What is the future for people who perform unskilled labor at a minimum wage? Will they be able to earn enough money to live a comfortable life? Or has corporate profitability destined these individuals to become modern day slaves who never get ahead. I was listening to a story on NPR’s program Marketplace where they explored such a question.
Stephanie Luce is a labor sociologist at the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute. She has studied union movements around the world and co-authored, with the Retail Action Network, a study based on surveys of retail workers in New York titled Discounted Jobs: How Retailers Sell Workers Short.
During the study they found that; “Among low-wage employers — retail, hospitality, food service — employers are requiring their employees to say they’re available for a full-time schedule, even when they know they’re never going to schedule them for full-time.”
“Managers are asked to schedule based on customer-flow, on weather, on trends in the economy, and to change the schedule day-to-day,” says Luce. “They don’t want employees that are going to say ‘I can’t come in, I have another job.’ They want employees that’ll say, ‘OK, I’ll come in if you need me. I won’t come in if you don’t need me.’”
“I was just reading a retail consulting report,” says Luce, “that said this was the main area in which businesses could achieve profit — using labor-scheduling technologies. Employers want to reduce their cost. It was excess inventory in the ‘90s. And now it’s excess employment. This is a way for them to cut down on labor costs, and in theory shift it from a fixed cost to a variable cost that could shift with consumer demand.”
For the full story go to; More people need second jobs, fewer can find them and then tell me what you think.