Minimum wage for a substandard living.


I agree with much of what this blogger puts forth in this article. The only point I would reconsider would be about supporting unions. I have worked in the past as a non-union member in a heavy-union company. My husband is in the same position now. What we have witnessed is union bank accounts getting fatter, but union laborers’ bank accounts staying the same. Any gain the union made on behalf of the laborer would be offset by a move the company made. The union negotiated a $1 an hour pay raise? Within a month the company enacted certain “fees” for certain services and the actual pay raise was a penny an hour. Also, many Americans are simply distrustful of unions because of a well-documented history of corruption. Personally, before I could offer any support of unions, I would have to do a little more research. I think, just like any organization comprised of human beings, there will be the good, the bad, and the ugly where unions are concerned. That being said, I believe the author is right on point with the premise of this article

Franque23's Blog

If only the correction was a simple fix..... If only the correction was a simple fix…..(sharing link below* FAct check finds this graph 1/2 true, though in each case, the other countries do have higher minimum wages after considering every possible worm hole.)

Workers in US are getting screwed ….and in part this is due to workers not unionizing enough. It’s simple enough to understand–the work forces needs to be organized efficiently, and to be able to tie the hands of owners to the bargaining table until they agree to pay meaningful wages. Well lead unions with large numbers bring some clout to the negotiating table. I’ve been there, seen the CWA in action, and know this is true. Achieving a higher wage scale would not be an act of greed on the part of  US workers, but an act that would reestablish a just balance between the rich and the workers who stuff their pockets with the…

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gringaofthebarrio

A barrio gringa with a dream of cosmic proportions: writing to satiate my insatiable curiosity, worldwide literacy beginning with our youth, and to be the first barrio gringa to explore outer space!

8 thoughts on “Minimum wage for a substandard living.”

  1. I think people forget minimum wage was never supposed to be a “living wage”.

    While I can agree with the obscene disparity in pay between workers and management, that is a separate from the issue of better pay.

    Most people don’t stop and think about consequences; one is that you can’t just raise the minimum wage without adjusting all the pay scales above that (you can, but you really piss people off – one of the reasons I left GM was because after 7 years new people were being hired in at the same pay I was making). The other consequence, especially for smaller businesses, is that they will have to make do with less workers.

    People argue this point, but you have to remember the other part of the equation . . . the public (here in the US) is used to cheap goods and cheap service. Sure, people are for raising wages . . . until they go to the store, or a restaurant, or want to get a manicure, etc.

    Unions are definitely not the answer . . . and politicians and companies don’t like the actual answer so it will never happen. The public is not even aware of the answer. The answer is to produce locally; force companies to make stuff where they sell it.

    Want to know where the higher paying jobs went? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_trade_agreements

    Why would a company invest here in the US when it can make goods in a third world country and then turn around and sell them here as 300% or more markup? The answer is, they won’t unless made to do so. The result? Low paying jobs and more people than there are jobs. In this environment, there is no economic pressure for raising wages, and doing it artificially is but a temporary feel-good measure, and one that will likely not lead to a better life for everyone.

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    1. It’s an extremely complicated issue. Although typical minimum wage jobs were originally designed to be entry level jobs for the newcomer, who would eventually develop skills that would lead to a better position and higher wages, that is not today’s reality. The way things are now there are many adults who are trying to support a family on a full-time minimum wage job. Such jobs are not necessarily just a “flipping burgers” job. It’s a very complicated issue. I have pondered the concept of living wage ratios. It, too, is a very complicated concept. In a nutshell, say a CEO is earning $500,000 annually. Say his lowest paid employee, the broom pusher, is making “minimum wage”. If, at a certain income ceiling, a company then qualifies to pay minimum wage based on a ratio, rather than a set dollar amount. The broom pusher’s “minimum wage” would be 1% of the top paid salary. That might resolve the issue of how increasing minimum wage affects small business. However, truth be told, in a capitalist society, no business wants to really pay any employee what they are worth. A capitalist society’s focus is on cutting cost and expanding the profit margin. That’s why, in America, the common laborer will never make beans.

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    2. Again, the reason people are having to support families with those wages is not because wages were lowered; it’s because higher paying jobs are not available. We transitioned from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy and those jobs don’t pay well.

      I also think the math is a little iffy there. I would not tie the low-paying compensation to that of the high-wage earners. I would, however, cap the top compensation and do a lot more profit-sharing.

      When I did own a small business (engineering consulting firm, 50+ employees, 20 years), the top pay was the same for me and for our top employees (based on seniority and ability). True, I also earned the value of the company, but then again, I put up the collateral in the form of my house and worked 20-30 extra hours per week above my engineering work.

      Our employees were very loyal because they knew we paid fairly.

      I’m not sure if that would work for many of the minimum wage jobs; advancement from minimum-wage jobs is not typically within the company, but with changing jobs.

      But, again, one of the problem I see is that advancements and higher pay is tied to growth; small businesses are very limited in growth. Most can hardly keep their head above water.

      We closed our company because pressure from cheap overseas consulting was driving lower what the Big Three were willing to pay. I was told by GM and Ford they would pay no more than $57/engineering manhour. Our break-even cost was $72/engineering manhour (includes all the overhead).

      We would have lost money had we kept going. Our overhead was fixed; the only way we could have done it was if the employees agreed to lower pay and longer hours (including me).

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      1. For a gringa who refuses to even bother with balancing the checkbook, it is all just so baffling. It seems like it should be pretty straight-forward economics, but, there are just so many factors that come into play, I simply remain flummoxed. You, however, have a better understanding of these things. I graciously bow to your wisdom.

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      2. Understand, we are not going back to those days.

        In today’s environment, I would never be able to start a business and keep it running for twenty years. I would be competing with people in India, China, Malesia, and so on. Not to say anything about mountains of regulations that are a real impediment to starting a business (it’s how the big businesses like it . . . no competition). My answer is not really an answer; we are not going back to pre-NAFTA days, and there is nothing in the horizon that will spur job growth (good paying jobs growth).

        For all the promises of politicians, none have put forward workable solutions. This then expands into other issues . . . sure, we can educate minorities, help immigrants, help the poor get an education . . . for what jobs? That “slinging fries” jobs you mentioned? There are people with college degrees doing those jobs.

        Ah, nevermind; I’ll just get worked up.

        I just wanted to clarify that you are right; it’s very complicated and spans multiple social issues beyond just minimum wage. I don’t have answers, and I have not heard answers that make any sense, and I fear for what we face as a society.

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  2. thanks. It is 1601.09 US Dollar per month equivalent in the Irish state, which is higher than the “UK” but the cost of living is higher here too. It is difficult to calculate all the variables such as costs of accommodation, utilities, travel, social welfare ….

    In general, minimum wage levels are crap in most places and are also violated by employers, especially with migrant workers.

    Regarding trade unions, I agree with your reservations and also have some others but, on the whole, I’d have to say that we should support the right of workers to unionise and also for restriction of jobs to union members. The struggle for those rights in the USA was ferocious and it is up to workers to work to democratise their unions.

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