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Author Topic: Starbucks Strike!
statica
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posted 29 November 2005 03:42 PM      Profile for statica   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FIRST STARBUCKS STRIKE IN THE WORLD

It was bound to happen eventually -- and it happened today in New Zealand. Low-paid Starbucks workers walked off the job and formed a
picket line. They were joined by workers from other low paid, fast-food restaurants such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Starbucks, which tries to project an image as a caring, progressive, company, has some 80,000 employees worldwide. It pays those workers
minimum wage or only slightly above, and generally does not welcome unions.

As you'd expect, LabourStart is covering the New Zealand Starbucks strike (see here: http://www.labourstart.org/starbucks) -- and we're also showing a video of the picket line on LabourStart.tv as well
(http://www.labourstart.tv).

If you've never seen a picket line at a Starbucks (and chances are, you haven't), have a look!

For more information about union efforts to organize Starbucks
worldwide, check out http://www.supersizemypay.com/ and
http://www.starbucksunion.org/

***


From: t-oront-o | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 29 November 2005 03:48 PM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That is good news.
From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
moderatsaklart
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posted 29 November 2005 03:56 PM      Profile for moderatsaklart        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by a citizen of winnipeg:
That is good news.

A strike is good news?


From: gaia | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 29 November 2005 04:17 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Any blow against oppression is good news. But some people here have wandered onto the wrong discussion board.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
moderatsaklart
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posted 29 November 2005 04:26 PM      Profile for moderatsaklart        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta:
Any blow against oppression is good news. But some people here have wandered onto the wrong discussion board.

Oppression = working at agreed rate?


From: gaia | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Scout
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posted 29 November 2005 04:31 PM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Oppression = working at agreed rate?

stupid questions = baiting troll


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 29 November 2005 04:39 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is awesome news!

I'd stopped drinking Starbucks coffee ages ago simply because from what I'd heard their treatment of workers was fairly pits.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 29 November 2005 05:13 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, the strike is the good news. The bad news is that once the coffee-pourers union gets that wage hike to $24.75, with the dental and optical, and the RSP, your regular latte will set you back $11.25, and the grande, with sprinkles, $16.50.
From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
moderatsaklart
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posted 29 November 2005 05:32 PM      Profile for moderatsaklart        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Well, the strike is the good news. The bad news is that once the coffee-pourers union gets that wage hike to $24.75, with the dental and optical, and the RSP, your regular latte will set you back $11.25, and the grande, with sprinkles, $16.50.

And then there were none.


From: gaia | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 29 November 2005 05:44 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Well, the strike is the good news. The bad news is that once the coffee-pourers union gets that wage hike to $24.75, with the dental and optical, and the RSP, your regular latte will set you back $11.25, and the grande, with sprinkles, $16.50.
Dag, Mr. M. that's just plain snotty. Can't a handful of low wage workers get together for a bit of honest collective bargaining without a pile of smug put downs?

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 29 November 2005 05:49 PM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"The sheer breadth of Starbucks' anti-union activities is remarkable," said Stuart Lichten, the Union's attorney from the labor law firm Schwartz Lichten and Bright. "The company has simply been breaking the law with impunity."
In upper management, the complaint names four district managers, one regional director, and even Starbucks Senior Vice President Martin Annesse. The Starbucks Workers Union has called on the company to fire all managers found to have violated the law. Trial on the charges is set for February.
"It's interesting that all of this lawlessness took place while Starbucks was acting under the close guidance of its chief 'union avoidance' lawyers, Daniel Nash and Gregory Knopp, of the corporate firm Akin Gump," said Daniel Gross, an IWW organizer and Starbucks barista. "To me, the NLRB complaint illustrates the ugliness of anti-union lawyering. I guess you can't expect too much from a firm with a partner who serves on Wal-Mart's board of directors. Starbucks needs to sever ties with Akin Gump now and put the money it saves into workers' pockets instead of its effort to break the workers' union."
Article

From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 29 November 2005 05:49 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
once the coffee-pourers union gets that wage hike to $24.75, with the dental and optical, and the RSP, your regular latte will set you back $11.25, and the grande, with sprinkles, $16.50.

Well if Starbucks can increase wages AND lower their prices, I take my hat off to them!


From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 29 November 2005 06:23 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Za-zing!

They are the only coffee place with onsite financing available, eh?

quote:
Dag, Mr. M. that's just plain snotty.

Perhaps. But after finding out that being paid minimum wage is "oppression", I don't think it's out of line for the pendulum to swing the other way too.

Let's be honest about something here: pouring coffee into a cup isn't really difficult, nor terribly dangerous, nor does it involve long hours, years of schoolin' or a strong back. If they want to organize, I think they should be allowed to, but what exactly do they figure they can demand once they do? What's the realistic monetary value of pouring coffee?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 29 November 2005 06:27 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Although this thread is the one that has got the attention, I did want to point out that I posted this story six days ago here:

Starbucks Strike in New Zealand

Anyone know whether the Starbucks workers in Vancouver are still organized with the CAW?

[ 29 November 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
FourteenRivers
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posted 29 November 2005 10:57 PM      Profile for FourteenRivers        Edit/Delete Post
The strikers should send in a guerilla unit to play Death by Latte.
From: Quebec | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 29 November 2005 11:05 PM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ever notice the turnover in workers at Starbucks? In Vancouver, we have a ton of Starbucks (probably like most places in Canada ) and I am amazed when I look at the amount of classified ads and signs in their windows! They run ads in The Sun and Province on a regular basis.

An aside: I too, am no longer a customer of Starbucks. I've been clean and free of them for years. Same goes for The Sun and Province.


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 29 November 2005 11:06 PM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Well, the strike is the good news. The bad news is that once the coffee-pourers union gets that wage hike to $24.75, with the dental and optical, and the RSP, your regular latte will set you back $11.25, and the grande, with sprinkles, $16.50.

Ha! Dude, that's not the bad news. The bad news is that once the third-world coffee pickers throw off the brutal oppression they're living under, it will be cheaper to do cocaine than drink coffee.

One of my little fantasies of mischevious omnipotence is that I make all the coffee in the world suddenly disintegrate and then sit back and watch western society grind to a screeching halt. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 29 November 2005 11:37 PM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The coffee business is one of the most profitable businesses to be in. We buy organic fair trade coffee and still only pay only about 25 cents a cup, I think we can assume Starbuck's is paying less for the coffee they are serving and even with milk and all other toppings their cost of ingredients is still at maybe 10% of what people pay for it. I haven't tracked their profits but I suspect they are substantial, they have Oprah raving about them all the time.

The issue isn't only the hourly wage it is also having enough hours each week to have a real wage and not merely a few dollars a week.

I know it is common for people to say such things as "what does it take to pour a cup of coffee?" as if that is all that any restaurant worker does and completely justifies our expectation that an adult can live below the poverty line indefinitely. It is sad for all of us that some promote such shallow thinking.

[ 29 November 2005: Message edited by: a citizen of winnipeg ]


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Gupe
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posted 30 November 2005 12:16 AM      Profile for Gupe   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
aahhh this reminds me of when the Tim Horton's in London, Ont when on strike. They picketed for something like 2 years. Finally after two years it settled, the union was disbanded everyone either quit of lost their jobs.

