Abusive union

jtr1962

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In a nutshell this story encompasses everything wrong with unions these days, and why people like myself see them as no longer serving any useful purpose. I seem to recall somewhere that criminal actions were adequate grounds for dismissal from any job. Why the union would be so dumb as to fight something like this at a time when labor unions have already lost much of their credibility with the general public is beyond my understanding. Labor unions hold back any decent worker with their job descriptions, work rules, seniority, and other BS.

BTW, I got a real kick out of the guy's title-"senior tree cutter". :lol: :mrgrn: :lol: No wonder the guy was nuts. I would be too after cutting trees for fifteen or twenty years. Come to think of it, the only reason this guy cut trees for so long was because the labor unions glorify jobs like that so they can demand ridiculous benefits and wages for what should be a minimum wage job that people won't stay at for too long(and hence won't have enough time to go nuts doing). Maybe the guy could sue the union for that while he's at it.
 

Mercutio

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The biggest unions sold out in the 70s, but the causes of workers still need to be championed, especially in these days of throw-away employees.

Public School Teachers and steelworkers get shit on. They'd get even more shit on if they didn't have some kind of collective power.
 

ddrueding

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Mercutio said:
Public School Teachers and steelworkers get shit on. They'd get even more shit on if they didn't have some kind of collective power.

My mom's a public school teacher, so I agree. But an artificial support in a capitalist society is wrong. When workers get shit on, they have the right to leave. When lower quality labor comes in and does a bad job, the consumer has a right to buy from a different manufacturer. It's the manufacturer's responsability to assure product quality.

With schools, we could go into a huge arguement about the privitisation of education, but that would be a massive derailment.
 

CougTek

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ddrueding said:
But an artificial support in a capitalist society is wrong. When workers get shit on, they have the right to leave. When lower quality labor comes in and does a bad job, the consumer has a right to buy from a different manufacturer. It's the manufacturer's responsability to assure product quality.
The above is a deeply, deeply flawed and wrong line of thinking. So much that I would need to write too much in order to explain why clearly. I've already written elsewhere how crude capitalism only favors the richs and increases the differences between social classes, I won't restart all over here again. People should realize that the goal of having an economy is to increase the life quality of citizens, not to increase the profits of share holders at the cost of everyone else's welfare.

In the above exemple, let me just point out that few people can allow themselves to leave their job everytime they are threaten unfairly (which often happens) and especially when they know elsewhere won't be better in their profession. Don't tell me that someone who has something like a decade of experience and expertise in steelwork (for instance) just has to re-orient its career if the enterprises aren't offering decent working conditions. People can't do that on the fly.

I believe unions still have a place, but not the type favoring employee abuses. Just like I think enterprises mistreating their employees, heavily use sub-contracting, underpaying employees and doing everything a pure capitalist company does shouldn't exist either. It's a question of balance.

Not that encouraging people to roam drunk with loaded guns (to think of it, much like the American redneck stereotype) is any way to enhance the life quality of anyone...
 

ddrueding

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It's a question of balance.

The balance of supply and demand is self sustaining. Using unions to create artificially high manufacturing costs will only hurt our economy. I must be missing something.

I (like most others here) work in an industry without unions, and mostly without standardised certification (it exists, but isn't required much of anywhere). Yet I am not payed a slave's wages. Why? Because I do a job for about what others capable of performing the job would charge. If you believe your McJob underpays, look around for a company that will pay better. If you can't find one, either your market value has decreased, or you're used to being overpayed**. Of course, in a full-blown depression (where the entire market is affected), government intervention is required. But paying farmers not to grow crops and paying crane operators $120,000+/yr is just stupid.

*If you're looking for a test to see if you have a McJob, ask yourself if a computer/robot will be able to perform your job as well as you in 3-5 years. If the answer is "yes", start looking.

**Personally guilty on both counts, I used to make 4-6 times what I currently make. Shit happens, stop whining.

If I have really missed something, please help me out. I had a depbate on this topic with the head of the California plummers association at a bar once, he admitted that it was "a really sweet deal" for the members.
 

ddrueding

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It's a question of balance.

The balance of supply and demand is self sustaining. Using unions to create artificially high manufacturing costs will only hurt our economy. I must be missing something.

