Friday, July 23, 2004

Raises not keeping up with inflation -

Raises not keeping up with inflation this article uses a bunch of statistics to tell you what you already know. Your money just isn't going as far as it used to. Actually real wages adjusted for inflation has been in decline since 1973 while the average number of hours worked has been increasing. So we are working longer for less money. Coincidentally the decline in real wages and increase in hours tracks right along with the decline of union membership. I am always amazed that corporations and politicians can convince members of the working class that unions are bad for them. There is a union chemical plant in our town that starts its entry level operators at 32,000 dollars, ten grand more than our non- union plant. And benefits, we won't even go there.

The Wall Street Journal was congratulating itself last week on what it thought was a brilliant piece of investigative journalism. Are you ready for this? High Gas Prices Hurt Low Wage Workers. Duh! Did you know that people making minimum wage can't  afford newer more fuel efficient cars? And get this; most low wage workers can't afford to live in the areas where they work and must often commute thirty or miles one-way to work. So two dollars a gallon for gas can really put the squeeze on them. Hey welcome to my world. I make twelve dollars an hour, have a moderate efficient, semi new car (2001 Taurus SES, Avg. 25 MPG) and live 37 miles from work and gas prices are killing me.

The same edition of the WSJ had a half page ad offering to show investors how to make a killing off high fuel prices. I guess one man’s misery is another man’s profit

I don't know how people making less do it. The fact that the minimum wage is $5.15 an hour is a crime. I'd like to see President Bush and his silver spoon buddies try and support a family on minimum wage. I have feeling the minimum wage would go up in quick order if they ever had to experience it from the little people’s point of view!

Here is a note for business owners- if you are paying anyone $5.15 an hour there is one of two possibilities. One, you can't afford to pay more because your business model no longer works and you should find another line of work to invest in. Or, Two you are cheap bastard that doesn't appreciate the fact that people are giving you a large portion of their lives for your meager offerings. In which case may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your shorts.

If you are fortunate enough never to have experienced life on the bottom end of the wage scale you should read Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. She was a successful middle class journalist who left her comfortable life behind to spend a year as a low wage worker to see how the other half lives. I saw her speak on Campus once and she is an incredible woman. After reading her book you will never look at a hotel maid, or fast food worker the same. In fact you might actually look at them and realize what their life is like.

Yeah, I'm a Liberal and Damn Proud Of It!


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Work Blows

This has been a disappointing week for me. My boss was out the first part of the week and I had been looking forward to some quality slacking time. Unfortunately we were swamped and I actually had to work all day. I hate it when that happens!

Just when I was sure the company would tank before Labor Day we have had an influx of orders that will prolong the inevitable. I was looking forward to being laid off by summer’s end. I figured with severance pay and unemployment I could slack for several months. Oh Well, maybe by Christmas.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Martha Stewart

I've tried not to pay much attention to the whole Martha Stewart story. I figure she obviously did it, the amount she made compared to what she is worth was nil, making it a very stupid thing to do. No one's pension plan was gutted, no one died, and in the scheme of things I have more important things to do than follow celebrity news. Besides all the folks from Enron and WorldCom are still running around free. Now those guys hurt a lot people.

What little sympathy I might have had for Martha evaporated at her sentencing hearing. Sorry if the "I'm too important too my company to go to jail" defense doesn't win her a lot of support from a mere working cog like me. Let one of Martha's "little people" try that defense and see how fast the judge laughs them out of the courtroom and into the slammer.

What really ticked me at Ms.Stewart was when she had the audacity to compare herself to Nelson Mandella. Ok, lets see a man imprisoned for 23 years by a brutal racist regime, a respected world leader, and inspiration for millions of oppressed people around the world. Or, a domestic diva who makes her fortune selling sheets and pillowcases at a store she wouldn't caught dead in, having to spend five months in a country club prison teaching crafts to other inmates. Umm, yeah I see the resemblance!

