Monday, July 22, 2013

pay

Ending on Isaac Sweeney's career progress seemed a bit too beyond the pessimistic pale of this blog, so I thought I'd return to my usual doom and gloom with this alternet piece on privatizing to reduce wages among janitors and cafeteria workers at charter schools.

This common tactic, that leads to downward pressure on wages for all "nonessential personnel," was something I noticed even in the 1990s, and it has always bothered me. Maybe the new healthcare law solves this problem, but for now, for most of my adult life, I've lived in a country where we tolerate food workers without access to healthcare serving school children. You don't have to be a "skilled professional" in any field to see how an illness exacerbated by lack of timely medical treatment could be far more expensive to society once hundreds of kids also become sick.

Although Philly.com posted this video on how absurd it is to use an 80-hour work week to teach employees how to budget money, they were also kind enough to post the good news on wages by using the distorting mean instead of median, so with a straight-faced headline they let us know that the "average American worker" earns $1,000 bucks a week. A good clarifying comment notes that we only have 100 million full-time workers (in a population over 300 million), and the median pay among them is in fact $763. I "googled" to follow that back to its source, the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Somewhere along the surf, I also stumbled upon the fact that within the private sector, one in four makes less than ten dollars an hour, and many more of us live desperately, terrified we could sink back under that modest level (400 bucks for a 40-hour work week before any taxes, housing, food, transportation, or healthcare costs are taken out).

If this is America in recovery. . .

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