I (like most others here) work in an industry without unions, and mostly without standardised certification (it exists, but isn't required much of anywhere). Yet I am not payed a slave's wages. Why? Because I do a job for about what others capable of performing the job would charge. If you believe your McJob underpays, look around for a company that will pay better. If you can't find one, either your market value has decreased, or you're used to being overpayed**. Of course, in a full-blown depression (where the entire market is affected), government intervention is required. But paying farmers not to grow crops and paying crane operators $120,000+/yr is just stupid.

*If you're looking for a test to see if you have a McJob, ask yourself if a computer/robot will be able to perform your job as well as you in 3-5 years. If the answer is "yes", start looking.

**Personally guilty on both counts, I used to make 4-6 times what I currently make. Shit happens, stop whining.

If I have really missed something, please help me out. I had a debate on this topic with the head of the California plummers association at a bar once, he admitted that it was "a really sweet deal" for the members.
 

its.fubar

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What are you all complaining about, the unions are only doing what America does best "Capitalism" making money, looking after number one, we have a saying in Sweden when it comes to politics we talk capitalism we think environmental but vote for socialism, in the USA you talk fair play You think liberal but you vote right wing conservative.what a great place USA is I can't wait to get their again. he he
 

CougTek

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ddrueding said:
The balance of supply and demand is self sustaining. Using unions to create artificially high manufacturing costs will only hurt our economy. I must be missing something.
You're missing so much that it's almost hopeless. You know the third world countries that you whine about because they are stealing your jobs? Well their 2$/hour (for lucky guys) jobs otherwise identical as the 15$/hour U.S. jobs is simply a result of unregulated capitalism. And don't believe that because you're in IT that you're immuned to that : many IT jobs have gone to India recently.

The idea that the market regulates itself as been proven wrong in so many occasions (think most un-developped countries that are "opening their doors" to multinational corporations) that I can't believe people are still buying this one anymore. They must brainwash you at school when you're kids or something. And there's little that is balanced in a crude capitalist economy. It's winner takes all and shit for the rest. The offer/demand equation is all nice and simple in theory, but once applied, it doesn't hold water.
 

jtr1962

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I think the problem here isn't capitalism so much as it is unregulated capitalism. Left to its own devices, capitalism will create a very few wealthy along with huge numbers of poor. Just witness the working conditions that existed at the turn of the century for proof. Few employers will treat employees decently unless they have to. There are only two means of encouraging this. One is by government regulation, the other is if there are at least some employers who will provide better working conditions. In other words, you'll lose your employees if someone else pays them more for the same job. Unfortunately, paying employees more cuts into profits, so few, if any, employees will treat their employees better unless forced by regulation. This is the major failing of capitalism. I might as well add that unless forced to be environmentally repsonsible, most companies won't be, either. Indeed, for some types of products, such as automobiles and airliners, the very fact that they are made at all, at least in their current form, is environmentally irresponsible, and yet the government refuses to step in because these activities produce profits, the almighty god of capitalism.

What can an employee do to be treated fairly? Either force the government to pass regulations or unite and refuse to work under substandard conditions. Both were done, and both worked well for a while. However, like capitalism they both reached the point of wretched excess. Fair wages and working conditions gave way to being grossly overpayed for menial tasks and having job descriptions so limiting that in some cases workers were idle most of the work day. Add to that unreasonable demands for fringe benefits, even including on-site day care, coupled with the near-impossibility of firing even grossly negligent workers, and you have the situation we have today. Small wonder employers are outsourcing jobs overseas.

I can see paying a fair wage for a competent employee with valuable skills. I can see providing safe working conditions. I can see investing something in an employee's health. These all decrease sick time and increase productivity. I can't see doing anything beyond that. You should decide before you have children if you can make arrangements for them, not expect your employer to have day care. You shouldn't take drugs or alcohol, then expect an employer to pay your salary while you're in a treatment program(or in some cases to even pay for the treatment program). You shouldn't expect health care coverage if you're 100 pounds overweight or smoke. You shouldn't think that your employer can't retrain and move you around as they see fit. You shouldn't think you're entitled to be paid more and do less just because you've been at a job longer than another person. You should expect your employer to provide transportation to the work site if they're saving money on rent by being located in an area with no convenient public transportation(yes, I feel very strongly about this). You should be able to get raises based on productivity and promotions based on merit, and these should have nothing to do with how long you've worked there. Conversely, you shouldn't expects raises or promotions just because you've been there a certain number of years. You shouldn't expect to be paid an excessive wage for low-skilled work because "you need it to get by". Either learn skills that make you worth paying more for, or learn to live on less. And you especially shouldn't expect to have any recourse if you get fired for doing something illegal.

