“You can train monkeys to run equipment these days. They work for bananas, and are probably smarter than most unskilled workers.”
You just keep thinking that way. Go ahead, go on dissing young workers. The Republican Party and its war on workers is now below 20% in statewide registrations. The GOP is California’s newest third party. Decline to State is the new second party. Demographics – and time – are on my side.
Meanwhile back in Realityville I can tell you that young workers – and I have talked to a shitload of them in the last year – like the idea of making more money, and they know how hard they are working and under what conditions.
Forty years ago when I was young working in a convenience store was a pretty shitty job. I did it. Lots of people do it. I don’t hold myself above people who are forced to or who choose to work at these kinds of jobs. These days these kinds of jobs are far shittier than they used to be, to the point of abuse. For one thing, as technology has progressed, the productivity of each worker has multiplied over the last few decades, thus each dollar paid in wages is producing more wealth for the owners of businesses. What this means in Realityville is that each worker is now doing the work of five people. Walk into CVS, each employee there wears many hats. Checker. Shelf Stocker. Janitor. Manager. Assistant Manager. Photo processor. Health consultant. beauty consultant, Banker. Security. Oh and my favorite – one of you gets to wear a headset and answer phone calls from the public while you are doing your other stuff. You can multitask can’t you? Oh and be sure to be helpful and pleasant or we’ll can your ass.
And the scheduling is inhuman these days. Back in the day you would get hired for one of these jobs they would give you a full time schedule – which back then mostly meant 5 days and 40 hours – or they would give you a part time schedule if that was the agreement and that would usually be static. Same hours and days every week. Now this is where technology comes into it especially about 10 years ago. People developed scheduling software to optimize crew sizes for all kinds of businesses, but especially for large fast food and retail employers. This software enables an employer to statistically estimate future business expectation in the near future on a day by day and hour by hour basis, which enables the employer to optimize her crew size (and wage expense) by use of part time workers and the use of split shifts, double shifts and double backs. It is a practice that is efficient for the employer but one that has no regard for the human workers. Constant change in working shifts can have severe effects on the physical and mental health of the workers. Constantly changing shifts make it impossible for even the ambitious worker to go out and find a second job, as they cannot commit to any hours with a second employer.
And of course even full time employees are often scheduled for 6 days a week, but only 5 or 6 hours a day. Does any reader here need to ask why?
I often hear the labor movement celebrate the 40 hour workweek. But the 40 hour week has come and gone. It is time to either mourn it or bring it back to life.
have a peaceful day, Bill