James Robertson’s story is emblematic of a new reality in the manufacturing business: Factory jobs no longer represent a guaranteed ladder to economic vitality.
Call it the Robertson economy.
The 56-year-old Detroiter’s story of walking 21 miles each day to an injection-molding job — first told Feb. 1 in the Free Press — captivated, inspired and horrified readers. The public spontaneously raised more than $350,000 for Robertson’s cause — all while raining down contempt through social media on his employer, Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills, for paying him just $10.55 per hour.
The fact is, experts say and statistics show that low-wage manufacturing jobs are part of a new normal in the labor markets of the U.S. and metro Detroit following decades of globalization and the Great Recession.
Many companies have even stopped hiring full time and are relying more on temporary workers who do not necessarily receive benefits.
“We may not like factory work at $10 per hour when we’re used to them paying $28, but that’s the market wage,” said Lou Glazer, president of the nonpartisan Ann Arbor-based think tank Michigan Future.
Following the explosion of publicity and social media criticism and threats directed at Schain, company managers were reluctant to talk to the Free Press about their business.
Robertson’s extreme commute is shocking and reflects a fundamentally broken mass-transit system. But his job? His job is the new normal in manufacturing. Globalization forces producers into a desperate, penny-for-penny competition for customers.
In the Robertson economy, either the wages stay low, or the work goes away, somewhere overseas or South of the border. Manufacturing wages have stagnated at lower levels because it’s easy for companies to outsource work to low-cost manufacturers around the globe.
Union proponents see Robertson’s compensation as symbolic of a structural problem plaguing America that public policymakers must address.
Cindy Estrada, a vice president of the UAW, decried the impact of low-wage manufacturing jobs on families.
Estrada, who leads contract bargaining with General Motors and multibillion-dollar automotive suppliers, said that, regrettably, a $10.55-per-hour wage is not unusual for workers in the U.S. auto parts industry. Companies such as Lear and Faurecia pay workers less than $15 per hour in some factories, she said.
“The wage is not an anomaly,” Estrada said. “There is a Wal-Marting of the manufacturing sector that people need to learn about.”
But the consternation over low manufacturing wages disguises what has become an emerging trade-off: Low wages breed more jobs.
Let’s get real.
The minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.90 today when adjusted for inflation [see the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index inflation calculator.]
Except you were talking about Los Angeles, which has a much higher cost of living than the national average.
In California, cost of living is fairly high for most areas, and Los Angeles is no exception. Overall, the Cost of Living in Los Angeles is 50 percent above the national average. The cost of housing has the greatest impact on the overall cost of living. Housing in Los Angeles is 157 percent higher than the national average, a significant difference compared to most other United States cities.
So if you do the math it becomes obvious that a $15.37 minimum wage is still below the level that would bring the minimum wage up to parity with 1968 national standards ($10.90 X 1.5 for the +50% modifier = $16.35/hr)
Which is funny, because you chastised Skip Intro for the very mistake you then proceeded to flagrantly commit yourself, conflating the national wage with local conditions.
Dude this is an article and Page about Los Angeles and within it’s city council. Not the whole country! That’s a big misread.
Read more at littlegreenfootballs.com
An airline group, representing six major airlines and parcel services, filed a lawsuit aiming to block the Port of Seattle from implementing a pay increase that would make Seattle-Tacoma airport workers some of the highest paid in the country.
So at first this seems like something which would not be unexpected move by these companies. A dick move to be sure, but not unexpected. But then you get to the next paragraph and find out how much these “highest paid” workers would actually be getting:
Reuters reports that Airlines for America filed the suit to prevent the Port commission, which runs Seattle-Tacoma airport, from increasing airport workers’ pay to $11.22 per hour in January and to $13 per hour in 2017.
For a full time, 40 hour a week job, an hourly wage of $11.22 is equivalent to $21 500a year before ANY deductions.
For a full time, 40 hour a week job, an hourly wage of $13 is equivalent to $24 960 a year before any deductions.
Now, while the $13/hr number might seem borderline workable, it’s important to point out the workers would not get this rate for another THREE years. Once inflation is factored in, $13/hr in 2017 is NOT a high wage.
Heck, I make more than that NOW and my job is not exactly glorious. I keep my bills paid but I still struggle sometime. I can hardly imagine what these people go through.