It is all these excesses of labor unions which I hate, not the idea that someone should stick up for the little guy. I also hate the idea of CEO pay tied to profits, and think that should be made illegal. This single thing has encouraged more CEOs to lay people off and run good companies into the ground than anything else. In my opinion doing this should result in hard time pounding rocks, not huge bonuses.

Outsourcing jobs to other countries is something which needs to end as well. While menial jobs will in time be done be androids, as they should, if current trends continue there will be few decent jobs for even highly educated people. How can a parent tell their child to attend college if they won't be able to use their skills? The very advancement of society depends upon people bettering themselves and getting rewarded for it. I see outsourcing high-tech jobs as a very dangerous thing for this reason, and I think it should either be made illegal, or taxed to the point that it is cheaper to hire domestic workers. And for their part, more domestic workers should get the requisite education and skills. Sadly, lack of a suitable hiring pool is one reason many companies have taken to outsourcing. Moving low-skill jobs overseas is fine. I can't see paying $15/hour for union workers to do what someone in China will do for $100/month. When the union workers lose their jobs you can retrain them for more skilled work better done by domestic workers. However, if the current outsourcing continues, the promised jobs won't be there, and that will create a growing, angry underclass. In short, what most developed countries need is a migration from low-skilled jobs to high-skill, high-tech jobs which merit high enough pay to get buy on. Low-skilled jobs can never provide that unless the price of labor is artificially inflated by unions. Paying $40,000 plus benefits to a garbage collector, as is done in NYC, is ludicrous. I look forward to the day robots do those things. You'll get more consistent, reliable work, and you won't have garbage pails thrown on the sidewalk. Or you'll be able to go in a fast-food place and not get an attitude plus somebody spitting on your food.
 

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I'm with you David. Jobs that can be done for less with the same quality should be done for less.

When hard times fall on a company and the labor unions refuse to accomodate, their jobs will be eliminated and that job function contracted out.
 

CougTek

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Moving low-skill jobs overseas is fine. I can't see paying $15/hour for union workers to do what someone in China will do for $100/month.
Paying someone 100$/month is called exploitation. Plus, cancelling a job in your country without replacing it is increasing poverty. Every time a 15$/hour job is cancelled and replaced by a 100$/month job elsewhere around the globe, the end result is to impoverish the work class worldwide. This is nivelling by the bottom.

Jobs created elsewhere should also be well-paid. Sure, life cost isn't the same in third world countries as it is in North America, but would you go live there and get a 100$/month job even if living would cost you many times less than it does here? Why? Because they don't earn less for nothing : they have less for themselves too.

You guys seem to share the owners/share holders philosophy, yet none of you are (AFAIK). I'll repeat it : economy should enhance the welfare of everyone, not mostly the rich class.
 

jtr1962

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CougTek said:
Paying someone 100$/month is called exploitation. Plus, cancelling a job in your country without replacing it is increasing poverty. Every time a 15$/hour job is cancelled and replaced by a 100$/month job elsewhere around the globe, the end result is to impoverish the work class worldwide. This is nivelling by the bottom.
I don't know about everyone else here, but I recommended moving those people to a higher skilled job where they are really worth paying $15/hour, and retraining them to do so. I also recommend growing the economy with R&D to create new industries which will employ these displaced workers in real jobs. If they're unwilling to learn new skills for these new positions that's their problem. The days of someone with no skills being able to support a family in an industrialized country are coming to an end. I can't see paying someone $15/hour for menial work when someone somewhere else will do it for a lot less. If nothing else, moving menial jobs overseas creates more low-cost goods for people in industrialized countries to buy. Or simply put, their purchasing power goes up. Increasing wages or lowering the costs of goods are equally valid ways to increase the standard of living. Of course, when companies cut expenses but don't lower prices, I have a major problem with that. Greater consumer awareness coupled with boycotts of overpriced goods would go a long way towards stopping that practice. Particularly onerous is when high-priced designer goods that companies can afford to have made here are made overseas and then sold here at the same high price.

