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  1. #1
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    Minimum wage is better than nothing

    I confronted some Union picketers outside our local Fresh & Easy grocery store today who claim to be fighting for higher wages for the store's employees. This, of course, means they want the employees to unionize. The Union claims that because the employees of Fresh & Easy make close to minimum wage ($10/hr) and don't have very good health benefits (or none at all), that it's bringing substandard jobs to the community. Of course Walmart and McDonald's come to mind, since they practice the same wage philosophy. But they are American companies, and Fresh & Easy is owned by Tesco, a British company, so the Union is mad that a foreign company is coming in to create low-paying jobs for Americans and apparently most of the profits are going back to England.

    So I asked one of the protesters, isn't it a private companies business what they want to pay their employees and how many hours they want to work them, as long as they are within federal and state laws? I mean, yeah it sucks that Fresh & Easy employees are making $10/hr (higher for management), but isn't that better than making no money at all? I've had this same argument with my wife over Walmart. If you don't feel you are making enough money at your job, go look for a better paying job. If you have no skills, find a way to get the skills. This is not a third world country where opportunities are next to nil. This is America. I am living proof that there are always ways to improve your life if you work at it, and not expect someone to hand it to you.

  2. #2
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    I can understand your point. They should be happy they don't live in England, minimum wage here is:

    • 5.80 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older = $8.45
    • a development rate of 4.83 per hour for workers aged 18-21 inclusive = $7.03
    • 3.57 per hour for all workers under the age of 18, who are no longer of compulsory school age. = $5.20


    Any money is good money, and every little helps. On the flip side when people sign on over here, there's a good chance they will be more in the + than they would be if they worked. Incredibly stupid system.
    .::The Swindall::.

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  3. #3
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    I mean, yeah it sucks that Fresh & Easy employees are making $10/hr (higher for management), but isn't that better than making no money at all?
    Better how? The current welfare system can have a single parent receiving child support, going to school, receiving free housing, free medical care, free metro passes, food stamps, subsidized utilities, vouchers for clothing and a check you can cash and use for whatever you'd like. I want free stuff also!

    The just because I did it argument is old and tiring. Yes, you made it from nothing to something. You worked hard to be where you're at. That doesn't mean other people aren't doing the same and having more difficult obstacles. I'm not sure of your circumstances, but you aren't sure of others either.

    We are all living proof of something. I'm living proof you can go from being a stay at home mother with hardly any job experience, to climbing (slowly but surely) up the corporate ladder and have a very comfortable wage within a few years.
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  4. #4
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    I love it how people simply assume that because you don't earn a lot of money, it's so easy to just go out and find a higher paying job. Or it's oh so easy to go to college and get a frigging degree.

    I work at Macca's and I make around $16.82 each hour - that's only because I'm a casual. Full time wage there is around $14.50 - or $520 a week.

    I have been there for four years and have been searching for a better job but have had no luck. Why? I don't have the skills required. Employers are too picky these days and this is part of the problem. They can train a new employee, but they prefer people who are already qualified.

    Can you imagine a supermarket advertising for a student (school age) check out chick and then saying 'experience is essential'? What kind of experience will a child have?

    It'd be easier to get a job if the employer wasn't so god damned lazy. We are willing to learn, we cannot afford to go back to school and come back with all the darned pieces of paper you want, damned well TRAIN us, it's your frigging job!

    I wasn't a very good student, not because I misbehaved but because I found the work too hard. As a result, I didn't get good grades and barely passed the 10th grade - although according to my teacher I should never have passed the 9th.

    Going to college (which is Uni over here) is impossible - if I am not mistaken, one has to pass year 12 to get in, and you have to have high grades.

    Even a simple TAFE course costs money. It never used to. I did two courses that cost me nothing about ten years ago, now they can cost thousands.

    So when someone says 'if you don't have the skills, just go back to school and get them' what are we meant to do? Take out a loan to pay for the course to get the skills, and even then there is no promise we'll end up with a job at the end of it?

    Look for a higher paying job? Easier said than done.

    Raise the minimum wage, and stop being so damned lazy and start training your employees instead of being lazy and discriminating against those who actually want to learn.
    Frozen In Time Yearning Forbidden Wishes Damned And Divine
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  5. #5
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    So when someone says 'if you don't have the skills, just go back to school and get them' what are we meant to do? Take out a loan to pay for the course to get the skills, and even then there is no promise we'll end up with a job at the end of it?
    Yes. I got a federal loan and went back to finish my college education.

  6. #6
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    I love it how people simply assume that because you don't earn a lot of money, it's so easy to just go out and find a higher paying job. Or it's oh so easy to go to college and get a frigging degree.
    Regardless of who may be assuming this, finding a higher-paying job or going to college isn't supposed to be easy.

    I have been there for four years and have been searching for a better job but have had no luck. Why? I don't have the skills required.
    So what have you done to gain the skills that are preventing you from finding these jobs?

    Employers are too picky these days and this is part of the problem. They can train a new employee, but they prefer people who are already qualified.
    What makes you think employers are more picky today than, say, 5 or 10 years ago? And can you honestly blame them for preferring someone who is qualified for the job versus someone they'd have to train?

    It'd be easier to get a job if the employer wasn't so god damned lazy. We are willing to learn, we cannot afford to go back to school and come back with all the darned pieces of paper you want, damned well TRAIN us, it's your frigging job!
    It seems more than a little biased to call an employer lazy solely because they are seeking a qualified candidate for the job. If you're talking about a supermarket that won't train cashiers, then I'd agree that's ridiculous. But for any professional job, you're out of your mind if you think it's their responsibility to train you.

    I wasn't a very good student, not because I misbehaved but because I found the work too hard. As a result, I didn't get good grades and barely passed the 10th grade - although according to my teacher I should never have passed the 9th.
    I don't mean to personally attack you, but "finding the work too hard" is not a very good excuse for failing academically. For every person who says this, there are scores of examples of people who had it worse off and still managed to succeed.

    Going to college (which is Uni over here) is impossible - if I am not mistaken, one has to pass year 12 to get in, and you have to have high grades.
    So you're saying it's impossible to go back to school, work up through year 12, and pass with good grades?

    Even a simple TAFE course costs money. It never used to. I did two courses that cost me nothing about ten years ago, now they can cost thousands.
    Sure, it may cost money. But what you're not telling us is whether you could either afford it or swing it via a loan.

    So when someone says 'if you don't have the skills, just go back to school and get them' what are we meant to do? Take out a loan to pay for the course to get the skills, and even then there is no promise we'll end up with a job at the end of it?
    That's called life. You think going to school and investing all that time and money will be some kind of guarantee for a fruitful and successful life?

    Look for a higher paying job? Easier said than done.
    Whether it's easy or not really isn't the point. It's not supposed to be easy.

    Raise the minimum wage, and stop being so damned lazy and start training your employees instead of being lazy and discriminating against those who actually want to learn.
    Do you honestly think employers are "discriminating" against you? Do you think it's possible that businesses are in the business of making money, and having to train new employees might simply cost a lot more than hiring already-qualified candidates?
    "Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves." --Bill Hicks

  7. #7
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Myth View Post
    Yes. I got a federal loan and went back to finish my college education.
    And what if you took out that loan, went to college, but couldn't find a job after it?
    You'd be left with a loan to pay and nothing to show for all your hard work.

    ---------- Post added at 01:50 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:38 AM ----------

    [QUOTE=thrashee;436154]Regardless of who may be assuming this, finding a higher-paying job or going to college isn't supposed to be easy.[Quote]

    It should be easier than it is. I've been trying to get another job for months now and have had no luck. I am more than willing to learn but no one is willing to train me for the position.

    So what have you done to gain the skills that are preventing you from finding these jobs?
    What can I do? I work, so if I went to TAFE to get some skills, I'd be there full time. TAFE costs money, and I don't earn enough in my current job. Finding a second job is proving impossible.
    I need to work to go to TAFE, but I can't do both full time. What do you expect me to do?