And cars were backed up for miles getting their coffee and donuts the very morning it opened up again.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Andrew_Jay
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posted 30 November 2005 12:28 AM      Profile for Andrew_Jay        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by a citizen of winnipeg:
I know it is common for people to say such things as "what does it take to pour a cup of coffee?" as if that is all that any restaurant worker does and completely justifies our expectation that an adult can live below the poverty line indefinitely. It is sad for all of us that some promote such shallow thinking.
Is it really reasonable to expect that someone be able to make a living working at Starbucks indefinately? Working a paper route will leave you living below the poverty line too, but no sensible adult expects to do that for life.

I've worked minimum wage, and frankly for what I was doing - pumping gas - it was about what I was worth, and a real wage will come with more substantial work.


From: Extremism is easy. You go right and meet those coming around from the far left | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 30 November 2005 12:43 AM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I heard an interesting program on Democracy Now recently. It was an interview with a journalist who had assumed the identity of a middle aged woman who had an excellent resume, after 8 months of looking for work she had two job offers, one was Mary Kay Cosmetics and the other was Aflack (spelling?)Insurance and it required she invest time and money in training, both jobs were on commission. She talked about the number of people who have been laid off and after months of looking for work that paid what they had been paid finally took jobs at places like Wal-mart. This was in the states but look where we are going.

I don't think we can assume that everyone will automatically earn more money if they get more education. More than that I think everyone who gets up and goes to a job, any job, and works all day deserves to know that they will be warm and comfortable, have enough to eat, be able to take a bus to work and have a telephone, basics.


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
statica
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posted 30 November 2005 01:04 AM      Profile for statica   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Well if Starbucks can increase wages AND lower their prices, I take my hat off to them!

ha! then we could send that secret formula over the Wallmart Execs!


From: t-oront-o | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
faith
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posted 30 November 2005 01:23 AM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ok as a person that worked in the restaurant business myself and had a daughter that was a barista at a coffee place (not starbucks) I really get tired of uninformed people saying things like - how hard is it to pour coffee? and other crap.
Waitress work is some of the hardest and poorest paid work I have ever done. Not only do you have to put up with snotty customers somewhat like the attitudes shown above, if you're young and pretty you get to try and politely tell the male customers you're not interested without losing the restaurant business.
As a barista my teenage kid
-washed floors
-cleaned toilets
-sanitized food preparation areas
-loaded and unloaded dishwashers
-memorized the ingredients to over 50 different drinks hot and cold
-made over 50 different drinks
-checked inventory for all supplies, food and non food items
-ordered supplies that were low
-bought all the milk (about 20 gallons at a time) and loaded it onto a cart and hauled it to the store across a parking lot
-cleaned all table surfaces
-kept all the condiments filled
-checked due dates on all food items and disposed of old stock
-trained new employees
-counted the days take and made bank deposits
-made up gift baskets during holidays
-brought in all outdoor furniture at the end of the day (tables and chairs) and put them out in the morning
-were not allowed to sit down -except for one 15 minute break on a 6 hour shift
-cleaned and polished all store fixtures
-removed all garbage and hauled it to the large blue bins in the parking lot
-made and served any light food items that the store chose to stock.
-handled all cash transactions while making the drinks
She worked for a long time at 8.00 hour, and the last raise was .10 /hour, that's when she got another job. Funny thing was she would have stayed if the management had shown a little more respect and or appreciation for the efforts of its employees.

From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 30 November 2005 01:37 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I've worked minimum wage, and frankly for what I was doing - pumping gas - it was about what I was worth

Well, your poor self-esteem aside, the fact remains that a significantly large amount of work in our society is both poorly paid and absolutely necessary. The number one job for women in Canada is cashier, for instance.

Now if all these jobs need to be done obviously someone has to do them, so why do we blithely accept that those who do them should live like dogs on a meager pittance? Sure, any particular person could improve their position theoretically, but toilets still need to be cleaned so, by necessity, everyone can't escape minimum wage no matter how hard they're all trying. Is this really the best world we can manage, where millions of Canadians can't even afford to eat a healthy diet, let alone own a home and raise a family? If we insist that others serve us constantly like we were some sort of modern royalty then we should be willing to pay them a decent wage to do it. I don't think that's such a radical notion, unless you believe you're just inherently better than those stuck in the service industry.

And by the way, I find it hard to believe that anyone who has ever worked in the service industry can't remember what's so hard about it. No, pumping gas and pouring coffee isn't difficult, but serving the public and dealing with their monstrous sense of entitlement is a friggin' nightmare. Then consider that you're serving huge line-ups of jonesing drug addicts who all want their fix NOW and honestly, you couldn't pay me enough to work at Starbucks.


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Andrew_Jay
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posted 30 November 2005 01:44 AM      Profile for Andrew_Jay        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jacob Two-Two:
And by the way, I find it hard to believe that anyone who has ever worked in the service industry can't remember what's so hard about it. No, pumping gas and pouring coffee isn't difficult, but serving the public and dealing with their monstrous sense of entitlement is a friggin' nightmare.
No I certainly didn't say that it was fun or fulfilling work, just that it's work virtually anyone can do.

From: Extremism is easy. You go right and meet those coming around from the far left | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 30 November 2005 02:22 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Let's be honest about something here: pouring coffee into a cup isn't really difficult, nor terribly dangerous, nor does it involve long hours, years of schoolin' or a strong back.

How much is your boss paying you to blab on babble?

Too much is my guess.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 30 November 2005 04:27 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
No I certainly didn't say that it was fun or fulfilling work, just that it's work virtually anyone can do.

And my point, once again, is that while anyone can do the simple mechanics of the job, the considerable skill it takes to deal with the public is rare and undervalued. I suspect that you'd be the first to complain if, after serving their 164th cup of coffee for the day, a barista was rude to you or communicated poorly or was simply confused by your order. That's the point at which I remind you that you're getting exactly the value of service that matches their compensation. If you want good service, you have to pay for it. The people who say that these workers don't even deserve minimum wage are generally the same idiots who expect to be treated like royalty as soon as they walk in the door.


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alexander
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posted 30 November 2005 04:45 AM      Profile for Alexander     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by statica:
FIRST STARBUCKS STRIKE IN THE WORLD

It was bound to happen eventually -- and it happened today in New Zealand. Low-paid Starbucks workers walked off the job and formed a
picket line. They were joined by workers from other low paid, fast-food restaurants such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Starbucks, which tries to project an image as a caring, progressive, company, has some 80,000 employees worldwide. It pays those workers
minimum wage or only slightly above, and generally does not welcome unions.

As you'd expect, LabourStart is covering the New Zealand Starbucks strike (see here: http://www.labourstart.org/starbucks) -- and we're also showing a video of the picket line on LabourStart.tv as well
(http://www.labourstart.tv).

If you've never seen a picket line at a Starbucks (and chances are, you haven't), have a look!

For more information about union efforts to organize Starbucks
worldwide, check out http://www.supersizemypay.com/ and
http://www.starbucksunion.org/

***



Excellent !!!!

Shame that americans and canadians arent more active.

I guess as life gets worse for all of us eventually our grandkids will have to stand up, I hope they still have democracy by then though ...


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
ephemeral
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posted 30 November 2005 08:39 AM      Profile for ephemeral     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Let's be honest about something here: pouring coffee into a cup isn't really difficult, nor terribly dangerous, nor does it involve long hours, years of schoolin' or a strong back. If they want to organize, I think they should be allowed to, but what exactly do they figure they can demand once they do? What's the realistic monetary value of pouring coffee?