BTW, $100/month isn't exploitation in a country like China where the average wage is $75/month. It's a fair wage, and sooner or later lots of those $100/month jobs will create competition for workers which will drive up wages. Eventually, workers in Third World countries will do the same thing American workers did 100 years ago, and working conditions will improve greatly.

I see your points regarding capitalism. I don't like unregulated capitalism, either. However, I don't think the costs of doing business should be inflated with artificially high wages or benefits. Maybe a model where workers share in the company profits according to their contributions is the best one. I think business is in new territory here due to the global economy, and who really knows where it will lead.
 

Howell

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Coug, impoverishment is a relative term.

jtr, I'm in the same boat you are but who is responsible for the retraining? Additionally, there will always be a lazy element that can not move to a higher skilled job or does not want to. What to do?
 

jtr1962

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I tend to think the company getting rid of the job should pay for the retraining. After all, it is one step in the direction of making employers treat employees better, and they will save a ton of money eventually by replacing their $15/hour worker with a few $100/month ones. Only fair they should take some interest in the laid-off worker's future.

Regarding those unwilling or too lazy to be retrained, as I said that's their problem. Just let them know the consequences beforehand. I think most people would rather get retrained and placed in a new job than not be able to pay the bills. Giving any kind of support to those who won't submit to such retraining would be counterproductive to the whole idea.

Another thing I've frequently thought of that bothers me about unions is their inflexibility regarding weekly hours. Many contracts insist on 40 hours per week regardless of the workload. I would rather see an entire company's workforce put on 30 hour work weeks if it means nobody has to be laid off. The government saves on unemployment insurance and welfare, plus the company doesn't have to hire and retrain new workers if/when business picks up again. It is really stupid when unions would rather have layoffs based on seniority instead of reduced hours. It's also very selfish. The workers with seniority lose nothing while others have their entire income source cut off. Really, really dumb.
 

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Bush just lots a whole bunch of votes in Northwest Indiana. w00t!
Honestly, I think protective tariffs are a dumb idea all the way around, except in the case of dumping, but since that's what happens when we open steel markets...

Paying farmers not to grow anything DOES have an interesting side effect. Those people are still farmers. In theory, they know how to farm, and it's possible that a day might come when the capacity of their land might be put to better use. Paying them to keep farmland is in essence keeping fertile land undeveloped and a subsidy for farmers who would potentially grow similar produce (since another farmer didn't enter the market and add to the supply of X, X will be scarce and can command a higher price).

From my day job I can tell you that workers whose jobs were provable lost due to relocation within the North American Free Trade Zone are eligible for Federally funded job training and unemployment benefits lasting up to 18 months.

Most of the folks we get in my office through those programs absolutely DO NOT take the computer training seriously. They're wasting time and collecting unemployment, basically. A lot of them don't even own computers. They learn a little (maybe) about their computer and then plan to take another dead-end manufacturing job (I guess so they can qualify for more training, 'cause those jobs just aren't staying here). It's disheartening for the trainers who have to deal with those people.
 

ddrueding

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CougTek said:
You guys seem to share the owners/share holders philosophy, yet none of you are (AFAIK). I'll repeat it : economy should enhance the welfare of everyone, not mostly the rich class.

Maybe a model where workers share in the company profits according to their contributions is the best one. I think business is in new territory here due to the global economy, and who really knows where it will lead.

In my new company, everyone will recieve minimum wage. Managers and assistant managers will also recieve profit-sharing based on their position. Owners income will be 100% profit-based. And IMHO, an economy should enhace the lives of those who enhance the society.
 

its.fubar

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ddrueding said:
CougTek said:
You guys seem to share the owners/share holders philosophy, yet none of you are (AFAIK). I'll repeat it : economy should enhance the welfare of everyone, not mostly the rich class.

Maybe a model where workers share in the company profits according to their contributions is the best one. I think business is in new territory here due to the global economy, and who really knows where it will lead.

In my new company, everyone will recieve minimum wage. Managers and assistant managers will also recieve profit-sharing based on their position. Owners income will be 100% profit-based. And IMHO, an economy should enhance the lives of those who enhance the society.