And of course the airlines are screaming bloody murder, that if god forbid they are forced to pay their employees a couple of dollars more the sky will start falling:
The suit, which was filed in district court in Seattle, argues the wage hikes conflict with state and federal law and labor agreements.
“The rules, unless restrained, will cause irreparable harm to Airlines for America’s member air carriers,” the complaint states.
The industry group includes American Airlines Group, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines Inc. along with delivery services United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp. The suit was joined by Baggage Airline Guest Services, an airport contractor that provides luggage handling and wheelchair escorts to travelers.
The Port commission maintains that it acted within its authority when they passed the pay increase measure back in July, in part to reduce employee turnover rates.
In corporate speak “irreparable harm” means: “It would cost us money and we don’t want to do it.”
What’s even worse about this situation, is that these employees should ALREADY be making higher wages than these companies are suing to stop, but a (likely business “owned”) court put a stop to that for some reason:
In fact, voters in SeaTac, where the Seattle-Tacoma airport is located, approved an initiative last year that increased the minimum wage for many workers to $15 per hour. However, airport employees were later excluded from the increase by a court order.
You’ve got to love how a story like this twists conservatives in pretzels. They’re all about state and local rights but here we have a case when the locals voted FOR THE INCREASE and a court stepped in and blocked it. Of course, since the Republicans love them some corporations I’m sure they’ll find some what to richsplain this one away.
Is this what our nation has come to? Bitter and drawn out legal battles over something as reasonable and rational as an ultimately moderate wage increase?
A pretty poor showing for the self proclaimed Greatest County in The World.
Alaska voters raised the minimum to $9.75 an hour by 2016. Arkansas raised it to $8.50 an hour by 2017. Nebraska hiked it to $9 per hour by 2016. And South Dakota will raise to $8.50 per hour by 2015.
But in Arkansas and Nebraska, there’s a catch: The value of those minimum wages will actually decline in subsequent years, because the new wages are not indexed to inflation. Inflation isn’t always a bad thing, but it does erode the value of a fixed hourly wage over time.
Fernandes, 32, worked for years at three separate Dunkin Donuts, in Harrison, Newark and Linden. Between jobs she would pull her 2001 Kia Sportage off the road into parking lots and take naps.
On Monday, after working an overnight shift in Linden, she pulled into a corner of a WaWa convenience store parking lot off Routes 1 & 9 about 8:30 a.m. to sleep. She was found about eight hours later, apparently overcome by fumes from the vehicle, police said.
Once again Sarah Palin gave us some of her word salad. In response to Elizabeth Warren suggesting that we raise the minimum wage for everyone including people who work at fast food restaurants she had this to say. See if everything she said makes sense to you.
Now I would argue that technically liberals also usually regard minimum wage jobs as “stepping stones” as well, and the fact that we support minimum wage laws doesn’t change that. I would also argue that just about no one besides the folks at PeTA and other extreme “animal rights” organizations would ever regard someone as evil for not going vegan or working at a restaurant that serves meat. However, I think someone else could do better explaining what she said. Here’s some brilliant analysis from the world’s smartest cat.
One fast-food CEO has a message for the workers toiling away in his industry: The minimum wage hike you’ve been clamoring for will only hurt you.
The consequences of raising the minimum wage include more youth unemployment, higher prices and increased automation, says Andy Puzder, the head of CKE restaurants, the parent company of Hardees and Carl’s Jr.
“Government needs to get out of the way,” Puzder told Yahoo! Finance in an interview Monday. “If government gets out of the way, businesses will create jobs and wages will go up.”
So far, the federal government has largely stayed out of the way. Congress has not taken up President Barack Obama’s call to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25. And with the exception of a few companies, like Costco, In-N-Out Burger and Boloco, businesses haven’t taken the initiative to create higher paying jobs.
Puzder made $4.4 million in 2012, according to Forbes. That’s about 291 times what a minimum wage worker makes in a year, if they’re earning the federal minimum and working full-time. The average fast food CEO made 721 times what minimum wage workers took in in 2013, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute.
Puzder doesn’t address this imbalance. Instead he argues that raising the minimum wage would price teens and young adults out of a job because more experienced adults will want to flip burgers and make these higher wages. In states that have already raised the minimum that’s what’s happening, he said. More experienced workers are “willing” to take these higher paying fast food jobs, particularly after seeing their hours cut because of Obamacare.