Oh c'mon, magoo, you know it's not as simple as that. It could be dangerous. There are all kinds of dangers in any workplace. Accidents happen, and it is up to the employer to prevent them as far as possible he/she possibly can. Not long hours? You are 100% wrong about that. It involves long hours without ever being able to sit down. The day seems longer and more tiring because a lot of the workers have at least one other job (paid or unpaid). Please read Faith's post. I know someone who worked at Tim Horton's, and she did all that while pregnant. I have also done the majority of those things as a waitress, as well as putting up with a sexist barbarian (boss).


From: under a bridge with a laptop | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
idontandwontevergolf
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posted 30 November 2005 08:52 AM      Profile for idontandwontevergolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
When I could afford to buy coffee at Starbucks I made a conscious effort not to buy there as I couldn't stand the arrogant attitude of the servers. Their attitude may have been brought on by my refusal to say grande and venti, or whatever the words are.

That aside, I agree wholeheartedly with Faith. And I think an earlier poster noted that part of the problem with jobs such as these is that they only ever offer part-time work, so it's not just the hourly wage that is an issue.


From: Between two highways | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 30 November 2005 08:58 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This belongs in labour and consumption.

And I would like to remind people that the labour and consumption forum is, in keeping with the mandate of rabble.ca, a forum where people are to post from a pro-worker point of view. That doesn't mean you have to support Magoo's strawman above, but it does mean that you don't get to bash minimum wage workers as being worthless or as deserving to live in poverty.

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Olly
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posted 30 November 2005 10:34 AM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Does anyone have the facts of what a Starbucks worker is paid? Just based on conversations at my local Starbucks, I get the impression they are paid fairly well (certainly not mimimum wage), with pretty good benefits and pretty reasonable job satisfaction. I could be wrong, but no one here has posted facts to the contrary.

I totally disagree with you Magoo. The drinks they make at a Starbucks are fairly complicated and to do it well so that they actually taste good takes some level of skill. I would say a Starbuck barista is in the same ballpark as a pastry chef.


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 30 November 2005 10:48 AM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by a citizen of winnipeg:
That is good news.

Strikes aren't good news.

Management giving workers reasonable collective agreements without forcing them out on strike are good news.

(Edited for typ-o.)

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: the grey ]


From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 30 November 2005 11:30 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I would say a Starbuck barista is in the same ballpark as a pastry chef.

Uh, ya. That must be why they also need years of intense training, like a pastry chef.

I have to agree with Andrew_Jay. I've also worked for minimum wage, and while I certainly would have loved more money at the time, looking back I really can't see on what grounds I could have defended that wish. Maybe a buck over minimum, or two. But if a job hires high-school students, if your "resume" is actually a form you fill out, if the "interview" lasts all of about 5 minutes... chances are you're in a "job", not on the career track.

I'm NOT saying this means you should be overworked, underpaid, put in harm's way and mistreated. But seriously... we don't understand that some jobs are simple, high-turnover jobs that require minimal (if any) education or specific training, and are well suited to students, seniors, or people between better jobs? If not, then we really are going to have to discuss unionizing the paper boys and the babysitters. For the rest of the world of course, since I'm sure we all pay the babysitter a competitive professional salary with bonuses, right?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
kuri
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posted 30 November 2005 11:34 AM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
But seriously... we don't understand that some jobs are simple, high-turnover jobs that require minimal (if any) education or specific training, and are well suited to students, seniors, or people between better jobs?

Well, yeah, if those were the only demographics doing those jobs....


From: an employer more progressive than rabble.ca | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 30 November 2005 11:47 AM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Management giving workers reasonable collective agreements without forcing them out on strike are good news."

Sure, I can agree with that but in order for that to happen sometimes when people are not being treated fairly a strike is a good thing. But then you know that, don't you?


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 30 November 2005 11:54 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by kurichina:
Well, yeah, if those were the only demographics doing those jobs....

Actually, not even then. Students and seniors and other economically marginalized groups deserve a living wage for an honest day of labour, as much as anyone else.

Working at minimum wage jobs is damned hard work. The reason there is so much turnover is not because they're jobs that require no skills, but because they're thankless jobs that pay shit, and people want to leave them. But they are NECESSARY jobs in our economy, and someone ALWAYS has to do them. Our economy would collapse without retail and service industry jobs. The people who do them deserve a living wage for their work, for as long as they choose to do it.

I worked for minimum wage at the same job for four years, with other co-workers who had been at the same place for much longer than I was there. I have never worked so hard in my life as when I worked there. And yes, it WAS skilled labour. It's true that it's a skill that anyone who works that kind of job can learn, but once you learn it, you get good at it, quicker at it, and the place runs much more smoothly than it does when you're constantly turning over staff and having to train new people.

I deserved more than $6 an hour then. People who are doing the same job now deserve more than $7 an hour. No, I'm not saying people should make $25 an hour for that work, but they sure as hell don't deserve to live in abject poverty, as I did at the time.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
kuri
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posted 30 November 2005 11:57 AM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
Students and seniors and other economically marginalized groups deserve a living wage for an honest day of labour, as much as anyone else.

Ideally, IMO, students wouldn't have to work while studying either and seniors would be taken care of and have the opportunity to contribute to their community in the way of their choosing. But maybe that's setting the bar a little too high? I don't know.


From: an employer more progressive than rabble.ca | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
idontandwontevergolf
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posted 30 November 2005 11:58 AM      Profile for idontandwontevergolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's been a long time since I was a teenager, but wasn't it true (at least over 20 years ago) that there was a different minimum wage for teens and adults?
From: Between two highways | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 30 November 2005 12:00 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes. And I think that's utterly wrong.

If a teenager and I are both working at the same book store doing the same work, hired at the same time, there's no reason why they should get a lower rate of pay than I get. It's blatant age discrimination. I thought so when I was a teenager getting ripped off by employers and the provincial government, and I still think so now.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
idontandwontevergolf
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posted 30 November 2005 12:02 PM      Profile for idontandwontevergolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
...well suited to students, seniors, or people between better jobs?

Ooops, I forgot to add that a lot of seniors in minimum wage jobs are not working because they have nothing better to do. Some (like my mother who is 76) are working because they still have bills to pay and their pension (if they are lucky enough to have one in addition to OAS and CPP) sucks.


From: Between two highways | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
thwap
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posted 30 November 2005 12:04 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post
As I understand it, minimum wage service jobs are becoming longer and longer term for many people, even permanent, as our free-market, "firing on all cylinders," globalized, "knowledge-economy," becomes increasingly unable to provide decent alternative work.

When people organize in the service sector, they're generally not asking for FORD level wages. Ask any UFCW worker. They're asking for some control over their lives, some fairness in scheduling, and some modest pay increases.

Actually, there you go, any statements that these Starbucks workers are asking for $25 per hour reveals glaring ignorance about the unionization of the service sector, and should be ignored. (And should really get back to doing whatever it is their boss is paying them for.)


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 30 November 2005 02:59 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I got this in my email and I thought it might be relevant to this thread:

quote:
Airport Workers Win Best Contract Ever

Carrying signs reading "O'Hare Airport Starbucks Unfair to Workers," hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 1 restaurant workers at O'Hare picketed in front of the airport terminals for three weeks in October to wrap up their seven-month contract fight.

