Saturday, November 24, 2012

How To Create Serfs

A member of my family was laid off this year, one of those highly-skilled workers companies are whining about not being able to find.  My relative was making close to six figures, has more than 30 years of high-level experience, and was liked and appreciated at his job.

Yet when the government contracts slowed and then stopped with the end of the stimulus, they couldn't avoid a layoff.

My relative has been searching diligently for another job, but the only ones available demand the same or higher level of skill at one-third the pay. Accept that kind of pay cut, even temporarily, and you'll end up still working at age 80, having never gotten a raise.

bmz at the Center for Economic and Policy Research
News stories have been filled with reports of managers of manufacturing companies insisting that they have jobs open that they can't fill because there are no qualified workers. Adam Davidson at the NYT looked at this more closely and found that the real problem is that the managers don't seem to be interested in paying for the high level of skills that they claim they need.

Many of the positions that are going unfilled pay in the range of $15-$20 an hour. This is not a pay level that would be associated with a job that requires a high degree of skill. As Davidson points out, low level managers at a fast-food restaurant can make comparable pay.

It should not be surprising that the workers who have these skills expect higher pay and workers without the skills will not invest the time and money to acquire them for such a small reward. If these factories want to get highly skilled workers, they will have to offer a wage that is in line with the skill level that they expect.
This is the real reason corporations and their pet repugs in Congress so frantically oppose creating the 10 million government infrastructure jobs that would restore the economy and eliminate the deficit in one fell swoop: because those would be good jobs at good pay with good benefits, and corporations would actually have to compete for high-skill employees.


Victor said...

There was also a point in time, when companies used to hire people with certain aptitudes and train them, giving the the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the jobs.

This was a way that people could get hired at a lower wage, and work their way up the pay ladder through time.

Nowaday's, they want the Federal and State government's to train people with the skills the companies need at Community Colleges, for what was once the companies responsibility. And this way, the company saves on training costs, AND constantly has newer, cheaper, employees.
If the companies had to pay the training costs, they'd make sure that people stayed in the jobs by taking better care of them. Right now, everyone except the schmucks with the MBA's are disposable - when the ones with the MBA's should be the most disposable, since they're a dime a feckin' dozen - and worth far less.

Also, it's a seller's market out there, because people are desperate for jobs, and the companies can get away with paying knowledgable, skilled, and desperate people a lot less.

If this sh*t ain't fixed, and fixed fast, we'll soon finish off this death spiral as a larger, nuclear-armed, Haiti - the CSSA, instead of the USA: Confederate Serf States of America.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Disaster Capitalism, remember?

Economic turmoil - created by irresponsible finance capital - is a great excuse to allow compensation levels to collapse so that more of the labor product of society can go to the pigs - uh, job creators - who own the means of production.