    What makes you think employers are more picky today than, say, 5 or 10 years ago? And can you honestly blame them for preferring someone who is qualified for the job versus someone they'd have to train?
    They were more willing to train people before. Nowadays, everyone has to have experience in a dozen different things - and half of these things the employer, or another employee, could teach you how to do.
    In choosing only the qualified, they are overlooking those who may not have experience, but are ready and willing to learn.

    It seems more than a little biased to call an employer lazy solely because they are seeking a qualified candidate for the job. If you're talking about a supermarket that won't train cashiers, then I'd agree that's ridiculous. But for any professional job, you're out of your mind if you think it's their responsibility to train you.
    Professional jobs, I agree. If I wanted to be a doctor I can't expect another doctor to train me, can I? But for something like a receptionist, you can train a person to do all that, answer the phones, file, make appointments etc. You don't need experience because it's easily learned - but most employers who advertise want someone with experience.

    You cannot get the experience unless someone is willing to teach you.

    I don't mean to personally attack you, but "finding the work too hard" is not a very good excuse for failing academically. For every person who says this, there are scores of examples of people who had it worse off and still managed to succeed.
    Depends on the reason why someone failed. If they were a pain in the bum and didn't like school, too bad for them. But not everyone is like that.

    So you're saying it's impossible to go back to school, work up through year 12, and pass with good grades?
    For me? Yes. Impossible. I barely got through year 9, I had horrible grades even though I tried my hardest. By year 10, I understood that the teachers didn't really give a **** and thought **** it. The work was impossible - it isn't made easier by learning difficulties, either. I am a very slow learner, I take ages to grasp even the simplest things.

    If I was to go back and pass year 12, I'd still be struggling to get that pass after I'm 30.

    Also - you couldn't expect someone with a low IQ or an intellectual disability to simply go back and complete all levels of school. It depends on your situation. If I could pass year 12 I would have gone back to school years ago.

    It's a matter of understanding and recognising what you are capable of.

    Sure, it may cost money. But what you're not telling us is whether you could either afford it or swing it via a loan.
    I have enough bills to pay as it is. I cannot afford to take out a loan and add to those bills. A loan is out of the question. I don't earn enough, either.

    That's called life. You think going to school and investing all that time and money will be some kind of guarantee for a fruitful and successful life?
    I look at things differently, obviously. I am not taking out a loan, going to school, when there is no promise I'll get a job at the end of it. If I don't get a job, I am left with a loan to pay and no job. You'd be screwed.

    Its irresponsible to take out a loan when you know you cannot afford it. Always make sure you have a way of paying it back.

    Do you honestly think employers are "discriminating" against you? Do you think it's possible that businesses are in the business of making money, and having to train new employees might simply cost a lot more than hiring already-qualified candidates?
    I think businesses are too picky. I think they expect too much, and I have noticed that in my years of going through the jobs pages of the papers. Their expectations are so high they'd be lucky if they had one person apply for their job.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    @ Tarja

    I have seen people being appointed in jobs where they lack the necessary skills and/or experience. Many times they are lazy and just wait for the pay cheques at the end of the month. They just want to receive and doesn't plow back into the growing needs of the organization.

    It is an employer's full right to rather appoint someone with experience.

    In fact, if you really want to gain experience, nothing is stopping you from working for free just to gain the experience.

    Yes, nobody wants to work for free, but that is what many people do. I had several IT graduates coming to me asking to work for our organization TOTALLY free because they want to gain the necessary experience.

    Why can't you do the same?

    @ Wolf

    I totally agree with your OP. People have absolutely no excuse about gaining skills. Like I mentioned to Tarja, if you really want to work and gain the experience there are ways to do it. It might need you to work for free for a while, but you still gain the valuable experience most employers are looking for.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrashee
    I don't mean to personally attack you, but "finding the work too hard" is not a very good excuse for failing academically. For every person who says this, there are scores of examples of people who had it worse off and still managed to succeed.
    The point is that it doesn't matter what other people do. It matters with what the individual is capable of doing.