The 900 HMS Host workers joined Local 1 in February to build a stronger Union. Since then, the workers have been building their committee and engaging in actions to win their best contract yet. Highlights include a $2.40 wage increase over four years for the non-tipped workers and a decrease in the workers' monthly copays for health insurance from $90 to $19 for individual coverage and from $250 to $85 for family coverage.

"We fought hard for the best contract since we've been working at the airport. Now we need to make the contract work for us and keep moving forward toward the contract fight in 2009," said Boddrick Barnes, a cook at Fox Sky Box at O'Hare and a member of the negotiating committee. Way to go Host workers!


UNITE-HERE is a hospitality and textile workers union that represents food and beverage concession workers at a number of airports in the United States, including as is apparent from the article, workers at Chicago O'Hare. I do not believe there is any organizational affiliation between UNITE-HERE and the New Zealand-based Unite union, which is organizing Starbucks workers there, and spearheaded the strike reported at the beginning of this thread.

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Olly
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posted 30 November 2005 04:57 PM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Question for Michelle:

Should there be a difference in pay if the adult worker is the sole "breadwinner" in a family versus a teenager who lives at home with parents and is saving for university?


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
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posted 30 November 2005 05:03 PM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Olly:
Should there be a difference in pay if the adult worker is the sole "breadwinner" in a family versus a teenager who lives at home with parents and is saving for university?

How is it of any legitimate concern of an employer to even know which you are?

Do your job; get your pay.

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: Tape_342 ]


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Olly
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posted 30 November 2005 05:36 PM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
How is it of any legitimate concern of an employer to even know which you are? Do your job; get your pay.

I am not suggesting it's a concern to employers necessarily (although it should, since an employer should strive to provide a wage that is sufficient for a worker to live on), but it is certainly a concern to governments and to social service organizations. It may be reasonable for a student to receive a lower wage because a student isn't paying for all his/her living expenses. An adult whose primary income is a min. wage job is expected to pay for all expenses on that wage.


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
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posted 30 November 2005 05:40 PM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Olly:
It may be reasonable for a student to receive a lower wage because a student isn't paying for all his/her living expenses. An adult whose primary income is a min. wage job is expected to pay for all expenses on that wage.

That's precisely the same argument that was once used to justify paying married women a lower wage than their married male colleagues (who presumably had to support a family) for the same work.


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
HalfAnHourLater
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posted 30 November 2005 05:48 PM      Profile for HalfAnHourLater     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I remember a few years back working at a silk screen printing factory (very shitty work) in NSW,Australia and what was most interesting, was that there were different hourly rates for full time and part time workers.

If I remember correctly anyone working under circa. 18 hours per week received 1 or 2 dollars more an hour than their fulltime counterparts. This was to help offset the fact that the part time postions didn't come with the same benefit or employer contributions.

I think this would be a very interesting proposal, and would probably force some to hire a few more fulltime workers, while maintaining some flexibility for those who want part time.

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: HalfAnHourLater ]


From: So-so-so-solidarit! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Olly
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posted 30 November 2005 05:55 PM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
That's precisely the same argument that was once used to justify paying married women a lower wage than their married male colleagues (who presumably had to support a family) for the same work.

Ok, let's go about this another way. If you are a government and you want to address poverty, how do you deal with the fact that a raise in the minimum wage goes primarily to students (the majority of whom aren't living in poverty).


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
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posted 30 November 2005 06:14 PM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Olly:
Ok, let's go about this another way. If you are a government and you want to address poverty, how do you deal with the fact that a raise in the minimum wage goes primarily to students (the majority of whom aren't living in poverty).

If what you're after, as a government, is to specifically address poverty, a blanket raising of the minimum wage seems an inefficient way to doing it, regardless of the demographic breakdown of who exactly holds minumum-wage jobs. (That is, I'm not willing to concede the veracity of the idea that most minumum wage earners are, in fact, middle-class students.)

That aside, targetted social programs that provide job training & placement, hiring incentives and day care would be much more efficient in specifically addressing poverty.

The raising of the minumum wage is a separate issue: all wages should constitute living wages, IMO.

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: Tape_342 ]


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
HalfAnHourLater
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posted 30 November 2005 06:56 PM      Profile for HalfAnHourLater     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tape_342:


The raising of the minumum wage is a separate issue: all wages should constitute living wages, IMO.

[ 30 November 2005: Message edited by: Tape_342 ]


I should add to my above statement, that the minimum wage at the time in NSW, was over 10 dollars Australian an hour fulltime, which meant part timers earnt even more.

Interestingly, most prices were only marginally higher than they were in Canada at the time.


From: So-so-so-solidarit! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Anarchonostic
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posted 01 December 2005 02:59 AM      Profile for Anarchonostic     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by a citizen of winnipeg:

The issue isn't only the hourly wage it is also having enough hours each week to have a real wage and not merely a few dollars a week.

Bingo. My partner works at Starbucks. She has no issues with her compensation, and her benefits aren't bad for a service industry job.

The big issue, at least at Starbucks in Greater Vancouver, is scheduling.

She does work usually 33 - 37 hours per week, and is one of only two employees (out of ~30) that work that much at her location. But her guaranteed number of hours per week is 15. That stresses her out a bit, since at any time, they could drop her to 15 and - whammo - it's suddenly very difficult to pay the rent and bills. Eventually, within the next couple of years, she'll be climbing up to around $12 an hour - and it scares her that the company might just force her out in favour of cheaper labour. She already constantly has to fight when suddenly dropped down to 20-25 hours per week. It kind of makes it hard to budget.

Also, when a new employee is training at the location, they work multiple shifts in a week, more hours than they'll get after being trained. Since the management has a set, solid salary budget each month, all other workers are penalized when trainees are working. And there are a lot of trainees.

In New Zealand, there are issues with wages, but that doesn't seem to be a huge concern here amongst the employees.

I think workers at Starbucks organizing is a good thing - the service industry isn't just kids and bored retirees - there are real working people in the industry. Starbucks is immensely popular, and helps set the pace for the rest of the industry.

I don't think a recognized Starbucks union would ask for anything extreme - maybe just sacraficing a little flexibility for sane guaranteed hours, and more standardized managing procedures)

(BTW, my partner is studying for a career in law enforcement, but she'd prefer a little more stability in the meantime. That's why she's thinking of contacting a union organizer.)

[ 01 December 2005: Message edited by: Anarchonostic ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
v michel
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posted 01 December 2005 08:03 AM      Profile for v michel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

It's true that it's a skill that anyone who works that kind of job can learn, but once you learn it, you get good at it, quicker at it, and the place runs much more smoothly than it does when you're constantly turning over staff and having to train new people.


The same is true of most white-collar jobs I've had. I worked minimum-wage service jobs for a long time, and then when I got my first "office" job I realized that white collar employees are just as "unskilled" as service employees. I mean really, someone fresh out of college needs as much hand-holding in organizing files as anyone needs when they work a register for the first time.

It's just always been laughable to me when people talk about service jobs as needing no special skills or training vs. white collar jobs. I reflect on all the utterly useless people I've worked with professionally. In my (limited, I acknowledge) experience, there is nothing in the $20/hr office job that merits five times the pay of a minimum wage job. Your skilled professionals? Sure. But your average worker? Gets the job for entirely subjective reasons and learns the ropes on the job, leading to advancement.