Well let’s say all the fast-food joints install automatic burger making machines to replace their minimum wage burger flippers. Do you know what that means?
1. These machines cost about what 6 minimum wage workers make in an entire year.
2. These machines require maintenance—by trained professionals who make about $90K/yr
3. When one of these machines breaks down (as it inevitably will, because the fast-food CEO’s will want to cheap out on the maintenance in #2), who’s going to fix it? You can’t just fire the machine and replace it with another automatic burger machine.
4. That’s right, a highly trained robotics professional who charges $200/hr.
5. Automatic burger machines don’t even exist except for this one prototype which is not on the general market.
The median CEO pay package hit $10.5 million last year, according to the Associated Press, cracking eight figures for the first time since the wire service began calculating the statistic.
The median compensation number rose by 8.8 percent from 2012 and has now climbed by more than 50 percent over the past four years. By contrast, average weekly wages for working Americans rose just 1.3 percent last year, the AP notes. That disparity is all too typical of the modern U.S. economy. CEO compensation has increased 127 times faster than worker pay over the past three decades.
According to the wire service’s figures, the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay now stands at 257 to 1. That is a slightly more optimistic portrait of the relationship between earnings at the top and middle of the income distribution than other recent analyses. The real ratio of CEO to worker pay is more like 273 to 1, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and in some sectors of the economy it is as high as 1,200 to 1.
There are a variety of different methods for determining what a typical CEO earns, and the AP’s estimate confirms some other recent analysis of 2013 compensation for the top officers at large public companies. A USA Today review earlier this year found the same $10.5 million median figure. But that earlier analysis was based on a smaller pool of companies — 200 of the S&P 500, as opposed to 337 of those companies captured in the AP study — so Monday’s figures strengthen the evidence that median CEO pay has breached the $10 million mark.
Corporations can afford to reduce the gap between top earners and frontline employees. Even after taxes, corporate profits hit a record $1.68 trillion last year. These companies are holding about $2 trillion in profit offshore to avoid U.S. taxes. Big business icons like Walmart and McDonald’s could start paying their workers enough to escape poverty with only negligible 1 to 2 percent increases in their prices.
HURR HURR!!!! TEH CEO’S WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER!!!! THEY DESERVE ALL TEH MONEYS, NOT TEH LAZY MOOCHER WORKERS WHO HAVE MINIMUM SKILLS, MINIMUM MOTIVATION & MINIMUM VALUE!!!!!!!!
Fox News accused jobseekers of “laziness,” hyping a survey showing more unemployed American workers becoming detached from the labor force while complaining that unemployment insurance has removed the motivation to take low-paying jobs.
On the May 22 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Sandra Smith claimed that “part of the problem” with lingering unemployment in the United States is “laziness” on the part of unemployed workers. Smith claimed that choosing to collect unemployment insurance was evidence that potential jobseekers are “not incentivized” to accept positions that might they might refuse otherwise:
Smith used a survey from Express Employment Professionals as evidence of her claim that unemployment benefits breed “laziness,” but her statements distort the actual survey findings. While 47 percent of respondents did agree with the statement “I’ve completely given up on looking for a job,” they often cited the lack of available work as the reason for giving up hope. According to the survey results, “46 percent say there are no available jobs,” and one respondent even stated, “After searching for four years and being unsuccessful, I am tired of trying.”
Smith’s implicit argument, that cutting unemployment benefits would urge workers to find new jobs, has already been disproven at the national level. In December 2013, the House of Representatives refused to pass a Senate extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) for millions of Americans. More than 1.3 million Americans lost EUC benefits in the past several months. Of those, only 24 percent were currently employed as of March — 49 percent remained engaged in unsuccessful job searches, and 26 percent had dropped entirely from the labor market.
I can’t even begin to describe how this meme fills me with rage. By keeping unemployed people destitute and desperate, the JRRB CREEYATERZ hope that more of them will take minimum wage shit jrrbz at Walmart or McDonald’s instead of continuing to search for better, high-paying positions for which they are qualified. Then they can point to the minimum wage workers as “unskilled” “minimum motivation” “lazy” “moochers” and other denigrating stereotypes as shown in this sickening right-wing meme: