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Old 05-08-2013, 03:06 PM
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Taxpayers Indirectly Employing Low-Wage Workers Than Walmart And McDonald's Combined

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Lucila Ramirez, 55, has been cleaning the bathrooms and tables at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station for 21 years. Despite her long record of service, Ramirez says she makes only $8.75 per hour, and receives no benefits or sick days.

“I work in a federal building doing work on behalf of the government and if I was paid a living wage, I wouldn’t have to go looking for a second job in order to support my family,” Ramirez, 55, told The Huffington Post in Spanish via an interpreter.

Ramirez is one of nearly 2 million private-sector employees working on behalf of the government making less than $12 per hour or about $24,000 per year for a full-time worker, according a study from Demos, a public policy research organization. To put that into perspective, more low-wage employees work for taxpayers than Walmart and McDonald's combined. Though technically employed by private firms, the workers are paid by the government through means like funding for contractors, loans from the Small Business Administration and federal health care spending, the report found.

“Most Americans would be surprised to learn that so many of the people working on behalf of America are really poorly paid and aren’t really earning enough to support a family,” Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos told The Huffington Post. “Taxpayers have some responsibility for these people. They’re working for us, in a sense.”

The report summarizes that the government is contributing to a trend of proliferating low-wage jobs, especially problematic during and after the Great Recession. Three-fifths of all jobs lost during the downturn paid middle-income wages, according to an August report from the National Employment Law Project, while about the same share of the jobs created during the economic recovery were low-wage ones.

Some argue that forcing private companies doing work on behalf of the government to raise wages could mean a bigger bill for taxpayers during a time of belt-tightening. A 2008 study from Suffolk University cited by The Washington Post found that forcing the government to pay market wages on construction jobs boosted the cost of those projects.

Employees paid with government money work in a variety of low-paying industries, including food and janitorial services, home health care and retail, the Demos report found. And while their pay remains low, taxpayers are also partially subsidizing big paychecks for some workers' bosses. Federal contractors receive up to $763,029 from the government to reimburse compensation costs for any given employee, according to the report.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_3238478.html

Report: http://www.demos.org/sites/default/f...Jobs-Demos.pdf

The same story keep repeating itself and nothing is done agaisnt this issue which could be political. What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:03 PM
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This going to sound harsh.

There must be some reason why she has not found a better paying job sometime in the last 21 years. I sincerely doubt that it was because of loyalty that she stayed. I am also almost positive that her employer does not have shackled to the mop bucket.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ScriptMan View Post
This going to sound harsh.

There must be some reason why she has not found a better paying job sometime in the last 21 years. I sincerely doubt that it was because of loyalty that she stayed. I am also almost positive that her employer does not have shackled to the mop bucket.
Do you think they are going to be motivated to sweep the floor and smell detergent all day long for $9 an hour without any benefits? We are always in need of people doing this kind of job that no one else want to do. At least they should give them more than the minimum wage.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:15 PM
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Do you think they are going to be motivated to sweep the floor and smell detergent all day long for $9 an hour without any benefits? We are always in need of people doing this kind of job that no one else want to do. At least they should give them more than the minimum wage.
Part of her pathway to earning more money might be to learn English.

These types of articles are simplistic and don't address issues of job locales, local cost of living, job market saturation based on region. They act like people are sheep with no choice .... there is always a choice.

If she really wanted to make more than minimum wage, she needs to examine the job market and figure out what steps she should take to improve her situation.

Maybe she needs to start keeping kids in her home in a home childcare scenario for $5 per hour per child. Maybe she needs to turn her love of sewing into handbags and sell them on Etsy.

Who says that no one wants to do her job? I've met people in the world who would love to have a $9 an hour job washing tables and floors. It may not be a job that you are interested in but I've done pretty equivalent work in my time when I was younger.

For most places, her wage is above the minimum:

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/minimu...wage-rates.htm

As a note... if you look at this from another direction, many people working for the government make more than the private sector.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/federal-workers-study-private-sector-cbo_n_1242696.html


That's crazy.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Brave7 View Post
Do you think they are going to be motivated to sweep the floor and smell detergent all day long for $9 an hour without any benefits? We are always in need of people doing this kind of job that no one else want to do. At least they should give them more than the minimum wage.
I'd certainly be motivated -- to better my skills so that I'd be worth more than $9 an hour to a new employer. If your skills are minimal, your pay is limited. Things just work that way.

Yes, there will always be a need for people to do these jobs. There's no question about that. Last time I looked, though, nobody's holding the people doing them in slavery.

Also -- after 21 years, one might think that someone would be able to learn enough about doing the job to get promoted to a supervisory position.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:43 PM
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This can be one of the side effects of attempting to privatize the government. Instead of the government competing with private entities, the private entities get a monopoly on the low paying jobs, while up charging the tax payer.
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dvduval View Post
This can be one of the side effects of attempting to privatize the government. Instead of the government competing with private entities, the private entities get a monopoly on the low paying jobs, while up charging the tax payer.
And if the total cost to the taxpayer is less than the cost of providing the same service "in house" why should that be a problem?
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by txshellie View Post
Part of her pathway to earning more money might be to learn English.
While I agree with you on this politically, I can tell you that many spanish speakers could find a good pay job without learning English. For example in construction, some are very well paid.

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If she really wanted to make more than minimum wage, she needs to examine the job market and figure out what steps she should take to improve her situation.
Remember that everybody have a different story in their respective state. The job market is something you cannot master, and when you make low wage and you have a family it is extremely difficult to take other trainings, plus most employers want people trained and experienced. Yes even cleaning for a company or working in hotels, you have to show a decent experience and you have to be fast.


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As a note... if you look at this from another direction, many people working for the government make more than the private sector.
Once again I agree with you, except that the private sector never keept pace with inflation. So the wage amount stay the same, but in reality the buying power decrease every single year. I believe that the percentage of loss is around 200% for 30 years.

Yes that's crazy.

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I'd certainly be motivated -- to better my skills so that I'd be worth more than $9 an hour to a new employer. If your skills are minimal, your pay is limited. Things just work that way.
Bob, today employers can get experienced and skilled people for whatever wage. Why an employer will pay a person that just learned more skills but not yet experienced in his/her new skills, when there are thousands of people looking for work already experienced and already skilled?


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Yes, there will always be a need for people to do these jobs. There's no question about that. Last time I looked, though, nobody's holding the people doing them in slavery.
This is modern slavery when a wage is never reajusted for decades!

Sure a kid living in parents home could make $9 per hour just for pocket money.

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Also -- after 21 years, one might think that someone would be able to learn enough about doing the job to get promoted to a supervisory position.
If supervisory position exist in the company or if supervisory position isn't already taken, otherwise you will need to start over at $9 in a different company, or wait that the supervisor change company.
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Last edited by Franc Tireur; 05-09-2013 at 04:35 PM.
 
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ScriptMan View Post
And if the total cost to the taxpayer is less than the cost of providing the same service "in house" why should that be a problem?
When there is increased competition for workers, it drives wages up. If there is a contract in place where a company tries to provide the least amount of benefit to receive the most amount of money, this is not necessarily a win for the tax payer. If all we do is focus on the lowest price and the lowest wage, that is exactly what we will get, and we are better than that.
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