Good luck ddrueding if you believe all that then you have forgotten about World Com and all the rest of these companies that promise you the world and leave you in the poor house without a shirt on your back. By the way minimum wage is a great invention for the rich to get richer and the poor to keep dreaming of the day they will be Rich.
 

CougTek

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ddrueding said:
In my new company, everyone will recieve minimum wage. Managers and assistant managers will also recieve profit-sharing based on their position. Owners income will be 100% profit-based. And IMHO, an economy should enhance the lives of those who enhance the society.
This is rotten elitism. I wouldn't be motivated to work too hard just to fatten a selfish bastard who's too cheap to pay me a decent salary. I hope your employees won't either. The above model isn't enhancing the society, it is depriving it for the profit of a few. What makes you think you're worth so much more than someone else? You simply don't. In fact, if the above really represents what you think, then ethically, you are quite poor.

Every jobs, even the simplest ones, deserve a decent salary. They don't exist for nothing and if people would stop doing them, problems would arise. Take for instance the garbage guys at New York that JTR often talks about. Ok, they don't need much brain for their job, but they have to work relatively hard physically, no matter what's the temperature and tolerate unpleasant smells. At the end of the day, they are probably more exhausted than pencil-pushers like most of us. And their jobs need to be done or else, well, there's no way I would want to visit New York one day. Perhaps their job doesn't deserve 40K/year, but compare what they have to do with a floor guy at WalMart and I believe they deserve more than minimal wage.

IMO, everyone who has a job should be paid well enough not to struggle financially to fill basic needs. Minimum wage just doesn't allow that.
 

Howell

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CougTek said:
What makes you think you're worth so much more than someone else? You simply don't. In fact, if the above really represents what you think, then ethically, you are quite poor.

Low skill jobs should not be an end unto themselves. And that's the problem. Many low skill jobs have had the salaries artificially propped up and there is no incentive for personal and thus societal improvment.

Those who take the risks should reap the rewards. Marxism doesn't work.

What David is likely to find a little ways down the road, is that by only paying minimum wage there will be such turn-over that the company will suffer. Finding that balance point is one of the tasks of the small business owner.
 

jtr1962

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The general idea here is that certain jobs don't require much skill and therefore there should be no point in having high wages or benefits which encourage people to remain there for years. Granted, these menial tasks are important, and I don't look down on the workers doing them. However, these types of jobs are ideal for either students or graduates looking to get that "first job" and some work experience. High turnover is not a problem if the average person can be trained to do the job in one day. Indeed, high turnover is good on such jobs as people tend to feel unfulfilled and stagnant doing them for years. I think of these jobs as "starter" jobs, not careers.

On the other hand, there are jobs were you really do get better, even after a few years. Here the pay should reflect that, and should encourage people to stay.

Although I tend to bring up sanitation workers, I think this falls into a middle ground. Sure, it is an important function, but current pay scales encourage people to make a career out of it when they should really try to just get people to stay a few years at most. Sure, it may take a few weeks to learn a route and get efficient, but nothing is really gained by encouraging career garbage collecting(or many other civil service functions). All unions do in these cases is artificially inflate the costs of running a city.

In general pay should reflect the level of education and experience required for a position. If a job is particularly hard or dangerous, even if it is low-skilled, then the pay should also reflect that. Same thing if you're responsible for many lives(i.e. a bus or train driver). I really have no problem with garbage collectors making, say, $25K to $30K. It is a physically hard job, and people have been attacked by rats or had toxic chemicals squirted on them. However, I think $40K plus exorbitant benefits is a bit much.
 

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There is also supply and demand. If one of these much-needed jobs pays very little and no one does it, society will balance this out by offering more money to encourage job growth in that area. Once the demand is met, the cycle will return, but there will be several who benefited by the rebalancing. If NYC loses 50% of their waste management people, I'm sure the city will have to do something to fix the problem. They can't let it get that far out of control or else it would lead to the downfall of the city. Same applies anywhere.

I also agree with Howell that by propping up the salary, it doesn't encourage people to work harder. Some people do it for the money; some do it for the love and interest in an area. I've always heard that nurses don't get paid what they deserve, given the amount of hours they work and education require to do their job. So I figure it must be their love and interest to want to help others in need.
 

