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How bout you?

by JP Bill / November 18, 2012 3:57 AM PST
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If I was that unhappy with my job,
by Steven Haninger / November 18, 2012 6:11 AM PST
In reply to: How bout you?

I'd be looking elsewhere. They can't force anyone to stay. The only one who can really twist your arm that hard is the government.

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Well right now looking is about all you can do
by Roger NC / November 18, 2012 6:22 AM PST

and let's face it, service jobs anywhere tend to be low on pay and benefits.

There have been repeated accusations that WalMart hires multiple part-timers instead of one full timer to save paying the benefits they do give their full time employees.

Short notice scheduling changes unfortunately seem epidemic in service jobs also, partly because of people giving little notice when they are going to be out or quitting. Also unexpected customer volume often results in people being expected to work over with little notice, difficult for those with families, esp kids at home. This also causes other schedule changes because the company will have you work over today and not work a previous schedule shift later in the week to avoid overtime.Then someone else is moved to cover your shift, etc etc

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You're just pointing out that which is reality
by Steven Haninger / November 18, 2012 6:49 AM PST

Unless one has a predictable amount of work that needs to be done on a regular basis, they need to have workers who are flexible. In the case where that isn't true, it might be more efficient to have a steady crew and people who can be called on short notice or be asked to go home when things are slow. That's not a job for a person supporting a family, of course, but I don't know any employer who considers it their job to take care of other people's families. Employees need to take personal responsibility for their family's needs and not make that the job of their employer. The job of business is to keep customers happy. There are two kinds. One is the internal (employee) and the other the external...those who visit the cash register. A store knows that having idle cashiers costs them money and so does having too few. They need to anticipate foot traffic and adjust to changes in it. This helps them be efficient and competitive. If your service is bad or prices too high, the guy next door will see that and make the necessary changes to his operation to take away your customers. That's reality. Is reality a problem here?

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What you don't acknowledge, or perhaps even recognize is
by Ziks511 / November 18, 2012 8:06 AM PST

it is precisely that uncertainty which is part and parcel of the WalMart plan to keep wages low. If you can pit the various employees against one another based on an absence of secure hours, if you hire 100 "associates" to do the work of 75 full time workers, then you don't have to pay benefits to them because none of them are full time, you don't have to observe many of the regulations regarding work conditions because they never can attain full time status, and thus escape the safety net intended for workers.

It's a scam, a scandal and an outrage, but folks who don't have to live that life don't recognize just what a form of continual harassment it is. Life isn't a lot better for store managers, and thus they are encouraged to oppress their employees. I'd like to avoid that word oppress, because it's too Marxist in its associations for most people, despite being a perfectly good English word and an accurate description of what keeping someone down and under-paid is. But there is no other word which encapsulates what is being done.

Hospital work used to be a regular thing for me. As the taps were tightened, and those with technical education took jobs those of us with experience were doing, my own hours became changeable. It used to be that it required a week's notice for a schedule change, but now Department of Labour, sorry, I'm up here now, Ministry of Labour Regulations, seem to be routinely ignored. Now I could complain, and find I didn't get the hours, or I could have gone to the Ministry and suddenly found myself laid off, or I could try to accommodate them. It was a wretched existence, but I did it. This was part of why we ultimately moved to Britain.

Nevertheless, as an educated person with an understanding of the history of late 19rh Century enterprise and the roots of Labour law, I understood the game that was being played. There are numerous historical precedents, but there was a time when employers were effectively forced by legislation to be fair in their work practices. Then the idea of outsourcing took hold, and a particularly nasty model of cost cutting in businesses that could not be outsourced took shape. Hire the employees as independent contractors, or hire more than you need and don't give any of them full time hours and keep them in Part Timer Hell. As I said, it is a ploy, and a very clever one which demoralizes the employees and greatly reduces their ability for cohesive action. Effectively it means there is a need to create Unions all over again, and re-fight battles that were won 60 to 80 years ago.

Employees have to have some kind of collective representation, or this will happen everywhere to everyone eventually. If you can keep the jobless rate above 5% there will always be millions just waiting to take a job regardless of the hours or the conditions.

You think all this stuff happens by accident? Employers learn this stuff in business schools across the nation, and middle class people who worked so hard to claw their way into the middle class that they, or their kids, want to repudiate their working class heritage, diaparage the force that allowed them to crawl out of the working class, the power of collective action, and the ability to negotiate for a bigger share of the profit pie.