From: a protected valley in the middle of nothing | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 01 December 2005 08:58 AM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Bingo. My partner works at Starbucks. She has no issues with her compensation, and her benefits aren't bad for a service industry job.

The big issue, at least at Starbucks in Greater Vancouver, is scheduling.
***
(BTW, my partner is studying for a career in law enforcement, but she'd prefer a little more stability in the meantime. That's why she's thinking of contacting a union organizer.)


Anarch, do you know if the CAW still represents Starbucks workers in the Vancouver area? They might be a good union to refer your partner to. I understood they did a big organizing drive in the late 1990s. Last I heard from them, though, was when their contract was up for renewal in 2002.

CAW Starbucks UnStrike for Justice and Dignity

CAW Starbucks Locations (as of May, 2002)

[ 01 December 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 01 December 2005 09:01 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Olly:
Question for Michelle:

Should there be a difference in pay if the adult worker is the sole "breadwinner" in a family versus a teenager who lives at home with parents and is saving for university?


No. Same work, same pay.

That's exactly the kind of logic people used to use when they discriminated against women openly in pay - oh, she's just got a second income to her hubby anyhow.

It's nobody's business whether I'm a sole wage earner, single parent, student, or whatever. If I do the same hour of work, I get the same hour of pay. Period.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
rinne
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posted 01 December 2005 10:23 AM      Profile for rinne     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Anarchonostic you make a good point.

"She does work usually 33 - 37 hours per week, and is one of only two employees (out of ~30) that work that much at her location. But her guaranteed number of hours per week is 15. That stresses her out a bit, since at any time, they could drop her to 15 and - whammo - it's suddenly very difficult to pay the rent and bills. Eventually, within the next couple of years, she'll be climbing up to around $12 an hour - and it scares her that the company might just force her out in favour of cheaper labour. She already constantly has to fight when suddenly dropped down to 20-25 hours per week. It kind of makes it hard to budget."

How can people plan if they do not know what their schedule may be? How can you have a life if you don't know whether or not next week you will have enough hours so that you can pay the rent?


From: prairies | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 01 December 2005 11:30 AM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by a citizen of winnipeg:

Sure, I can agree with that but in order for that to happen sometimes when people are not being treated fairly a strike is a good thing. But then you know that, don't you?

A necessary thing, an appropriate thing, and the right thing to do. But not a good thing.


From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Olly
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posted 01 December 2005 01:39 PM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
That's exactly the kind of logic people used to use when they discriminated against women openly in pay - oh, she's just got a second income to her hubby anyhow.

That isn't the argument I am making at all. If I use the logic you employed in reaching that conclusion, there should not be any extra support for low-wage families (who tend to be female lone parents by the way). Is that what you are saying?


quote:
It's nobody's business whether I'm a sole wage earner, single parent, student, or whatever. If I do the same hour of work, I get the same hour of pay. Period.

It ends up becoming someone else's business when that single parent ends up at a food bank, or making an application to the rent bank when they can't make ends meet on the wage they are earning.

Look, my point is essentially this: that wages are not sensitive to family size, and that has particularly negative consequences at the low end of the wage spectrum. Further, that within low-wage work, the impacts are very differential. The impact on a family is much more severe than the impact on a student - a single parent for example is much more at risk than a student. It is therefore prudent for governments and social policy makers to treat the at risk groups differntly in terms of income benefits.

In fact, the National Child Benefit Supplement is meant, in part, to address this issue that wages don't take into account family size by giving families with children extra income based on the number of children they have.

By the way, just for the record here are the statistics on minimum wage workers:

Family Status
Head of household: 4.1%
Second earner in married couple: 25%
Son or daughter living at home: 60.2%

Age
15-19: 47.1%
20-24: 16.4%
>25: 36.5%

(Source: Caledon Institute)


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
shaolin
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posted 02 December 2005 06:12 PM      Profile for shaolin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Let's be honest about something here: pouring coffee into a cup isn't really difficult, nor terribly dangerous, nor does it involve long hours, years of schoolin' or a strong back.

Let's be honest - you're an asshole.

This coffee server just so happens to have years of schooling and years on the deans list. My back is strong from all the goddamn crates of milk I haul, and the loads of garbage and compost I dump out back. I work on my feet for eight or nine hours at $8.50/hour with a cheery smile to appease all the asswipes who have attitudes like yours. I do all the things faith listed, I prep vegetables and I make sandwiches. I have no benefits.

For three years I worked at a pizza/take-out place making $6.85/hour. I lived in the middle of nowhere so I was just lucky to have a job at all. I made homemade pizza sauce, I rolled dough, I prepped chicken wings, I cooked up bacon and ground it up, I grated bus pans full of cheese, I chopped vegetables, I cut and blanched fries, I hauled pop out onto the shelves, I took orders, I worked the cash, I opened and closed on my own, I did dishes, I cleaned nasty deep fryers...yeah, you're right, that took no skill at all and I definitely didn't deserve more than $6.85.

We should all just be able to sit in front of our computers all day like you, huh?


From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
sir_gallahad
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posted 02 December 2005 06:45 PM      Profile for sir_gallahad        Edit/Delete Post
If you want a better job, go find one... get training move if you need to, don't expect "starter" jobs to pay more, sure starbucks makes millions - which i don't get - $5 for a cup of coffee... but you have a choice - use it!
From: vernon | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jeb616
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posted 02 December 2005 06:47 PM      Profile for Jeb616   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sir_gallahad:
If you want a better job, go find one... get training move if you need to, don't expect "starter" jobs to pay more, sure starbucks makes millions - which i don't get - $5 for a cup of coffee... but you have a choice - use it!

Proud to be Canadian, eh? Troll


From: Polar Bunker | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
shaolin
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posted 02 December 2005 06:47 PM      Profile for shaolin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, a choice to unionize.
From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
sir_gallahad
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posted 02 December 2005 08:04 PM      Profile for sir_gallahad        Edit/Delete Post
Sure, unionize, but company can quickly close a store as well - see Walmart in Quebec.
From: vernon | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
shaolin
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posted 02 December 2005 08:49 PM      Profile for shaolin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You're not worth the time.
From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
jas
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posted 02 December 2005 10:07 PM      Profile for jas     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jacob Two-Two:

And my point, once again, is that while anyone can do the simple mechanics of the job, the considerable skill it takes to deal with the public is rare and undervalued. I suspect that you'd be the first to complain if, after serving their 164th cup of coffee for the day, a barista was rude to you or communicated poorly or was simply confused by your order. That's the point at which I remind you that you're getting exactly the value of service that matches their compensation. If you want good service, you have to pay for it. The people who say that these workers don't even deserve minimum wage are generally the same idiots who expect to be treated like royalty as soon as they walk in the door.

I think this is really true, and I think that's why Starbucks does have to pay higher than min wage in most cases, if they want to preserve that level of service. [edited to add:] And should pay higher.

Which may also explain why they don't typically hire teenagers who don't yet have those kind of service skills or commitment to their job.

I do have a problem with the raise the min. wage campaign however. Maybe I'm simply not understanding. But I don't think a teenager in his or her first job does deserve the same wage as an older worker who is bringing many more skills to the job. That said, I think min. wage is for jobs like McDonalds and other places that hire high school students, and that those jobs do need to recognize experience and commitment in their older and/or longer term workers by offering differential starting wages, as well as significant wage increments every three or so months.