    Dr Gonzo agrees: Amen, brother. I had to join the military and go to war in order to go to college. Some people in this world EARN their right to advannce
    You didn't have to join the military to go to school. There were many other avenues. This is the choice you made. It's also not in the contract that you have to go to war to get the school benefits, that's just the way your military cards were dealt.

    Tarja, are there scholarships you can look into? Do employers in Australia have tuition reimbursement for employees? Are student loans deferred? Or do you owe immediately? Do you have your high school education?

    Aspo, I have had friends work for free to gain the experience, The problem is not everyone has the option and support to do that.
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  10. #10
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    And what if you took out that loan, went to college, but couldn't find a job after it?
    You'd be left with a loan to pay and nothing to show for all your hard work.
    Yes, and your point is? Since I could possibly fail are you saying I shouldn't try at all? Or are you saying I should jump from low-paying job to low-paying job complaining that it's my employer's fault I'm not making more money, just like what you're doing? That's not me.

    Maybe I've just been lucky, I don't know, but I've never had a trouble finding a job, even if it's a crappy retail job to tide me over until I find a more professional position. Now I am established in a career, so I don't worry about it, but back when I was in my 20s I worked plenty of low-paying jobs and did not give up finding better employment. Not once did I blame my employer for the fact I didn't make more money.

    ---------- Post added at 09:48 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:33 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie View Post
    The just because I did it argument is old and tiring. Yes, you made it from nothing to something. You worked hard to be where you're at. That doesn't mean other people aren't doing the same and having more difficult obstacles. I'm not sure of your circumstances, but you aren't sure of others either.
    Yes, of course I realize others have a harder time making something of themselves than I did. But it's usually out of laziness than because they don't have the opportunities. There are plenty of federal and state programs to help lower-income individuals get an education, a skill to become more productive in society. It doesn't mean they're guaranteed a job, especially a high-paying one, none of us are guaranteed that. But the old excuse that I can't make something of myself because society is holding me back does not cut it in 21st Century America.

    The reality is most people are not going to be in higher paying jobs, because those jobs are not as plentiful as middle to low income jobs. That's how it's always been. But in America there are ways to improve your life if you only work at it.

  11. #11
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    It should be easier than it is. I've been trying to get another job for months now and have had no luck. I am more than willing to learn but no one is willing to train me for the position.
    Whether it should be or not isn't going to help your situation at all. I'm sure you're willing to learn, but the real question is, are you willing to do whatever it takes given your particulars to get these skills so you can get better jobs?

    What can I do? I work, so if I went to TAFE to get some skills, I'd be there full time. TAFE costs money, and I don't earn enough in my current job. Finding a second job is proving impossible.
    I need to work to go to TAFE, but I can't do both full time. What do you expect me to do?
    I don't expect you to do anything....I sincerely wish you the best, but this is your life and your situation. It's up to you.

    If you'll pardon, I'm going to reply to the remainder of your post with a gross summation:

    I wager that there are two rough mentalities for people in your situation--those who see the obstacles and challenges standing in the way of their goal as logical steps that can (and will) be surmounted, and those who use those obstacles as excuses for why they can't.

    Again, I am not trying to personally attack you. But I can't help but note that in your descriptions of your own situation and the factors that play into it, in almost every case there's always someone else to blame. In school it's the teachers who don't give a damn about students passing. In the work place it's the employers who are lazy and discriminatory. You can't get the skills because you can't afford to go back to school, and even if you could go back to school, you'd have to finish high school (or its equivalent) first--and that, according to you, is impossible.

    I really can relate to your frustration, Tarja, but life will never be fair, and you'll get nowhere fast if you choose to focus on this rather than exhausting all the practical options available to you and coming up with an attack plan for the future.

    /end sermon
    "Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves." --Bill Hicks

  12. #12
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post

    What can I do? I work, so if I went to TAFE to get some skills, I'd be there full time. TAFE costs money, and I don't earn enough in my current job. Finding a second job is proving impossible.
    I need to work to go to TAFE, but I can't do both full time. What do you expect me to do?
    You may want to look into online TAFE courses, which may be more convenient and less expensive. http://www.tafe.qld.gov.au/courses/f...e_courses.html


    I know this isn't an advice column, but since you asked, I'll continue.

