vernacular to represent the hardworking Everyman, a regular working class citizen who provided for his or her family. This type of worker is often viewed as having traditional values, a strong sense of patriotism and a solid work ethic. Many are either members of a labor union or strongly support worker's rights in non-union labor situations.

This connection with the common man has led to a few other nicknames associated with skilled laborers. He may be a "Workaday Joe," a "regular working stiff," "Joe Six-Pack," or "Joe Lunchbox." Many are content to work 40 hours a week for decent hourly wages. For many blue collar workers, working overtime or on holidays is their preferred version of a white collar performance bonus. Retirement typically means a nominal company or union-funded pension, not a golden parachute or perpetual stock dividends.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

latte31
Post 4

I know that there is also a term for pink color which denotes a profession that is dominated by women.

An example of a pink collar worker could be hair stylist or elementary school teacher although these professions are now seeing a surge in men entering these professions.

An administrative assistant or a nurse is normally a type of profession with a lot of women but occasionally you do see men in these positions.

subway11
Post 3

I agree their skits are funny. I think that you can really classify a blue collar worker if they have to wear a uniform or not.

Usually blue collar workers all wear distinguishable uniforms. A police office, a fireman, a crossing guard, a bellman, and a mechanic all inform you of the type of job they have based on their attire.

White collar individuals all wear business attire and are usually executives or work in administrative supporting roles.

SauteePan
Post 2

Blue collar comedy depicts satirical humor based on what a blue collar worker experiences.

Blue collar TV as it is otherwise known features comedians Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, Bill Engwall, and Larry the Cable Guy.

These blue collar jokes are offered by stand up routines from each of the comedians. They also go on a blue collar comedy tour which is really funny. These blue collar comedians poke fun at themselves and makes for great light hearted humor. It is nice when people do not take themselves so seriously.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email