[ 03 December 2005: Message edited by: jas ]


From: the world we want | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Andrew_Jay
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posted 02 December 2005 10:24 PM      Profile for Andrew_Jay        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by shaolin:
This coffee server just so happens to have years of schooling and years on the deans list. My back is strong from all the goddamn crates of milk I haul, and the loads of garbage and compost I dump out back. I work on my feet for eight or nine hours at $8.50/hour with a cheery smile to appease all the asswipes who have attitudes like yours. I do all the things faith listed, I prep vegetables and I make sandwiches. I have no benefits.
So have I (and for only $6 an hour, if I may add). If you've done so well in school, you certainly deserve a better job for better pay; but can't expect better pay for the job you already have.

Assuming you're still in school, it'll only be temporary - don't expect to get by for life with a job at Starbucks.


From: Extremism is easy. You go right and meet those coming around from the far left | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
sir_gallahad
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posted 03 December 2005 12:26 AM      Profile for sir_gallahad        Edit/Delete Post
Exactly! Andrew
From: vernon | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 12:29 AM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew_Jay:
So have I (and for only $6 an hour, if I may add). If you've done so well in school, you certainly deserve a better job for better pay; but can't expect better pay for the job you already have.

Keeping wages low leaves people with fewer resources to go to school and better themselves. Also, don't forget that before labour unions became powerful, few people could find well-paying jobs (if they were lucky enough to come home alive with no body parts missing). So they joined unions, and fought hard for all the standard workplace protections we enjoy today. Without pressure from organised labour, those protections will be taken back.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 02:19 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by moderatsaklart:
Oppression = working at agreed rate?

Oppression is everyone forced to get the same rate of pay no matter how much or how little one actually works. Whether I was working as a painter, a janitor, a farm hand, a security guard, a radio dispatcher or, later, as an accountant or as an attorney, no one ever made me take any of those jobs. If I worked hard and didn't get the pay I wanted, I'd do something else. It's the ultimate in autonomy to choose what you want to do and get paid more than the next guy if you work harder than him/her and do a better job.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 03 December 2005 02:29 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hope you're having fun there in your Utopian Meritocracy of One.

Why the rest of us who live in the brutally unfair real world -- where some work their asses off for a lifetime and get nowhere, and others coast effortlessly to the top -- should pay any attention to your comforting fantasies is entirely unclear.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 03:17 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by beluga2:
Hope you're having fun there in your Utopian Meritocracy of One.

Why the rest of us who live in the brutally unfair real world -- where some work their asses off for a lifetime and get nowhere, and others coast effortlessly to the top -- should pay any attention to your comforting fantasies is entirely unclear.


If I understand you post correctly, you seem to view the world with this dichotomy: (1) those who bust their butts and get nowhere and (2) those cruise effortlessly to the top.

Why, if this system sucks to badly, do we have millions of immigrants coming to the USA for economic reasons? It's not a "utopian meritocracy of one".


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 03:23 AM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
If I worked hard and didn't get the pay I wanted, I'd do something else. It's the ultimate in autonomy to choose what you want to do and get paid more than the next guy if you work harder than him/her and do a better job.

I don't quite see things in that dichotomy to which you just referred, but if you think that hard work guarantees success, you don't live in the real world at all. My own family before me is of working class background, and has been since we entered Canada. There's nothing we have that those before me didn't fight for. OTOH, I can name individuals where I live who were born into families who owned very successful local businesses, grew up without having to struggle for much, and then they take over the family business and have more to show materially than my own family. And these people, never having had to struggle for anything, have the nerve to look down on my family.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 03:39 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
I don't quite see things in that dichotomy to which you just referred, but if you think that hard work guarantees success, you don't live in the real world at all.

Nothing guarantees success.

If, for example, a person works 18 hour days for years working on novels or music compositions that no one wants to read or play, then they are not going to be financially successful, no matter how hard they work.

If you drop out of school and get a job on a factory line and take no initiative to go to school or get other training to do something other than turn a wrench, you will never be financially successful no matter how hard you work.

But I'd rather live in a system where hard work can create the opportunity to be financially successful.

Many of my school teachers were complete morons, most were reasonably competent teachers and a few were excellent. But, in the union world, they all get paid the same thing (except for seniority). That's insane.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 03:46 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
And these people, never having had to struggle for anything, have the nerve to look down on my family.

And you know what? Just ignore those morons. My sweetie was the daughter of a courthouse janitor with an eighth grade education. She had zero finanical advantanges. She worked through college, became a legal secretary (did that for several years), then, while working as a secretary, took night classes to become a paralegal at the community college (did that for several years) and then, while still working full time as a paralegal, went to law school at night for four years.

Did that guarantee she'd be financially successful? No. But, the chances of becoming financially successful after doing those years of work were astronomically greater than if she had simply stayed a secretary.

So, rather than worrying about what others think (i.e., looking down on you), ignore them and do something for yourself. I couldn't give a she-it what anyone thought about me (and I came from zero money, too---my parents gave me all of $200 after I left high school).


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
MasterDebator
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posted 03 December 2005 04:46 AM      Profile for MasterDebator        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Let's be honest about something here: pouring coffee into a cup isn't really difficult, nor terribly dangerous, nor does it involve long hours, years of schoolin' or a strong back. If they want to organize, I think they should be allowed to, but what exactly do they figure they can demand once they do? What's the realistic monetary value of pouring coffee?


Honesty, eh?

Like I said before, you flatter yourself a great deal, don't you?

An honest person would state that serving liquor is not fundamentally more difficult that serving coffee, so why should servers of alcohol be paid substantially more than servers of coffee?

If serving coffee is as profitable, or becoming nearly as profitable, as serving liquor then there is room for wage increases for those serving coffee. Do you have a problem with working people attempting to realize for themselves some portion of the profitability that obtains in the workplace they are employed in?


From: Goose Country Road, Prince George, BC | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
MasterDebator
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posted 03 December 2005 04:49 AM      Profile for MasterDebator        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
If I understand you post correctly, you seem to view the world with this dichotomy: (1) those who bust their butts and get nowhere and (2) those cruise effortlessly to the top.


Actually, that dichotomy you refer to in such scholarly terms is not a bad description of the inner workings of the Canadian Federal Bureaucracy under Liberal Rule.


From: Goose Country Road, Prince George, BC | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 03 December 2005 01:00 PM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I posited no "dichotomy", merely observed that the relationship between "how hard one works" and "how one is rewarded" is entirely arbitrary. The Horatio Alger mythology, which holds that one's economic position is reflective of one's effort and merit, is a dangerous delusion which serves to entrench existing systemic injustices.
From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 03 December 2005 04:14 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
so why should servers of alcohol be paid substantially more than servers of coffee?

If I'm not mistaken, minimum wage for bartenders is exactly the same as minimum wage for coffee servers. If a bartender gets paid more, it's either at his/her employer's discretion, or it's because of tips. Tips aren't a legislated wage, nor did "the Bartender's Union" fight for them they're a voluntary bonus from customers. Some coffee shops have a tip cup by the cash, but I doubt that early morning coffeeheads are as generous with their bucks as people out on Saturday night, drinking.

quote:
Do you have a problem with working people attempting to realize for themselves some portion of the profitability that obtains in the workplace they are employed in?