In the 70's contrived bankruptcy vied with the leveraged buy out as a ploy to strip employees' pension funds from them and turn those moneys over to the owners of the companies. That's how the game has been played, but the middle class whose own foundations were being attacked were so keen on repudiating their fathers' or grandfathers' struggles, they closed their eyes for fear of seeing the looming abyss.

If given a reasonable stipend, I could produce a researched study to prove all this, but all the research has already been done in many places , not least by those who created the problem of short hours and insecurity in the first place.

The odds are that any Republican with no personal insight into the origins of his or her good fortune, or with a hidden distaste for admitting that Dad was an Autoworker has his or her fingers in their ears by now going Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. Hey, fine. My Dad's father was a Scots immigrant in the 1920's learned the grocery business and ended up managing a grocery store. My dad was therefore, able in the late 30's to attend College, and thus was an Officer Candidate when War came. He finished his degree on the GI Bill after the war, and his good fortune allowed me to go to University. But you only have to go back into the 19th Century Census for Scotland to find that his grandfather was a Cabinet Maker (a skilled trade) and his great grandfather was a fisherman. All the previous generations were fisher folk too, that's what you did if you lived on coastal Scotland, or you gathered kelp and seaweed and boiled it down and sold it to soap and food makers, and hoped to be taken on as a deck hand next year assuming you made it through the winter. I know where I came from, and I honour everyone who climbed each rung every day of my life, but I don't forget that if you weren't one of the landed gentry, you were part of the peasantry.

Rob Roy MacGregor was a strong independent man who hated the English and their toadying Scottish collaborators, and so to ensure a bit of a living for his family, he occasionally pinched cattle from the Scottish laird and sold them as his own. Fictional though the story is, it is the experience of the vast portion of humanity, and to forget it is to cut yourself off from humanity itself, just as the upper classes cut themselves off from humanity, particularly those who were junior impoverished members of the aristocracy. It's people on the borders of the social ranks who are most vociferous about their superiority to the rank below them.

Rob

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So is the problem just with employer's motivies or
by Steven Haninger / November 18, 2012 8:22 AM PST

could it also be some of the the regulations they have to deal with?

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Why do you think Walmart has been
by TONI H / November 18, 2012 6:39 PM PST

successful? Most of it had/has to do with Unions trying to get into their business for over 30 years and Walmart's ability to keep them at bay.

>>>it is precisely that uncertainty which is part and parcel of the WalMart plan to keep wages low. If you can pit the various employees against one another based on an absence of secure hours, if you hire 100 "associates" to do the work of 75 full time workers, then you don't have to pay benefits to them because none of them are full time, you don't have to observe many of the regulations regarding work conditions because they never can attain full time status, and thus escape the safety net intended for workers.>>>

Between the Unions and the Federal Government trying to force companies to provide benefit packages to full time employees that companies, not just Walmart, figured out that if they keep their employees on a part-time status, those benefits cannot be forced. It isn't that companies weren't already offering benefits (both health care packages and pensions/retirement plans), it's that Unions and the Feds wanted to call the shots on those packages and control what liberals thought was 'fair'. Both of those organizations have broken more companies than anything else in history and literally put them out of business. For some reason, the adage of 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results' doesn't get through. Companies learn to push back in order to survive and unfortunately the employees are the ones that wind up on the short end of the stick of the push/pull game between companies and Unions/Feds.

When you have a government that keeps raising the rules, and Unions that believe that companies are evil entities that need to be broken, this pattern will never end.

Poverty levels for a family used to be $10K per year not all that long ago, and it was relatively easy for that family to move up the ladder to 'middle class' because middle class was a wide expanse between $15K-$50K. People who lived in poverty didn't own goodies that they couldn't 'afford' to purchase like $150 tennis shoes or a $350 Xbox....they were lucky to have a landline phone and a CRT tv. and barely met the requirements for Medicaid and foodstamps. Poverty levels now is $22K, and middle class is somewhere nearer to $50K-$75K......double what it used to be, and families in poverty today own $400 cell phones and expensive plans, flat screen $800 tv's, etc. and still qualify for Medicaid and foodstamps, heat/cooling assistance, educational training, babysitting, etc. The real people in poverty today are the ones living under bridges, and even some of those qualify to receive benefits if they can find a bank that will open an account for them without a mailing address so their checks can be direct deposited and they carry around their EBT card that gets credited with food stamps allowances each month.