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One thing upsetting the balance is the large number of particularly unskilled immigrants comming into the country. This insures a large pool of workers who think that minimum wage is a fortune. With such a steady supply of people willing to work for less, the natural cost of labor balance is never achieved. Not to meantion the brain-drain of the other countries.
 

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CougTek said:
ddrueding said:
In my new company, everyone will recieve minimum wage. Managers and assistant managers will also recieve profit-sharing based on their position. Owners income will be 100% profit-based. And IMHO, an economy should enhance the lives of those who enhance the society.
This is rotten elitism. I wouldn't be motivated to work too hard just to fatten a selfish bastard who's too cheap to pay me a decent salary. I hope your employees won't either. The above model isn't enhancing the society, it is depriving it for the profit of a few. What makes you think you're worth so much more than someone else? You simply don't. In fact, if the above really represents what you think, then ethically, you are quite poor.

Are you smoking crack? How can offering EVERY employee the opportunity to make significant amounts of money be called elitest? Clearly you've never owned your own business. The problem with determining the pay of your employees is that you're never quite sure what you'll make. If I offered them $15/hr (double min. wage, higher than most jobs with these skills) and business lagged, I would go broke and they would lose their jobs. But if my business goes according to plan, every employee will be getting $20-$25/hr, and the managers will be at nearly $40/hr!!! I've billed for less than that!

By the way minimum wage is a great invention for the rich to get richer and the poor to keep dreaming of the day they will be Rich.

Actually, I assure you that doing away with the minimum wage would facilitate this much better. There are thousands of people in my city (illegal immigrants) that would work for $2-$3/hr....and there are people in this city who would pay them that.

IMO, everyone who has a job should be paid well enough not to struggle financially to fill basic needs.

I agree completely, and the only way to accomplish this is to identify all positions not capable of generating this much revenue and automate them. Then retrain everyone to be able to earn more.

If someone is payed significantly less than the revenue their position generates, it is exploitation. Paying people more than the revenue their position generates will only lead to massive poverty and mind-numbing debt.
 

ddrueding

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Coug,

Sorry for the insult at the beginning of my post, I'm just very frustrated at the personal insults originating from a more general conversation.
 

jtr1962

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If you re-read your initial post on this it gives the impression that you would pay everyone except managers and owners minimum wage only(hence the reason Coug wasn't too thrilled with the idea):

In my new company, everyone will recieve minimum wage. Managers and assistant managers will also recieve profit-sharing based on their position. Owners income will be 100% profit-based.

You didn't mention about the employees sharing profits as well. I happen to think is a good idea to motivate them to help the company to the best of their ability, and to not goof off as it will eventually adversely affect their pay. Thanks for clarifying your position.

Just as an aside, I would never pay anyone minimum wage. I would automate minimum wage type work instead. If you've ever seen the kind of people you get applying for minimum wage jobs you would know why. :eek: I just wouldn't want that type of crowd in any business I ran.
 

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Ugh, yeah I can totally see where that impression could be given. To clarify, every employee is either an assitant manager, a manager, or an owner. I have to include the word "manager" in their title as they will be left to tend the store on their own, and be held responsable for cash, closing, etc.
 

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I would automate minimum wage type work instead.
...identify all positions not capable of generating this much revenue and automate them.
Guys, you're unrealistic. Automating every simple task costs a small fortune for a new-born company. It cost far more than raising the minimum salary for your base-level employees.

And all your beautiful reasoning about tasks that appear simplistic to you and that therefore, they should only be considered "temporary job solutions", well that's bullshit. Sorry to say it that way, but it's true. You're thinking like narrow-minded pencil-pushers. No everyone likes intellectual work and it's a good thing. Why do you think there are tests for personal job interests? Some people actually like simple and repetitive manual work. Labeling all these jobs as minimum wage jobs (as minimum wage currently is : ie - too low to live decently on) is wrong IMO. I'm not proning equal salary for everyone and I don't tell you that packing groceries deserves a doctor's salary, but full-time jobs, even when they are simple, should provide a good enough salary not to be in misery. If an employer needs to assign someone to a job full-time, then it's because there's a need for it. If later the simple manual job is made obsolete by automatic systems, then the employer should at least offer a formation opportunity for the employee to change for another job within the company.

