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Tag Archives: standard of living

Fight for a Livable Wage!

This was posted on facebook by a friend of mine. She is a college professor and I can understand her point of view, very narrow.

“Dear Mr. / Ms. McDonald’s worker: Your industry’s business model was built upon the idea of temporary, part-time workers, NOT career employees. I cannot write this loudly enough GO TO COLLEGE. PURSUE A REAL CAREER. THERE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE ARCHES.”

First I would like to say Ms. College pro, $15 an hour is not a pot of gold. If you made $15 an hour you would be screaming and striking too. Maybe you are making $15 an hour to which I must ask is this the standard.

When my daughter was in high school all I heard from other parents was how much pressure they were under to send their kids to college, especially when they didn’t have an interest in going. My question all along was…

…If everyone attends college then who will be left to do the work of our economy. We have to eat, entertain ourselves and of course someone has to build the houses and offices out which we will work and live. Who will do the plumbing and electrical work? These are trades that do not require a college degree.

Before Reagan CEO’s earned 44 times more than the average worker. Today it’s 400 times.

When did 44 times more become not enough? 44 times more house, more cars, more everything.

On the same day my friend posted another note to the McDonald’s employees who think they deserve better than minimum wage.

“Dear Mr. / Ms. McDonald’s worker, me again!
Don’t you realize that if you start making $15 an hour that the price of a McSomething will skyrocket to the point that Taco Bell employees will not be able to afford to pick up dinner at your “restaurant” on the way home from work?”

My dear friend Sherry,

Really? You have friends that aren’t college educated. One friend comes to mind that spent her life in the entertainment industry. Now she is a widow struggling to do better than minimum wage. You don’t think that she deserves a livable wage? Are you really concerned for the Taco Bell workers being able to afford McDonald’s? By the way, Taco Bell employees have also been on strike for the same reason.

I’m going to tell you what I know about this “business model.” I have worked closely with corporations that rely on this model. I worked for a small marina whose owner came out of Disney and also loved this model.

Here is what I took in.

The marina owner’s would find homeless and desperate souls to work for them for less than minimum wage. They would hire say, three of them. The three of them put together did the job that one man could do by himself. These owners could never see themselves paying one man the wages of three when they could get three to work for the wages of one.

Guess what? These cheap laborers cost them money. If they weren’t crashing a boat they were suing the marina for unlawful labor practices and winning.

I recall their desperate search for a boat mechanic. The mechanics that they were going through couldn’t fix a boat motor. One of the mechanics was so bad that he lied and said that he had fixed and test driven a boat.

The owner of the boat takes the boat out with his mentally challenged son only to find that the boat began to sink. Something the mechanic would have been able to avoid by doing his job, which he was grossly underpaid to do.

One day a man walked in and asked for a job. He accepted way less money because he was desperate to feed his family.

Turned out he was an expert mechanic. The best this town has ever seen. Once he was able to show them what he was worth, he sat down with the owner to renegotiate his salary. The marina was charging $80 an hour in labor. The mechanic asked for $40 an hour.

The owners said goodbye to him and he landed a mechanic position in Naples where they are paying him $50 an hour and the marina hasn’t been able to find a reliable mechanic that can fix everything that comes their way.

So they sit on a lake where no one who lives on that lake will take their boat to them for repairs because of the terrible reputation they have for fixing boats.

I say let them strike. Let them protest. Stop making college graduates the only grain of sand on the beach. We are all in this together.

Yes a college graduate deserves more money but does that somehow suggest to you that those who didn’t get a degree deserve less than a living wage?

The problem is that this “business model” has spread into industries that used to give people like me and some of your uneducated friends a living wage. Doesn’t that have an impact on you?

Believe me when I tell you that even college graduates are having trouble finding work with a living wage. Oh yeah you must know that because your wife has a degree and she isn’t automatically getting paid more.

Why?

It is so because the “business model” has become so popular that everyone is bound to be exploited. If we don’t start to buck this system, it will take over and who wants that?

Cooking and serving burgers should not pay a livable wage? Why?

All work should pay a livable wage. If you don’t impact the employee’s life in a positive way, he won’t impact your business in a positive way.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Standard of Living

Throughout this presidential campaign season all I hear over and over again is “the middle class.” In my mind I wanted to think that the middle class made up a large part of the population. I thought this because it seems to be what the President and his opponent to want to save, and accuse each other of trying to destroy.

I looked up the facts regarding class sizes.

In 2005 when the economy was booming and “things” were wonderful the class sizes were as follows:
Lower middle class was 30%
Working lower class made was 30%
Working poor was 13%

This leaves us with the upper middle class which was 15% then.
The capitalist were 1% and still are.

So what is the big fuss over this 15% of the population?

Well that was the question that I wanted to answer with my research, but I became curious over other facts. Once I saw the statistics I realized why the 1% doesn’t want to carry the tax burden. The lower middle class, the working lower class and the working poor make up 73% of the population.

Raising your standard of living has become the entire purpose for living. Mom works, grandma works, retired uncle works, disabled aunt works. Everyone has to work because we must meet our needs.

So back to the 1960’s when the per capita expenditures on recreation and meals rose by 40%, I asked how that could happen because in comparison to today’s standard of recreation it seemed to me that life was simpler then. There were no cell phones, no cable, no high speed internet and one car was enough for a family, and while they were working on it, there wasn’t a McDonald’s at every intersection.

In 1980, out of the 85 million households in the United States, 64% owned their own living quarters, 55% had at least two TV sets, and 51% had more than one vehicle.

What this says to me is that the standard of living index is measured by who has what and how much.

So when Westgate mogul David Siegel, which I consider in the 1% tells his sad tale of how he had to halt the construction of his 90,000 square foot home, not because his business is bad, but because “Obamacare” may cost him more to do business. Treating his employees fairly could cost him 20,000 square feet of living space. That would hurt a guy like David.

Most of us live within 1,500 square feet or less. Why is having 88,000 times more than the average person not enough? I’ve been asking this question over the years as I have watched more and more companies become detached from responsibility to employees. They offer part time work to folks who need to work full time, but they are afraid that they may have to give up a little more profit.

I’m all for profit. If you are going to have a business there would be no other goal. This profit margin got larger and larger for these capitalists. Again, 88,000 times more home than anyone. That is what the 1% is afraid of.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, Donald Trump was asked if we should all think big like him, and Donald answered:
“No, not everyone should think big, it would be too crowded up here and that wouldn’t be any fun.”

I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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