I didn't say "let's break up this union". I simply asked exactly how much a coffee server expected to be able to negotiate, based on the job itself.

quote:
Like I said before, you flatter yourself a great deal, don't you?

Stick a thong in it.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 04:26 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
I didn't say "let's break up this union". I simply asked exactly how much a coffee server expected to be able to negotiate, based on the job itself.

I think that's best to leave for the coffee shop and the union to work out on their own.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 03 December 2005 04:50 PM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:

If I'm not mistaken, minimum wage for bartenders is exactly the same as minimum wage for coffee servers.

You're mistaken, but for a reason that makes this discussion rather silly, at least in Ontario (not sure about other provinces).

In Ontario, the general minimum wage is $7.45.
The minimum wage for those serving liquor is $6.50.


From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
beaver
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posted 03 December 2005 06:22 PM      Profile for beaver     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I often have trouble deciding where to buy my occasional coffee, but I usually go to Starbucks.

I live in an area where there are a plethora of coffee shops to choose from - one on every block. I know a lot of people who have worked in independent shops and a lot of people who have worked at Starbucks.

Full-time employees get a bit over minimum wage at starbucks, and wage increases at regular intervals. They get health benefits and safety education. They usually get some form of due process in the case of a dispute.

As a consumer I have to appreciate their consistancy in products and services too.

On the other hand, friends that have worked at the independent shops get paid base minimums. I've had friends get fired without cause, I've had friends have enormous amounts of trouble simply getting paid for the hours they put in. I have friends who don't get paid overtime according to the labour code, but if they mention it they're told "Ok, fine, no overtime then. No hours at all, in that case."

As a consumer I've had really, really bad service and product from some of these independent shops. Very annoying to pay $6 for a tepid tea and a sawdust scone...

Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-union at Starbucks or anywhere else.

My question is, where do you buy your coffee? What do you think of my list of "criterea?" What reasoning do you use when you buy a cuppa joe?


From: here and there | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 06:25 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by beluga2:
I posited no "dichotomy", merely observed that the relationship between "how hard one works" and "how one is rewarded" is entirely arbitrary. The Horatio Alger mythology, which holds that one's economic position is reflective of one's effort and merit, is a dangerous delusion which serves to entrench existing systemic injustices.

The relationship is "entirely arbitrary"? I would agree with you that that is probably the case in a union shop. But, if you're not chained to a system of unionized uniformity, it's not true.

Does hard work guarantee financial success? No. Does it increase the probability of financial success? Yes.

The principal caveat is this: You can't arbitrarily select something to "work hard at" and expect to increase the probability of financial success.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 06:29 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
The relationship is "entirely arbitrary"? I would agree with you that that is probably the case in a union shop. But, if you're not chained to a system of unionized uniformity, it's not true.

You have it backwards here. In the case of unionised workplaces, the company can offer something to your union, and your union gives you the choice to accept or reject the offer. If you're not unionised and you ask your boss about raising your salary, your boss may be accomodating, or your boss may tell you to work somewhere else. You have no control over what your boss will say.

Which system sounds more arbitrary to you, Sven?


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 06:29 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by MasterDebator:
Do you have a problem with working people attempting to realize for themselves some portion of the profitability that obtains in the workplace they are employed in?

I think employees having an ownership interest in company is great. If the company does well, they enjoy the profits. If the company doesn't do well, then there are no profits to "enjoy". The problem is when unions expect to enjoy the "profits" of their company's success when there are little or none to enjoy (e.g., airline industry).


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 06:36 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
I think employees having an ownership interest in company is great. If the company does well, they enjoy the profits. If the company doesn't do well, then there are no profits to "enjoy". The problem is when unions expect to enjoy the "profits" of their company's success when there are little or none to enjoy (e.g., airline industry).

Here's a refutation of the idea that airline unions are forcing them out of business:

quote:
New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse wrote in an article published April 27, 2003, "The pilots, the machinists and other airline unions have obtained some of the highest wages in organized labor in decades past, helping push their airlines' operating costs so high that the airlines became vulnerable to downturns and more recently to the emergence of low-cost upstarts like Jet Blue." In fact, unionized workers at United Airlines accepted massive concessions in 1994and the company ended up bankrupt anyway. Few reporters have examined the human costs of an estimated $35 billion in airline labor concessionslost jobs, cut wages, broken families and worse. The same is true of the series of steel industry bankruptcies, which have wiped out health insurance and cut pensions for tens of thousands of retirees.

Union negotiators aren't going to try to negotiate the company into bankruptcy just to stick it to them. You simply don't know what you're talking about.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 06:36 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
If you're not unionised and you ask your boss about raising your salary, your boss may be accomodating, or your boss may tell you to work somewhere else. You have no control over what your boss will say.

Which system sounds more arbitrary to you, Sven?


I'm not in a union and I don't have a problem getting raises cuz I demonstrate value to the company. If my company doesn't adequately compensate me, there are a zillion other places to work. In today's market, an employer cannot (with even semi-skilled labor) arbitrarily not pay competitive wages and expect to keep its good employees. At our company, we regularly conduct market surveys regarding all of our positions to make sure that our wages and benefits are competitive.

You might want to consider opening a business after you get out of college that needs to hire employees and then see how easy it is to simply give no or meager wage increases to your employees and then see how long it will take before you're left with just the losers.

The fallacy is the an employer can dictate compensation. In a competitive labor market, that's not possible.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 03 December 2005 06:38 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Which system sounds more arbitrary to you

I'd argue the union shop. At least in the non-union shop it's my choice to ask my boss for a raise, and it's my choice whether to accept it or not. If it's not offered, it's my choice to walk or not.

From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 06:44 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
In the case of unionised workplaces, the company can offer something to your union, and your union gives you the choice to accept or reject the offer.

Yeah, that's great, if you're a slacker, cuz then you'll get the same pay as Joe Blow on your right and Jane Doe on your left. But, if you want to work hard (e.g., come up with creative ideas to save the company money by doing something more efficiently or take the initiative to come up with a product improvement that makes your company's products more attractive or beneficial to its customers), you get no reward but the very same pay and the guy who goes through the minimum motions. Most people don't want to live in a work world like that. That's why (non-governmental) union membership in the USA is at an all time low for the last 75 years. People want to get rewarded and recognized for extra effort.

As far as the unions giving their members the right to vote, tell that to the airline mechanics at Northwest Airlines. The union has refused to let the members vote on any company offers for the last several months (that the members have been on strike). Almost all of them (except for the many who crossed the picket lines) are going to lose their jobs...permanently. Had they accepted the airline's earlier offers, they would have kept about 1,200 union jobs. Stupid.

It's the same thing with the NHLPA last year. The NHL players were completely hoodwinked by their stupid union leaders and they all ended up taking it up the arse. If they would have taken the NHL's offers last fall, they would have been making much more money than they are today. It's just stupid.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 06:46 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
Union negotiators aren't going to try to negotiate the company into bankruptcy just to stick it to them. You simply don't know what you're talking about.

Before you say that, why don't you try reading what I wrote?? I didn't say that the unions forced the companies into bankruptcy.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 06:46 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by abnormal:
I'd argue the union shop. At least in the non-union shop it's my choice to ask my boss for a raise, and it's my choice whether to accept it or not. If it's not offered, it's my choice to walk or not.

