Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dipping my wick in company ink

The minimum wage fight brought to mind an old boss Julie and I had at the company where we met. It was in a western city of about 50,000 and it was the first real job in the industry for both of us. Carl, the General Manager and de-facto owner, was of the good-ol'-boy school of management: I am the unquestioned dictator of my little country and no one can tell me how to treat my peasants. Julie started at $4.90 an hour and the federal minimum wage forced Carl to give her a raise to $5.15. She worked very hard and had a lot of responsibility. (I started at $5.50 because I worked in two departments and six days a week...and I have a penis). I'm sure the cheap buzzard resented the shit out of that raise because he probably believed a woman should be grateful to be paid a nickel a day for anything other than doing laundry. Much like the Republicans who are fighting the current wage increase: Why should we spend more of our pocket change on the people who actually work hard to make our fortune?

The idea that it will ruin small business is bullshit. Real economists have proven that a decently paid labor force benefits small business. If you are a small business that can't afford to pay your employees more than $5.15 an hour then you aren't successful enough to have employees. You'll just have to work harder and longer yourself until you can afford a payroll. The trophy wife will have to wait.

We didn't expect to make six figures on the first rung of the ladder and we understand the concept of paying dues. Within two years we both moved on and up partially because of our experience with Carl. Actually it was due to our department head who wanted us learn as much as possible and did everything in his power to reward us properly. I KNOW he was undercompensated for his herculean efforts.

Carl would say he's a free market capitalist because he should be able to make as much money as possible. A good businessman also understands that overworking and underpaying your employees will result in low morale, low productivity and maybe outright sabotage.

Carl's company was bought by a corporation and he was given a golden parachute. If the corporation had kept him on as General Manager he probably would have been given a golden shower from his cellmate.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
Join | List | Previous | Next | Random | Previous 5 | Next 5 | Skip Previous | Skip Next