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November 19, 2012


Replies: 80

"Unskilled Labor" and Pay Rates

witwitch Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Student Writer
Some people out there seem to think that if you work a job that is considered "unskilled labor" that you deserve to be in the shitter until you find a "real job". What these people seem to ignore is the fact that these jobs need to be done by someone. They will always be there. To this, people usually respond by saying "those jobs should be taken up by teens or elderly"--and though that may be their fantasy, in reality, many middle aged people depend on these jobs in order to make a living.

Now, when we talk about pay, our society puts a lot of focus on a few main things: education, skill, and although most people won't admit it, prestige. A lot of the time, people like to assume that those who are earning more money are working harder or longer, but the fact simply isn't true. If I work 60 hours a week at 10/hour, and you work 6 hours in a week for 500/hour, I have made 600 and you have made 3,000.

And while it is true that those who have studied longer and work jobs which require more refined skills should be paid higher, that does not mean that everyone else deserves to choose between food and medicine each week.

There is more than just skill, education, and prestige that should determine pay rate.

The first thing is that a company requires workers at all levels in order to run properly. Displace the smallest gear in a clock, and it is broken. Anyone who is working there is contributing to the success of the business. There are some jobs that just anybody could do, sure, but that doesn't make everyone right for the job.

We should consider also that this person is making a sacrifice in order to help build their boss' company. By spending their time working a full time shift, they are putting in the better part of their own energy to helping make their bosses wealthy. I say sacrifice because we are all born with a normal human lifespan. Time is the only thing we can spend but we can never earn more of. We can not live forever, and each day is precious.

Now, if someone is being a productive worker spending the better part of their energy promoting the success of your business, the least you could do is pay them enough to ensure that they can afford food, medicine, transportation, and a vacation every now and then. Even McDonald's full time employees deserve it--just because a job isn't particularly challenging skill-wise doesn't mean it isn't psychologically or physically draining. Vacations help keep workers happy and happy workers are productive workers. When you have well rested, happy workers, they make less mistakes and you do not need to worry about hiring someone new to fix them. They will also perform better at their jobs due to being in a good mood while at work.

What is the purpose of a business? To make profit for the owner? Does that mean even at the expense of exploiting the people who help make this wealth happen? How do businesses expect to maintain perpetual grow? Where is all that money supposed to come from? What happens when they drain it all up?

Shouldn't instead we focus on more realistic goals like sustainability? How can we as a society support our whole mass of people? How can we all contribute to society moving forward?

Honestly, I think business owners have just gotten a big ego over this. Sure, it was your idea, but you can not do it alone. Imagine if I started a lemonade stand, collected 5 bucks an hour from profits, but only paid little Jimmy to do all the work for 5 cents while I sat back and planned the opening of a new lemonade stand down the street. I mean, two kids and a lemonade stand should be splitting their profits evenly. It's the same with adults, except there isn't a big guy looming over you and telling you to play nice.

What if a business was more like a community, whose purpose it was to provide for it's members? Or if government was not super corrupted and actually made up of average people who cared about the state of their country's ecosystem and poor people?

Of course, wage should still be distributed to give those who work jobs requiring more skill and education a higher wage, but even those at the bottom should be paid a comfortable living wage.

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Devious Comments

BorogoveLM Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2012  Student General Artist
Return ownership of the means of production to the people, and people will be content to work for fair wages.
ndifference Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Professional Writer
Reminiscent of what Carlin said about the US educational system:

"It will never, ever, ever be fixed. The owners of this country don’t want that...The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all important decisions....They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork..."
witwitch Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Student Writer
Too true. America needs a revolution.
Jeysie Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Basically, those people think the rich deserve to keep all the wealth, while everyone else should be happy to make the rich wealthy and be thankful for any scraps they get. You should be more than happy to sacrifice and even pay out of your own pocket, to make someone else rich while you get shit.

Because that's what it amounts to, really. Whenever a business doesn't pay enough for their worker to survive to work, then that worker has to effectively pay to make someone else rich. They pay through giving up their health, comfort, and such, and often taxpayers also pay via having to subsidize wages so workers can afford to work.

