Monday, September 15, 2014

Here's the Plight of too Many Workers today

The NDP posted a Facebook petition to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour.
I signed the petition and shared it on FB with the comment, "I support this....and more importantly, so can record corporate profits, record executive salaries, record dividend payouts, and record stock market levels. I'd also support a reduced work week that hasn't been adjusted in 60 years to provide more jobs to replace all those stolen by technology.
And while we're at it, I'd support government action to stop employers, including the government itself, from defining an increasing number of jobs as part time, contract, and casual, just to escape benefits costs.  In America. huge wealthy employers like Microsoft and IBM have been taken to court for workplace discrimination for having workers working side-by-side doing the same work but with different employment benefits, salaries, and employment conditions.

If this workplace or social discrimination had been based on race, religion, sexual preference, etc., instead of on workplace discrimination, it would have been prosecuted as intolerable years ago.  But workplace slavery, discrimination, unfairness, and injustices today are still the norm, as the rich bosses sit on their as--s in their fancy offices holding their crystal of expensive wine anticipating the money their serfs have made them today.

It's time that employees got to share in the wealth they create with increasing wages more than match the cost of living. Let's up the wage.
Add your name:
As a result of this post, I received the following heartfelt comment from S.M. from Smith's Falls that reflects the concerns of most workers today.
He wrote, "You know Bill, I agree completely but, what happens when the cost of things goes up at all these retail stores because of the increase or some jobs are extinguished. Either way and in the end, once the prices go up, the wage increase is of little value.
Now that said, I have no clue what the answer is, but certainly wages have not kept up to costs even by a wee bit.
I run a company in plumbing wholesale and yet, I know people who make far more than I do without all the responsibility. It sucks.
Is there a truly GOOD answer? I'm not convinced!
Greed has been incredible in big business, but in general the money does not seem to be out there, so someone is sitting on it.
When you hear of the poor folks in retail or manufacturing jobs, so many are terribly under paid but, what of taxes too? I had to work part time 2 years ago to try and make ends meet and guess what? I ended up with a $4800 tax bill. I only worked for 20 hours a week at $11.50. And that $4800 was AFTER my pay cheques had been taxed because I made too much... RIGHT!
Please, someone needs to find a solid solution to this because as wages go up, prices go up, then taxes increase by percentage etc. It is a nasty cycle. It has to end somewhere.
As it stands now, I have no pension other than a small one through WCB (WSIB now) that is losing money and they will not allow you to withdraw it in favour of a better paying locked in fund.
So, it looks like I am on the Freedom 95!
S.M. posed great concerns affecting the majority of workers today and caused me to put on my thinking cap and came up with some ideas I'd never thought of before, but which will probably become part of my future arsenal in working for fairer wages and fairer treatment of workers, both key objectives of this website...and so I responded.
Hello S.M. I'm sympathetic to the plight of all workers these days...and unfortunately, without major change, the future looks even bleaker for our sons and daughters.
I have some confidence in market place competition keeping prices in check.
A key problem, contributing the problem are corporation tax cuts that only serve to balloon corporate salaries and bonuses, flood corporate bank accounts with record amounts of dead cash, provide record dividend payouts to investors, and not one iota of productivity improvement or jobs creation, or investment for future returns. For sure, these tax cuts have been influential in helping grow the wealth and salary gaps between the top 1% and the rest of us.
These corporate tax cuts must made up by ordinary Canadians that then cuts into their available consumption dollars. In the end, as the middle class is decimated, and consumption drops, the economy will fail and all of those corporate businessmen will themselves be out of work.
I believe the following measures would insure that corporations exercise societal responsibility to insure that workers share in some of the fruits of the economy, and that there is a thriving middle consuming class to keep the economy flourishing. So I'd recommend the following:
  • Increase corporate tax
  • Tax dividends at the taxpayer's ordinary tax rate
  • Tax corporate banking of dead cash above pre-determined levels according to corporate size and documented and tracked plans to put the dead funds to future use (never heard of this before but it would encourage corporations to spend the extra cash in productivity improvements and worker salary/benefits---or lose some of it!)
  • Tax all technology that displaces workers without decreasing their hours to reduce pre-technology levels to keep up employment and put downward pressure on work week hours
  • Put a tax on every part time/contract/casual job created and put a tax reduction on every permanent (2 yrs) full time job created
  • Compel benefits to be paid by a company for every job (part time/contract/casual) at a pro-rated level with those of full time workers
Now these ideas would shake up employment and corporate thinking wouldn't they? Some of the ideas are ingenious---never thought of them thanks S.M. for asking the question to pry these ideas out of my head.
Bill Longworth
905 579 3971

Writer's PS---Subject for another post....another day! 

We have to start the transition to the impact of increasing technology that will eventually eliminate jobs for the vast majority of Canadians when only a small percentage of people will work. Ultimately, even service McJobs will be lost to computerized technology, and the big challenge will be in figuring out how to fairly and equitably share the increasing fruits of the economy with the increasing numbers of non-workers.  Even though few people will work, they still must consume 1) to supply their basic food/health needs, etc., and 2) to keep the wheels of the economy rolling. The point is, we must start the transition now in reducing hours to keep up employment while still providing liveable wages as part of that treasured day probably not too many years in the future when few will work. There are lessons to be learned and an early start will help us transition to the "new age" with mini-steps and avoid the "shock" of revolutionary overnight transformative adjustments.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Precariat----Is This the New Future of Work?

Is this what work is coming to? --- A new class of workers---The “precariat,” workers who perform ad hoc single "gig" jobs in which labor brokers encourage people to work on contingency without basic employment benefits or protections. The companies essentially channel one-off tasks to the fastest taker or lowest bidder, pitting workers against one another in a kind of labor elimination match. Such workers perform a variety of jobs, not knowing whether they will be called, or if they are called, what they will be asked to do in the next hour, never mind for the rest of the day or week! This is the supreme level of insecurity without any job guarantee what-so-ever!