    It sounds like you've done pretty well at McDonald's, but have stopped moving up and are stuck at the first level of management. Have you asked for a meeting with the General Manager to discuss what you can learn to improve your chances for advancement?

    If you are not involved in some of the routine management functions, offer to help out in those areas. You will gain experience that will make you more valuable to McDonald's, and things that will look good on your application/resume if you continue looking for jobs elsewhere. Try to learn all of the following, if you're not doing them already: cash drawer reconciliation, daily and weekly inventories, food ordering, checking in deliveries, food safety inspections (franchisor checklist / haccp, whatever), maintenance tasks (like boiling out fryers, calibrating drink machines, and whatever else is done weekly/monthly), scheduling, local marketing, celebrating employee birthdays, etc, etc. The more you learn, the more likely they will promote you. And if they don't, you'll be learning a lot to offer future employers. If they won't pay you to learn them, volunteer to do them off the clock. Seriously.

    Does McDonald's in Australia encourage or require management to be ServSafe certified? Will other companies see that as a valuable item on your application/resume? If so, and you're not, you may want to spend the $100 bucks or so to attend a training class and take the test to become certified in management of food safety: http://www.servsafe.com/TrainingSearchIP.aspx

    In summary, learn as much as you can in your current position. Make yourself more valuable at your current job, building your skills and knowledge. Sooner or later, they will promote you, or your resume will get strong enough to land a different job.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by evensaul; June 6th, 2010 at 03:02 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Hmm, well this thread isn't about me, remember, its about minimum wage. I think it should be raised - not over here, but in the US, for sure. The whole relying on tips thing I don't like. No one should have to beg strangers for money. It's no different to begging on the streets.

    That said, let me address a few things:

    Aspo:

    I have seen people being appointed in jobs where they lack the necessary skills and/or experience. Many times they are lazy and just wait for the pay cheques at the end of the month. They just want to receive and doesn't plow back into the growing needs of the organization.
    Those people, exist, sure. The people who live on welfare certainly exist. They make no effort to find a job at all.
    But there are those people who DO try, who send out dozens of resumes a week, hundreds a month, and get nothing. They are willing to work, willing to learn, all they require is someone to show them the ropes but no one is willing.

    If someone is willing to learn, why won't the employer hire them?

    It is an employer's full right to rather appoint someone with experience.
    Yes, but not when it becomes ridiculous, like requesting a student to work as a check out chick and requiring experience in that. I have noticed the changes, Aspo. Years ago experience, or so much of it, wasn't necessary, but nowadays you have to have this and this and that qualification, it makes it almost impossible for people like me to find work.

    In fact, if you really want to gain experience, nothing is stopping you from working for free just to gain the experience.
    I don't believe you can work for free. I can work for free at a volunteer store, like the second hand stores, but at a regular business? Nope, they have to pay you.

    Jamie:

    Tarja, are there scholarships you can look into? Do employers in Australia have tuition reimbursement for employees? Are student loans deferred? Or do you owe immediately? Do you have your high school education?
    Scholarships cost money, which I don't have. Tuition reimbursement? I have no idea but I doubt it. I do not have my high school education. Learning problems mean the teachers ignore you, refuse to keep you down to teach you and get rid of you as soon as possible.
    When this happens, they make it impossible for you to get into Uni - or even pass the next grade. If someone couldn't pass year 9, what makes someone think they can pass the tenth grade?

    Aspo, I have had friends work for free to gain the experience, The problem is not everyone has the option and support to do that.
    Correct. I have a problem with Americans (especially) assuming that it is easy to get a job, and that hey, you can just work for free. It is hard to get a job in the US right now, coming out of recession, there are a lot of people who have been left jobless. I don't expect them to work for free. No one should work for free unless they choose to.

    Wolf:

    You are speaking from your experiences in the US. Remember that I am in Australia, things are different for us. I am giving you my personal experiences and seem to be assuming I am American. We do not have the same opportunities that you have in the US.