And yet conservatives whine about welfare, even though we give CEOs and stockholders massively huge welfare payouts on a regular basis by providing wage subsidies so their workers can afford to live to work, while the CEOs and stockholders pocket the wage savings in profit. So just remember that, any folks who say you don't want minimum wage to be a living wage: Your taxes are thus going straight into the pockets of CEOs, as the public sector has to then handle what the private sector won't.
JackMolotov3 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
"Some people out there seem to think that if you work a job that is considered "unskilled labor" that you deserve to be in the shitter until you find a "real job". "

I think the thinking is today, that most of these jobs are done by teenagers working at home, or underpaid illegal immigrants, who, if complain just get deport, if the jobs are not shipped off to whatever country they came from in the first place, legally.

Then when you bring this up, once you get passed the "racist" accusations, you get into classist stereortypes about being lazy

Which more apply to the people pointing the finger than those its pointing at.

Once you get past that, the $10 tomato makes is appearance. the "$10 tomato" is the argument that if farm workers were paid living wage, as US citizens, tomatos would cost $10.

You could even show links that actual wages are such a trivial part of production costs, but it

"And while it is true that those who have studied longer and work jobs which require more refined skills should be paid higher, that does not mean that everyone else deserves to choose between food and medicine each week."
Big myth. Most people in college study fields they won't use later on. They won't even retain more than %10 of what they learned. What they will do is spend $20k they can't wiggle out of for a piece of paper that lets feel superior about themselves. When confronted with this, the answer is more that "college is an experience", which translates into the real skills they've learned was "learning how to mingle with the upper class, and make connections". You also get the opportunity to join an exclusive club. Which means for most its nothing more than a finishing school, and exclusive club. Nothing more than classism at its finest.

In the US of A, we like to tout that we are a meritocracy, and that education and capability are key to getting ahead in American society. Under all our breathes we mutter the truth "Its not what you know, but who you know". In a four year institution, you learn to meet "who you need to know".

"There is more than just skill, education, and prestige that should determine pay rate. "

I think we need to re-evaluate what and whom we hold as "prestige" in this country, this is a big problem.

The real problem especially with large corporations is stock holders. They "own" the company, and do little to help run it, except bitch when they're not making enough money. They have a legal right to sue management, of which, work for them, if they think they should be getting more money out of the company. None of these people did anything except show up and buy a piece of paper that says they own part of a company. They have no vested intrest in its future, and can just as easily sell and buy a completely different company.

These people take far more out of a company that workers do. A CEO can easily cut worker pay, but cutting divendends will send quakes all the way down to the talking heads on financial programs, Like Jim Cramer's Mad money, bashing the company into oblivion, and potentially destroying it.

The problem soley comes that we only ask some people to work. After denying them a chance we blame the working class for the problems we made for them.

End the system of stock ownership as it is now, and give the dividends back into the pool of funds used to pay workers.
tacosteev Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist
Jobs is just like supply and demand. Jobs that anyone can do (or be trained to do) generally pay less than jobs that are more specialized. Companies are competing for certain skills and if there aren't too many folk with that skill, then it pays more.
defense2 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
While parly true, if the employer is paying minimum wage, his employees aren't contributing to society and are being subsadized through welfare paid for by the society.

If that employer is making more than twice minimum wage, the he/she should be takes more for that welfare as they aren't bleeding badly enough to prove they want their business to sucseed.
tacosteev Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist
Not necessarily true. A few friends of mine making minimal wage is getting by fine without welfare programs. They share an apartment and live within their means.
defense2 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Of course it is cheaper to live in a communal setting... But your friends aren't contributing to society... they are simply surviving.

Your friends aren't raising a family.
Your friends aren't buying goods and services which come with a house of their own.

Living on the bare minimum isn't growing the economy, it is stagnating the economy.
tacosteev Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist
OK. What do you propose to be done for these folk not contributing to society? Give them a huge raise? That'll devalue the currency and just make everything cost more...their situation wouldn't change. What can be done?
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