A job at McD's used to be geared to high school kids who could make some extra spending money for dates and socializing. Now those jobs, because of the Feds increasing the minimum wage, are looked at seriously by adults as either a way to supplement another part time job or as their main job while they look for something more in line with what they are trained for........this puts kids out of work with nothing but time on their hands. What used to be a 'throw away job' for kids making $3.50 per hour and was acceptable to them, is now a $9 per hour minimum wage job, and adults grab them up first because employers feel that an adult with a family is more reliable, needs the job more than the kid, and the kids are ignored now.

The higher the hourly wage and the more benefits are forced upon the employer, the harder it is to move out of poverty to middle class because jobs will be changed from full time to part time, benefits disappear, companies close down because it's not profitable anymore, the circle of unemployment gets wider.

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"if you hire 100 associates to do the work of 75 full time"
by James Denison / November 18, 2012 6:50 PM PST

"...if you hire 100 "associates" to do the work of 75 full time workers,..."

He doesn't stop to think the alternative is 75 people working full time, and 25 on welfare, paid for by those 75 and others. This is what always seems out of kilter with Liberal thinking. While on the one hand they speak of giving everyone jobs, spreading the wealth around, on the other hand they want to see entrenched worker unions which push others out of a chance to also earn money, while decreasing competition, but complaining when jobs go overseas, there's just no common denominator to their way of thinking other than confusion seemingly based on nothing more than a devotion to complaining about anything and everything they can.

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RE: is now a $9 per hour minimum wage job,
by JP Bill / November 18, 2012 7:32 PM PST
IF you have a McJob in Washington and only Washington

McJob? I wonder how/why that term was coined.

9$ is NOT Minimum Wage.

Federal Minimum wage is $7.25


People under the age of 20 may be paid $4.25 per hour during their first 90 days of employment.

Federal law requires payment of at least 85 percent of the minimum wage and limits working time for those students to eight hours a day and 20 hours a week.


Hire them, keep them 90 days and turf them...Sorry Kid, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

NEXT!!!
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You're right that $9 is not minimum wage
by TONI H / November 18, 2012 9:05 PM PST

but McD's has had a reputation that, even though they pay the lowest in the food industry, they still pay more than the minimum wage overall.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42420858/ns/business-us_business/t/mcdonalds-wants-redefine-mcjob/#.UKotWWeLnKQ

This article is almost two years old........but although Feds institute the minimum wage the States can go higher if they choose to do so.

>>>Some of the new positions will be part-time. McDonald's said it will be hiring at all levels - from front-line hourly workers to management. A McDonalds spokeswoman said hourly employees typically make more than minimum wage, often more than $8 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, although the minimum is higher in some states.>>

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Actually you can get around the 90 days too
by Roger NC / November 18, 2012 9:44 PM PST

by hiring through temp agencies. They're temp and don't get benefits. I think the normal span is a year before the company can even offer the temp a full time job without paying the temp agency a headhunter fee.

So the temp agency rotates the temp workers as much as possible to keep anyone from having that year in at one site. Generally temp agencies don't offer benefits.

Temp agencies definately have a place, as do all temporary and part time jobs. It's just a crying shame the lenghts now often gone to deny full time pay and benefits to effectively pernament employees.

And people justifying all the practices are missing the point IMO.

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Flexibillity is needed in such situations
by Roger NC / November 18, 2012 8:32 AM PST

and as I noted, some of it may be due to other workers habits too.

Granting personal responsibility, and I'll agree the employer is not primarily responsible for the employee's family. As we've moved more and more from smaller local owned businesses to chains and larger corporations, consideration for the employee has often suffered is a reality also.

Smaller business in the past did often do more to help their employees. I won't say large corporations should, just another modern reality I guess. It's emphasized with a rather prevalent attitude to employees as anonymous laborers, almost inhuman machinery, rather than as people.

The only real question I got specifically with WalMart is repeatedly the accusation comes up of deliberately avoiding paying benefits by not hiring full time even when it's needed. WalMart in the past has pointed out it's pay and benefits were better than others, but if they rig the game to keep you from getting the benefits that doesn't matter. WalMart is not the only one accused of this shell game of course.

And I'm sure some of it is sour grapes from employees who may still be part time because of their work habits and attitudes. It's just when the same accusations repeated occur you do start to wonder.

There are other recurring accusations also, as far as I know none ever proven. But then, it's hard even with a class action law suit for individuals to match the legal department of a major corporation. One of Murphey's laws... The Golden Rule--he who has the gold make the rules. Thankfully not always, but unfortunately money does seem to hold influence even in justice.