And it's your bosse's choice to say, "you don't like working here, so you don't have to anymore." If your boss tries that and you're unionised, you have someone to turn to to defend you. If you have no union, how do you defend yourself against this? What will you use for references?

quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
You might want to consider opening a business after you get out of college that needs to hire employees and then see how easy it is to simply give no or meager wage increases to your employees and then see how long it will take before you're left with just the losers.

Many businesses, like Starbucks, are incorporated and have literally billions in assets and have larger economies than many countries. This gives them a lot of clout. Also consider that companies have laid off workers while making profits, and CEO pay in relation to what the average worker makes has skyrocketed. These forces have combined to force wages down. There's no way around this: without a union, you are merely at the mercy of your employer, and God help you if you're working for one who only cares about his/her own pocketbook and has total disregard for the human costs of decision (s)he makes.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 06:50 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
Yeah, that's great, if you're a slacker, cuz then you'll get the same pay as Joe Blow on your right and Jane Doe on your left. But, if you want to work hard (e.g., come up with creative ideas to save the company money by doing something more efficiently or take the initiative to come up with a product improvement that makes your company's products more attractive or beneficial to its customers), you get no reward but the very same pay and the guy who goes through the minimum motions. Most people don't want to live in a work world like that. That's why (non-governmental) union membership in the USA is at an all time low for the last 75 years. People want to get rewarded and recognized for extra effort.

There are several non-unionised workforces that also fall into that category. I've seen employers play favourites while mercilessly spitting on their good employees, in some cases the employees who keep the company togehter. There's a reason that Dilbert and the movie Office Space are popular.

quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
Before you say that, why don't you try reading what I wrote?? I didn't say that the unions forced the companies into bankruptcy.

You're correct, you didn't say that. You implied it, and I set the record straight for you.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 06:54 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
These forces have combined to force wages down. There's no way around this: without a union, you are merely at the mercy of your employer, and God help you if you're working for one who only cares about his/her own pocketbook and has total disregard for the human costs of decision (s)he makes.

Uh-huh. How about preaching that to the 25,000 employees at my company. No union. Great company. At countless people with 15, 20, 25 and even 30 or more years of tenure. We offer matching 401(k) benefits and a pension, not to mention competitive wages.

If a talented person down the street isn't getting paid fairly at her job, we're always looking for good, talented and hardworking peope. There's always a place for them.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 03 December 2005 06:56 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
Uh-huh. How about preaching that to the 25,000 employees at my company. No union. Great company. At countless people with 15, 20, 25 and even 30 or more years of tenure. We offer matching 401(k) benefits and a pension, not to mention competitive wages.

I'm happy for you and your co-workers that your company works out for you. But it doesn't always work out for others.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 06:58 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
I've seen employers play favourites while mercilessly spitting on their good employees, in some cases the employees who keep the company togehter.

Fine. Let those moron employers do that and they go out of business and lose their investment.

I really don't think you have a clear idea of how competitive it is for employers to find good, talented and hardworking employees. No successful business is "mercilessly spitting on their good employees" and staying in business for long.

quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:
You're correct, you didn't say that. You implied it, and I set the record straight for you.

No, to "set the record straight", you incorrectly inferred it.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 07:00 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Aristotleded24:

I'm happy for you and your co-workers that your company works out for you. But it doesn't always work out for others.


Of course it doesn't always work for others. Who said it did? But, the opportunities here are great. Opportunities, by the way, do not mean "guaranteed success".


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 07:06 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think part of the problem in Canada is that the system does not permit 401(k)-like retirement accounts for their employees. They are very, very common here and are the principal reason why an ever-growing percentage of employees own a part of their company. Here, our tax laws encourage those kinds of programs.

Also, stock awards, grants or options are very rare in Canada (which is another way to get employee ownership in companies).

I was talking with one of my friends in Canada on Thursday. He said that there are no company programs like we have here and most workers pour their money into their homes with the idea that they will sell their homes and live off of the proceeds in retirement. Here, people have the opportunity to create substantial financial savings and have a home.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
v michel
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posted 03 December 2005 07:30 PM      Profile for v michel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
I think part of the problem in Canada is that the system does not permit 401(k)-like retirement accounts for their employees.

...

Here, people have the opportunity to create substantial financial savings and have a home.


Yeah, people with substantial capital to start out with have that opportunity. People living paycheck to paycheck? Not so much.

401(k)'s are great for people who have a substantial amount of income left after expenses. They can make a good amount of money investing that. For people for whom the paycheck just barely covers expenses, like most people working at Starbucks, a 401(k) is useless. It's a retirement plan that enriches those who already have something to start with, at the expense of those who have little.


From: a protected valley in the middle of nothing | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 07:35 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by vmichel:
Yeah, people with substantial capital to start out with have that opportunity. People living paycheck to paycheck? Not so much.

401(k)'s are great for people who have a substantial amount of income left after expenses. They can make a good amount of money investing that. For people for whom the paycheck just barely covers expenses, like most people working at Starbucks, a 401(k) is useless. It's a retirement plan that enriches those who already have something to start with, at the expense of those who have little.


Hell, I had no "capital" to start with (let alone "substantial capital") and I've always, even if it was a little bit, put money away into savings. After 20 years of doing that, I'd say I've got a "substantial" amount of capital. But, I sure as heck didn't start with any. I mean, where did the millions of millionaires in the USA come from? It's not all (or even most) inherited wealth.

EDITED TO ADD: Starbucks probably doesn't have a 401(k) (but I wouldn't be surprised if they did). But, who is going to work at Starbucks for a "career"?? Most are young people (or new immigrants) just getting their start.

[ 03 December 2005: Message edited by: Sven ]


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 03 December 2005 07:44 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If your boss tries that and you're unionised, you have someone to turn to to defend you. If you have no union, how do you defend yourself against this?

If the place is unionized how can I go to my boss and tell them I want a raise in the first place? The union contract generally controls how much I can make.

posted by Sven:

quote:
I think part of the problem in Canada is that the system does not permit 401(k)-like retirement accounts for their employees.

But there are RSP's which function much the same way. You are correct however in that grants and options seem to be much less common in Canada, especially at lower levels. I'm used to seeing very junior staff (i.e., everybody) being granted options and/or restricted shares.


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
v michel
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posted 03 December 2005 07:44 PM      Profile for v michel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:

Hell, I had no "capital" to start with (let alone "substantial capital") and I've always, even if it was a little bit, put money away into savings.
[ 03 December 2005: Message edited by: Sven ]


Having something to put into savings is having some capital. Having those savings invested in a 401(k), and having that grow over the years (which requires substantial financial stability on your part to not need to dip into that money) is having some capital.

I think what you are missing is that a great many people don't even have that little bit extra to invest that you had.


From: a protected valley in the middle of nothing | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 03 December 2005 07:48 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by vmichel:

Having something to put into savings is having some capital. Having those savings invested in a 401(k), and having that grow over the years (which requires substantial financial stability on your part to not need to dip into that money) is having some capital.

I think what you are missing is that a great many people don't even have that little bit extra to invest that you had.


No, I understand that. Not everyone is in a position to put money into a 401(k) or similar account (like the RSPs that abnormal mentioned above). But, because many (but not most) cannot do that, that is certainly not an argument not to have them, is it?


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 04 December 2005 03:05 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am going to close this thread as it has reached 100 posts, but please feel free to continue here.
From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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