Minimum Wage Workers Basic Economics
Minimum Wage Workers
Minimum wage workers have participated in much clamoring about the “minimum wage” issue. Various politicians have also been vocal about the minimum wage workers and their plight when it serves their own purposes. One observed comment about it states, “Don’t like the minimum wage? If you’ve got minimum skills, minimum education, show minimum motivation, and provide a minimum contribution to the workplace, why the hell should someone be forced to pay you more?” This statement makes more sense than any of the clamoring from the demonstrations of “fast food” and restaurant employees. Additionally, it is consistent with traditional compensation management philosophy. If what one is being paid as a fast food (a misnomer in most cases) worker doesn’t meet their requirements, they should quit the job and look for another. That is what most people in other occupations are required to do. If one can’t find work paying enough, they should go to school, learn a trade, or educate themselves in other ways that will improve their skills and lead to more opportunities. Many jobs don’t require advanced education – one needs only to apply themselves to the needs of the employer. They shouldn’t wait for and depend on others to provide for them.
The path forward also applies very much to restaurant workers such as wait staff who have become dependent on tips for the majority of their income. Restaurant owners will state that it is to ensure good service. That is nonsense. In many cases it is obvious that tips make no difference. This practice pits the workers against the customers to determine their income, relieving the owners from management of their employees. The level of service is pretty much “fixed” at the level of serving the meal and perhaps checking back a couple of times. If one has a need for additional service, they must try to get the waiter’s attention and ask for it. The restaurant owner’s assertions are only hiding their exploitation of their employees. If the restaurant is not generating enough income to pay the workers a proper wage, it should go out of business as other businesses do. The marketplace should determine the survivability of an enterprise. It has been pointed out that shoe salespeople and others spend more time satisfying customer needs than the typical waiter. Since many of the so-called minimum (or below minimum) wage workers are also subscribed to the social services (food stamps, EBT cards, subsidized health insurance, subsidized housing, etc.), the working, tax paying public is subsidizing support of the workers and relieving the establishment owners from paying the actual cost of their labor. This is also true of those enterprise owners that utilize illegal workers who obtain social services paid for by the tax-paying population. Many of these individuals, in all of the above categories, as well as others, have the funds to cover their bodies with tattoos, insert penetrations, booze it up, party, and participate in other non-productive activities, but can’t support themselves. It is uncomfortable having some of these categories of people providing food services.
Traditional Compensation Management
Traditionally compensation management has been conducted through the application of job descriptions and duties. For a particular level of performance, the duties were spelled out, along with the level of authority expected to be exercised in performing the duties. In turn, these authorities and duties were tied to a level of pay. In this manner the contribution of the employee was paid at a measured rate of pay. As expected, performance levels increased, so did the pay. If the employee did not perform at the level for which he or she was being paid, another job was most likely in order – either voluntary or mandated. Perhaps a change of employer.
The idea of employees demanding a minimum wage level is contrary to the principals of capital ownership. This is inherent in the existence of labor unions. An example of the negative impact of unions on public capital exists in the form of unionization of garbage collection workers. Arguments for higher and higher pay, and eventually unionization of the workers, was based on the back-breaking labor involved (they had choices for other employment). However, after unionization most cities where unionization took place probably converted to mechanized pickup (green barrels). But demands for increases in costs and wages didn’t go away, they just had a different rationalization and justification. It is the opinion of many that the reasons have more to do with the introduction of additional “middlemen” of questionable credentials than with valid justifications. The auto industry is another example.