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They can't do that when the unions fight against it.
by James Denison / November 18, 2012 6:59 PM PST

Many businesses used to pay more to family workers than to single people, give more time off to parents than those with no children and so forth. Along comes unions and other groups to moan and complain about that being unfair, even though they aren't putting in the extra effort to care for a family, and so single people had to get the same pay as the married, the same "perks" et al. Now they do that, along come the next crowd to complain about families not getting a living wage. It's things like this which shows there's no common sense approach to the problem.

As for Walmart, even if there were no mandates on benefits provided, nor overtime pay involved, I suspect they'd do pretty much the same since that's what they've done since before those things existed anywhere as legal requirements.

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RE:so single people had to get the same pay as the married,
by JP Bill / November 18, 2012 7:44 PM PST

WHOA!!!!

That kind of thinking is heresy.

It doesn't matter that you're doing the same job, the more responsibilities at home the employee has....the more pay they receive.

I think I'll get married so I can get a raise.....then I'll have a bunch of kids so I can get another raise....then I'll buy a bigger car so I can get another raise........then I'll buy a house so I can get another raise.

Are YOU doing any hiring, I'll put you in a financial hole you'll never get out of.

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That's the way markets attract
by Steven Haninger / November 18, 2012 7:55 PM PST

Employers need to attract employees who will sign up and stay there. It costs plenty to hire and train new people. Some employers might think a married person is more stable and, ergo, more valuable than a single person who is more mobile. The employer may think that, in the long run, paying more to a married person is worth it. They own the business and take the risk of it succeeding or not. It's their party to invite their own choice of guests.

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(NT) That's not what James was saying.
by JP Bill / November 18, 2012 8:05 PM PST
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(NT) I'm not replying to what James was saying.
by Steven Haninger / November 18, 2012 8:07 PM PST
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(NT) Well then ...good for the markets
by JP Bill / November 18, 2012 8:12 PM PST
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There was a time married men
by Roger NC / November 18, 2012 9:51 PM PST

were considered more reliable. Women employees were not considered reliable at all, they might quit whenever they got married or had a kid. That was the attitude.

Nowadays I don't know married is any more reliable, I've not heard any statistics on that in years. I guess married still live longer, at least long married.

How can married indicate more reliablity now when more are married and divorced more than twice than are married once?

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So you think different people doing the same work
by Roger NC / November 18, 2012 9:48 PM PST

should be paid different rates based on their need?

Seems a bit unfair, of course, who said life is fair. I guess this is another if you don't like it leave in your view.

Time at an employer often carries more pay, but I wouldn't expect you to encourage that either.

I'll grant someone is always going to complain.

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I wonder in just how many jobs it can be measured
by Steven Haninger / November 19, 2012 1:52 AM PST

that two people do the exact same work. Unless the quantity and quality can be fixed by some outside influence, one person will always do more or better work in the same time period.

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field work
by James Denison / November 19, 2012 2:05 AM PST

They can count the baskets picked as they come in and keep a tally. Even there one person may be picking a bad row and have to travel twice the distance, check the same number of plants to only pick the same amount of vegetables and then haul it back twice the distance to the truck.

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Productivity is easier than quality
by Steven Haninger / November 19, 2012 4:32 AM PST
In reply to: field work

You could have an auto mechanic who can turn over work faster than anyone else but misses some details that result in premature failures. Some torque spec, tension adjustment, etc. that's not right can result in a customer return under warranty. The shop loses when this happens. I wonder just how well tracked quality is as compared to productivity.

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I have a story for you. It's a good one.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 19, 2012 4:38 AM PST
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/08/quantity-always-trumps-quality.html

The problem is that you may be getting pots from the early days of production?

"a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay. "

"Practice, practice, practice" is my next thought.
Bob
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Ad to that "feedback"
by Steven Haninger / November 19, 2012 5:00 AM PST

A tech or mechanic won't know if their repairs held properly if history isn't tracked and names attached. That can be agonizing for an employee who cares about quality as so much depends on how the employer uses any collected data. It can be used as a weapon or a teaching tool. I have considerable experience working in such an environment.

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(NT) Evidence of haste...I meant "add" and not ad
by Steven Haninger / November 19, 2012 5:18 AM PST
In reply to: Ad to that "feedback"
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Well sure, but then everyone should get a slightly
by Roger NC / November 19, 2012 6:48 AM PST

different pay.

You want to explain the guidelines for those evaluations from HR?