And there's also the fact than not everyone put its job as the first priority on its list. Not that they aren't interested to work (sometimes the case, but that's not what I'm talking about), but they believe other parts of their lives deserve more attention. Talk to people having young kids in the forum for instance. While those who aren't interested to invest as much efforts in their job shouldn't be paid as much as workaholics, they shouldn't be forced to poverty either. Often, simple jobs where you don't carry work problems at home are appreciated by those people. By the answers I see above, mostly from single people having few in life except their jobs to think about, you don't seem to realize that not everyone lives for their job or are interested by something else than intellectually challenging jobs. The manual-types aren't a low-class IMO ; they are just people with different interest than us. Salary scale should be respectful towards this difference.
 

its.fubar

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The CougTek,well said,
you have just described what decent normal people think and have realized, life has more to offer them just making money for somebody else but unfortunately there are far too many who believe the more you have the happier you will be, I believe what they are chasing is call the American dream, I will ask you this and anybody else who cares to Reply, if everybody reaches the top in America and they accomplish the American dream who would be left to do the minimum wage jobs, may be the Iraq`s or you can always inport more people from Africa.
 

ddrueding

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Although it would be wonderful for everyone to make at least $45,000 a year, some jobs are not capable of making that much money. No matter how kind the owner of a McDonald's is, the burger flipper is going to make much less. It's not possible for the owner to pay that salary for that job without going severely into debt. As long as the (full-time) job of "McDonalds burger flipper" exists, it will be a low-paying job.
 

Fushigi

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I agree with CougTek on this one.

I would point out that a person's job, even their career, is just a means towards an end and not the end in and of itself. It's great that I enjoy my job, but I still only work because it gives me the income to enjoy the rest of my life.
 

Howell

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Coug there are plenty of jobs available for people who are either not smart enough for more intellectual work or simply do not want to do it. Most of these jobs require adequate soft skills but if you are willing to take the risk the jobs are there.

Have you thought about much it costs to hire a plumber and how hard it is to find a good one? How about caterer or banquet hall servers? Even most restraunt serving staff make much more than minimum wage?

I have worked construction. I have scaped hardened caulk from garage floors for newly constructed subdivisions and swept out debris. I have laid cinder block. I have run a ground pounder (packs soil). I have done demolition. I have done commercial roofing in the dead of summer. (It was day labor. I made above minimum wage. $2, IIRC. The government did not mandate this. The market mandated this.

These are important jobs that somebody has to do. But they are not specialists jobs. You have provided no reasoning for why low skill jobs should be paid more than they are now.
 

its.fubar

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Just for the record in Sweden There is No minimum wage and very few people that make less than the equivalent of $ 12 per hour also everybody has the right to five week`s paid holidays each year some get more than that and everybody can afford hospital and medical charges as well as all medicine they might need, so you might say we are living the American dream in as much as people can afford to pay their bills, put food on their table, lived in a decent clean apartment "all apartments are fully equipped when you move in" and go relatively unmolested on the streets day or night and this must annoy the hell out of conservative republican to see socialism working at it`s best. I wonder what system is free`s,the one where you are told you live in the land of the free but don't know where you're next plate of food is coming from or the one where you do know where you're next plate of food is coming from and you don't have to be told you are Free because you know you are.
 

CougTek

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Howell said:
You have provided no reasoning for why low skill jobs should be paid more than they are now.
Damn does it piss me off to read this. I did but somehow you chose not to read it. Fushigi got the idea while you missed the entire picture. I'm not in the mood to explain at lenght right now, so I'll leave it as it is. Forget all of this, it's hopeless.
 

ddrueding

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I understand why; it wold be better if everyone made more money! Of course, the fact that this is completely impossible to pay people more without charging more for the product, thereby increasing the cost of living, thereby negating all the work you did in the first place!

So the real question becomes....how?
 

jtr1962

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Cougtek,

A big problem with paying more for low-skilled jobs is that is causes the wages for all other jobs to go up as well. If you suddenly pay a cashier in a grocery store a living wage(which is about $40K in New York City), then how can you justify paying an engineer out of college the current starting pay of roughly $36K? You can't. In fact, you would probably have to pay them $100K in order to have them earn the same amount relative to the cashier that they do now. Also, you've just increased the costs of goods and services enormously with this wage inflation, so suddenly the $40K being paid to the cashier is no longer a living wage anymore. Suddenly, you have another round of wage inflation. Nobody wins. This is about the best I can explain the situation.