    And yes, if you could fail in getting a job, there is NO point in taking out a loan if you are going to be screwed paying it back.

    Don't you think it is irresponsible for someone to take out a loan if they are not sure they can pay it back? I don't know about you, but I am a responsible person. I do not buy something unless I can afford it. I will not take out a loan unless I know I can pay it back. I refuse to let myself get into debt like so many other idiots out there who take out the loan and assume that a money tree will start growing in the backyard.

    thrashee:

    Again, I am not trying to personally attack you. But I can't help but note that in your descriptions of your own situation and the factors that play into it, in almost every case there's always someone else to blame. In school it's the teachers who don't give a damn about students passing. In the work place it's the employers who are lazy and discriminatory. You can't get the skills because you can't afford to go back to school, and even if you could go back to school, you'd have to finish high school (or its equivalent) first--and that, according to you, is impossible.
    You are not insulting me, I value your opinions. I just wish you Americans understood that things are not the same here in Australia as they are over there.

    Yes, I do blame the school. A school is there to educate you, they are not there to decide they can't be bothered with one student and to get rid of them as soon as they can. They ruin your chances at a future. I wasn't the only one.

    If you found that one of your children was sent up to the 10th grade and you found he or she shouldn't have even passed the 8th, you'd be pretty pissed off to. As I said earlier, if you cant pass the 8th grade, you can't pass the 10th.

    Someone with an intellectual disability wouldn't make it all to the way to Uni, would they?

    Evan:

    Been at Macca's for four years and it's time to move on. Reg employees are never trained in food ordering, deliveries and safety inspections. Thats always the job for the managers. Best job I could hope for is shift supervisor, which I have a good chance at getting.
    I usually help out the young kids on counter because they are new, nervous, and don't know enough yet. I help them out in the mornings when I can. I'm not assigned to help them, I just like to assist them if I can.

    Btw way your links takes to the site for the QLD Tafe. I am halfway across the country, lol. Never mind.

    Well, don't think I don't have a goal in life. I do look at everything, the positives and the negatives, and I won't do anything unless I can see a positive at the end.

    I won't take out a loan if I am not 100% sure I can pay it back. If I fail, then I am in debt, and no one wants to be in debt, especially at my age. I am trying to be a responsible person but it seems some people here throw responsibility out the window.

    Once I get my license I'll be moving to Melbourne. At least, that's the plan. I'll be trying to get a full time job - if that means transferring to another McDonalds full time, then so be it. I figure it is better to start with what you know. At least I'll be making money. Once I have a full time job, I'll buy a house. I'll be able to pay off the loan, then.

    I plan on getting my RSG and RSA - responsible serving of gambling/alcohol. This'll give me a chance to get work in a bar. A first aid cert will always be handy. Food handlers cert is another thing. I can get all of the little certificates that look great on your resume and increase your chances of employment, and I don't have to take out a loan or work for free.

    I am willing to get ahead, provided I won't find myself in debt at the end of it.

    Now, as the OP is about minimum wage, we should get back to that.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    I think that the union picketers mentioned in the OP are a little misguided in that they're arguing that an individual company is providing 'substandard jobs' by paying the minimum wage and providing no health care. The minimum wage was put in place to help workers, so if you think the minimum wage is unfair, then go argue that with the government. If you think all companies should provide a basic health care system for all of its employees, down to the last floor cleaner, then go argue that with the government. Otherwise, Fresh and Easy (is that the company name?) has done nothing wrong, and picketing that company is not going to help the overall situation.

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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    @ Tarja: No, if you offer to work for free, they don't have to pay you. We call it Experiential Learning. I have in fact one such an employee right now. We don't pay her for her services. What she gets from us is experience which will be valuable to her if she wants to take her career further. Maybe you need to take this up with the government of Australia? Maybe introduce things like this to them?

    To refer back to the OP again. I still think those people are being ungrateful for what they have. Tesco might be a British Comany, but it is still governed by American law. I don't know much about American law, but I do know that if a foreign company starts a business in South Africa, they have to comply with our Labour Laws and Equity Acts.

