Confused about the economy? You are not alone! I am often left somewhat confused after reading an article by an economist and the comments that follow. Technical jargon leaves me scratching my head. Economist often attempt to explain why inflation is low or high, why productivity is down, how does the GDP relate to the common man, or why have or haven’t workers wages risen. Certainly, these economists have advanced knowledge of the topics and believe in the reasons they put forth, but one thing seems to be missing from the articles, humanity.
The person working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet and only has a few hundred dollars in the bank does not need to read an article to know that wages are not rising fast enough or that there are not enough opportunities for advancement. I know economists are not policymakers, but wouldn’t it be great if they could work together to help our government leaders craft policies that would improve the lives of all citizens?
This post on our social media feeds generated huge interest and many comments. Over 300 comments were made and the post was shared 622 times on Facebook.
Several people commented that Walmart employees should just get another job if the pay wasn’t enough. Others pointed out that in their opinion these entry-level jobs should not pay more as they require little skill or education. There have been a number of studies showing that the economy has been adding more jobs in low paying, service sector jobs such as retail or restaurant work and that opportunities for advancement are not as plentiful as they once were. Read more about these dead-end jobs in this cbs.com story – “For millions, low-wage work really is a dead end”
There are many people at the corporate level who have had successful careers at Walmart. Some retail workers have worked their way up to management positions, but far too many are stuck in low paying, retail positions. As with any company, there are good and bad points to Walmart. When we see annual profits in the billions, we wonder why the company isn’t doing more to raise wages for its lowest paid employees. Working in retail often means unpredictable scheduling and less than full-time hours. These front line employees can make or break the shopping experience for customers and are critical to the company’s success. It is long past time to raise their wages. Even when all signs point up for the economy, millions of people in low paying jobs are still struggling to make ends meet.
Hair Stylists – The Original Gig Economy Workers
In a recent conversation with a hair stylist, I learned that many of them simply rent a chair in a salon and are considered self-employed. There are no benefits such as paid time off for vacation or sick days and no health insurance. A missed day means no pay. The hair stylist I spoke with was expecting a baby and explained how she had worked hard to save up enough money to allow her to have 6 weeks off with her new child. This is not unusual as many jobs do not offer paid maternity leave. We are the only developed nation without a national maternity leave policy.
Long before Uber and Lyft brought the issue to our attention by requiring drivers to cover all their costs and be classified as independent contractors, hair stylists were suffering from the same lack of employer support. The website Think Progress posted this informative article about the hair salon industry – Why Your Beauty Salon Likely Doesn’t Have Any Employees.
There were more than 670,000 people working as barbers, hairstylists, or cosmetologists in 2016. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job growth to be 13% in the next 10 years, adding more than 87,000 jobs. These hard-working people often spend 8 or more hours on their feet each shift and earn a median wage of $12 an hour. Ask your hair stylist or barber about their job, it is the only way we can begin to understand the struggles of our fellow citizens.
The One Union
A Mega-People Corporation
Here at The One Union, we are working hard to provide a platform for unity and change. We recognize that wages are not going up fast enough for many of the lowest paid employees and that the vast inequality in our country is unacceptable. If you are tired of the hate and division and are ready for a change, join us in our mission to make this country a better place for all citizens.