Note to Martha. GET OVER YOURSELF!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

No Pizza For Me

Every quarter that we are accident free the company has a pizza party as a reward. Since we are in the middle of pretty severe fiscal crisis, as in nearly out of cash, this quarter’s pizza feed was cancelled. Hey fair enough, when times are tight the extras like that have to go.

But then we find out that the company is having all the windows tinted in the executive building at a cost of just under $2000. Evidently it is too much to expect these high priced suits to get up off their ass and lower the blinds when it is too bright. Besides that would spoil their view.

Add to that the storage room they converted into a conference room for a mere $7000. That gives us four conference rooms when two are the most that are in use at any one time.

Personally I could give a crap about the pizza. But we have had a wage freeze for over two years and these bozos are wasting money on this kind of garbage. And all those conferences they go too, it wouldn’t be right for an executive to be sitting in coach with the common working man now would it?

I’m one of the few people who have gotten a raise in the past two years. I started making a lot of noise about organizing a union and I think they got scared I might actually do it, I’m kinda known as something of a radical in the company.

I immediately told all my co-workers how much of a raise I got which really pissed of the plant manager. They want you to keep that kind of information to yourself. Who benefits from that policy? Certainly not the lowly working stiffs. That is part of the corporate strategy, divide and conquer!

Monday, July 12, 2004

What Price Loyalty

In the Sunday paper I saw a little blurb where an employer had written in to the experts to ask if he could terminate an employee as soon as the employee gave a 2-week notice. The legal guru said that was perfectly acceptable in our state since we are a “right to work” state, what ever the hell that means. What is the point of being courteous and giving 2 weeks notice? I’ve always said that if offered a better job I’d walk off the job with no notice. After all how much notice do corporations give you when they lay you off?

We had layoffs here last year. I unfortunately was not one of the lucky souls to get severance pay and a year of unemployment. One of the guys laid off had been here longer than anyone else including the CEO. And he actually loved coming to work. He had one year left till retirement. What did his twenty years of loyalty get him? Well, he came to work one morning and they told him he no longer worked here and he had thirty minutes to get his stuff off the premises and wasn’t to come back, even for a visit unless he had a company escort.

It was sad to see this sixty -one year old man crying and trying to figure out why a company he had been devoted to for so long could just discard him like a piece of trash.

That my friends is the day Joe Slacker was born. I realized I needed to look out for myself first even if it meant doing it on company time. Any corporation that shows more loyalty to its shareholders than its employees should expect no less.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Jack Asses with Cell Phones

I'm in our way to tiny break room trying to enjoy my 15 minutes of company authorized slacking when a fellow worker pulls out his cellphone. What is it about cellphones that makes people think it is acceptable to have private conversations in public? And why do these same idiots think they have to talk twice as loud on a cellphone as they do in normal conversation? Ugh! I am so sick of rude, inconsiderate morons and their cells. I can't even count the number of people I see everyday driving and talking and paying absolutely no attention to the road in front of them. I've had a few close calls with drivers yakking away on the damn cellphone. Have you ever been in the grocery store and seen someone describing everyone single item to someone on the phone before the purchased it? I've often fantasized about a building a cell phone blocker. Turns out they actually sell them. Although I don't want one of these little ones that only block for fifty feet. I need a thousand watt jammer in my car so I can make the whole county a cell free zone. I realize there are legitimate uses for the damn things but do we really need fifteen hundred minutes a month? That's like 25 hours. Maybe I can get my congressman to pass a law restricting people to say 30 minutes a month. Maybe then they would think about if they really needed to make a call.

question of the day

So my question is, after a 4 day weekend can you really be expected to do much on the first day back to work? I just got back from a four day hiking trip on the Rogue River in Oregon last night. I'm totally beat today. I've spent the morning BSing with co-workers and accomplishing almost nothing. All without the slightest amount of guilt!


Friday, July 02, 2004

Big Time Slacking

I'm slacking out early this week. I'm heading out on a four day camping and goldpanning expedition. Hope you all have an enjoyable and safe July 4th. See you tuesday

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