Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's fair that workers share some of the productivity improvements resulting from technological change!

This column from the New York Times outlines how employers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of computer scheduling software to allocate short shifts to part time employees to match staffing needs to periods of increased customer traffic. Using the technology, part time workers may be scheduled to work for short shifts of an hour or two over a lunch hour in a restaurant, for example, and their hours may be reduced if they are unable to work these short shifts at the beck and call of the employer. With the increasing use of technology, employers are gaining all of the benefits without sharing these benefits with workers through a decrease in the work week. Technology innovations and employer greed in defining work as part time to avoid benefits costs are the greatest cause of job loss and not the export of jobs to cheaper labour markets, as critics of the practice would have us believe. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the work week was close to 100 hours per week for every men, woman, and child. The full work week decreased to the today's standard 37.5 or 40 hour week as workers were able to reap some of the benefits of productivity improvements. Today's work environment has enslaved many workers to poverty level pay with no benefits while many employers are reaping record profits. It's just not fair, and the government must assume fuller responsibility for ensuring fair job practices. In the end, the economy will collapse with the shrinkage of the middle class leaving this tranditional bank of consumers with little disposable income. Wake up governments! Don't allow greed of a few to jeopardize our entire economic system by depriving people of good paying jobs.