I also need to point out that I don't equate all manual labor jobs with low pay or low skill. Despite my college degree, I'll gladly lay ceramic tile, at least until my carpal tunnel syndrome starts acting up, and I have the skill to do it well. I can make $3000 in one week doing this. I realize not everyone is an intellectual or tied to their job. I'm certainly not, and there are jobs where people can work their 40 hours, earn decent money, and then just forget about their jobs until next Monday. However, unless you're willing to learn a skill, either by going to college or learning a trade, you just cannot demand a high salary. And in a sense it's much fairer that way. Why should someone who goofed off in high school and barely got by earn the same amount as a person like myself who regularly got by on three hours a night sleep and studied on weekends as well? Life is like a bank-you only get to take out what you put into it. Paying a high wage for low-skill jobs just because a person "needs it to get by" is fundamentally unfair. If that is the case a person with 10 kids should get paid more than a single person for doing the same work. Thankfully the world doesn't work that way, although I will agree that the salaries for many jobs, such as lawyers and CEOs, are grossly inflated relative to the skill level.

The biggest reason why wages these days aren't adequate any more is the huge increase in the costs of housing. Our house cost $52K when we bought it in 1978. Today it might sell for $425K. Meanwhile salaries have increased by at most a factor of three. Renting even a studio in NYC will set you back at least $1000 a month in a safe area. Most other goods have gotten relatively cheaper but housing has gone out of sight. If you want to tackle the problem of not earning enough to get by, then housing is the best place to start. Next up would be building decent public transportation in more places. A car is another huge expense than many families in the past could avoid because they could afford to live in a place with decent public transportation. Nowadays only more and more remote suburbs are affordable, and there you need a car.
 

Howell

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I agree with you jtr. But I think it is important not to write off those who goofed off in HS or college even. There needs to be an avenue by which those who realize their mistakes they made in school can be trained and make progress toward becoming productive up to their potential. Trade schools and two year schools provide this service but IMO there are not enough of them. Or they don't do a good enough job marketing.
 

CougTek

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jtr1962 said:
If you suddenly pay a cashier in a grocery store a living wage(which is about $40K in New York City), then how can you justify paying an engineer out of college the current starting pay of roughly $36K? You can't. In fact, you would probably have to pay them $100K in order to have them earn the same amount relative to the cashier that they do now.
But why do you have to keep the ratio the same? The huge disparity between salaries is another big contributor to the spreading of poverty. If instead of allowing the gnegnegneeer a salary 2.5x the amount of a minimum wage, you give 1.5x to start and then maybe up to 2x-2.25x with experience, then you decrease the difference between the social classes.

Decreasing the differences between social classes is important because if , for instance, you wouldn't have had so many rich people in New York, earning way too high salaries, whiling to spend a lot more than middle-class people could afford to buy houses, then your houses would still be affordable today. The greater the difference between social classes, the more the rich have and the least is left for the poor. I have a lot of respect for Scandinavian countries for that reason. Sure, they pay a lot of taxes, but at least people from the lower class live a lot better than those in North America (especially the States). Rich people there aren't as rich as in the States, but do you really care since you're not rich anyway?

The big problem with your "keep the ratio between gnegneneer and minimum wage employee" is the elitism hidden behind that thought. Why does a certain class of workers should absolutely worth 2 times and a hlf more than others? Sure, a gnegneneer must pay debts he has accumulated during his studies, but does he need 2.5x the basic wage in order to do that? With the current minimum wage, probably, but if the minimum wage in the States (how ridiculous is it, 4.5$/h?) would double, it wouldn't. And no, it isn't true that the cost of everything would increase accordingly. It might increase, but not tremendously unless the salary ratio remains the same, which shouldn't.

BTW, I didn't say that packing groceries meets the standard to earn a salary to make a life with. Packing groceries is normally a student job (or a job for women at home needing to go out or bored retired people) and it rarely is a full-time job. Your original laugh was at the expense of a tree cutter, which is a far cry from packing groceries. Normally, this job involves operating industrial machinery and demands a certain knowledge. Perhaps not a master degree in botany, but some experience with heavy machinery at least.
 
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