Come on Steven, you know exactly the same job performance other than production piece work can't happen. Even then there is attitude, experience, and effort that may affect a job evaluation.

That guy who does best today may be the worse tomorrow too. Going to evaluate all the job performances every day and adjust pay daily?

I'm assuming while completely accurate, your post is a bit tongue in cheek.

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Not tongue in cheek at all
by Steven Haninger / November 19, 2012 7:55 AM PST

There are certainly job positions that can use metrics other than productivity to determine pay and reward employees based on those. Isn't it still common for to for managers to schedule annual reviews and, in some cases, have some latitude in offering pay raises on an individual basis? I'm not talking about short measurement periods. It would seem to me that folks who cannot earn more than the worst person in their pay grade will find it difficult to be motivated to do their own best. In some cases, I believe we've become so sensitive to charges of unfairness that we have become even more unfair.

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So take my craft
by Roger NC / November 19, 2012 10:04 AM PST

electrical and instrumentation.

The equipment is so varied that no one knows it all. Different people are better at certain sets of controls than others. Some of course are better overall some are worse.

I'd put myself in the top half, I'm not sure if I make the top quarter or not as far as widespread knowledge and ability. However there is equipment I'm the only one currently with any real experience repairing.

So with such a varied circumstance, are you going to assign each area a different rating along with the rating for how well the person does? Then how do you justify when you move people temporarly or to help?

Sorry, while you can have a pay range and the annual evaluations you mention, unless someone doesn't want to move up or really screws up, factory/industry operators and maintenance are going to be extremely difficult to make such fine distinctions. It ends up eventually people move most of the way up the range if not all the way if they make a reasonable effort and don't screw up badly.

And too many distinctions and evaluations will always end up with charges of favorism and prejudice of some type, even when unjustified. Bosses end up doing "social promotions" just as schools do to avoid the hassle. Right? no, but I've seen it, and while in night classes at technical school I talked to people from a lot of different industry sites and it seemed pretty SOP.

Normally the most you see is an optional range above the normal "top out" point that is more difficult to get. Often it isn't even published. I was "topped out" at one job, but I found out one guy had moved on up. I asked my boss what were the qualifications for optional pay he named some not particularly specific guides, I and then he said he guess I pretty will did it all already. Now while you always gain experience, I had been doing all that for a couple of years. So because I didn't know they would pay that, was "topped out" according to the pay scale charts for my work, I worked for less than the work I was doing was being paid to another who the boss even told me I was better.

So what happened?

I know some will say you have to ask. I was given a range and agreed to take the job and work my way up. Basically as long as my immediate supervisor gave me a favorable review, every 6 months I got a small raise until I "topped out".

Guess what, I'm not the only one and that wasn't the only place I learned of from others that did similar tactics. People doing the same quality work don't get the same pay unless someone who knows behind the scenes watches out and helps.

Sorry, but that's the way it works if no one is advocating for the workers. I'll admit unions protect people sometimes that I question. But we have a whole list of things in the contract that gets you reprimands of 3 different levels, including possible immediate dismissal. They all have points and just like your drivers license, too many can get you time off or dismissal.

But at least you have the rules.

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That brings me back to my original point
by Steven Haninger / November 19, 2012 6:51 PM PST
In reply to: So take my craft

Almost no one does the exact same work unless they just pull a handle all day. Yet, we complain about equal pay for equal work. We can't even define what that means but we also can't or won't take the time to do better evaluations of employee's work and reward those who stand out.

My work may have been similar to yours before I had to leave. I traveled and did maintenance and repairs on medical electronic equipment. The majority of our customers were under service contracts and paid a flat annual fee for all work done. This meant we needed to provide service and repairs with actual costs of less than the contract charges. We were graded for our effectiveness and adjustments in pay were made accordingly. We often complained that even that system was unfair due to variations in our customer bases. As well, those who performed best were also "rewarded" by being given the more difficult accounts and the ones experiencing the most instrument problems. The idea was to have the most quality oriented people in those accounts so as to bring down the cost of service. This also caused the measured objective criteria of these "better" service reps to degrade and could mean lower performance ratings and pay. One could argue that this was the company's systematic means of keeping pay low when, in fact, it was their means of keeping the cost of repeat service calls down. It was a no-win for better reps when graded the same as the rest. We all had the same titles and job descriptions but not all were doing the same work.

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(NT) In a perfect world......................we'd all be perfect?
by JP Bill / November 19, 2012 6:56 PM PST
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