    Arraetricos is absolutely right in his assessment. Those people should make a plan to join a union and then collectively address the issue of minimum wages. At the moment they are just leaving a fart against a thunder storm.
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    In an economic downturn, businesses have to tighten their belts like everyone else if they want to stay afloat. Forcing businesses to offer higher wages and health benefits for employees by government fiat will only drive up prices for everyone and make it harder for everyone to get the things they need. Raising the minimum wage, in the long run, doesn't do anything because the companies forced to pay higher wages just boost their prices to make up the difference, thus making everyone's money less valuable, including the workers they're paying more of the now-less-valuable money. So, the company makes less money, people have to pay more for their services, and the employees' money is worth less. Everybody loses.

    As for health benefits, I don't think that health insurance or health care should be tied to employment at all in the first place. It should be a service available to the general public just like auto insurance or homeowner's insurance and should have no bearing on who your employer is. This simple move would make health insurance much more accessible to everyone. The whole reason that people started offering "benefits" in the first place was to comply with wage controls that prevented you from offering more than a certain amount for a job. To make the deal sweeter, they started offering non-monetary "benefits" in addition to the wages to make their job offer more attractive. Over time it just became part of what everyone started to expect. I think the whole thing is a mess and needs to be totally reworked from the ground up. It's a very inefficient and unnecessary bureaucratic hassle to use employers as a middle man in the brokerage of health services. Cutting out this requirement would lower prices and raise wages by costing companies less. Eventually the overhead saved would be used to raise wages to attract better qualified workers to gain an edge over the competition. Everybody wins.

  17. #17
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Here is how I see this stuff, and its a web of issues really....

    1. Economies need both high skilled and low skilled workers. Competition and scarcity will determine the prices that the labor needs go for on the market.

    2. Each place a person lives has some cost of living threshold, which if you fall below, you become a drag on the workings of the place via crime or failing to uphold your end of the social norms. For instance in my city you have mandatory car insurance, mandatory trash service etc... If you fail to pay these costs it causes problems for others in the community.

    3. If there is a disparity between the minimum wages and the minimum costs of living it creates problems. Either you get travel costs of nasty traffic, or you get property blight, or crime, or vagrancy, or in extreme cases civil unrest.

    4. A business may or may not have any vested interest in a given community or its social externalities that result from wages insufficient to uphold community costs of living. It may well be the market has designated a price for labor of their industries type that falls below the minimum community standard.

    So you have choices to address these issues
    1. Minimum wage laws that dictate a company must pay a wage that meets a community standard. This creates challenges where a market may simply not be viable in the area which can depress economic opportunity or standard of living.

    2. You can compliment incomes with social spending which is redirected from those making wages above the community standard to those below the standard.

    3. You can try to eliminate people who do not have the skills needed to make the community standard either by education (via money transfer) or through laws designed to crack down hard on any social violators thus forcing them out of the community. This could increase civil unrest or lead to a shortage of low skill based services being available.

    4. You can find ways to decrease the level of social costs for living in the community, although this tends to mean that the overall community standard of living falls in some fashion leading to an economic decline.

    All the strategies have pluses and minuses. Min wage helps protect community standards and makes businesses pay part of that cost (and indeed they benefit from good community standards). But it could make some business models impossible or deny jobs for folks who's skills simply aren't good enough to make a standard community wage. Tax and transfer lets the low skill folks do what they do, keeps the businesses around, and generally lets progress march ahead, but its seen as unfair and de-motivates the wealthy and talented when taken too far. It can also de-motivate those receiving transfer from working as hard as they could. The law and order approach maintains life for the wealthy, but can lead to extreme social unrest as folks trying to make an honest if modest living are constantly harassed by law enforcement or forced into making criminal choices to maintain normal life. Decreasing social standards can lead to a drive backwards for the whole economy but it makes for an environment where skilled and unskilled can be rewarded in accordance to their value and co-exist peacefully.

    Of course in the real world we often do all these things at once and in some combination and ultimately that is probably the best way to handle things. Take each challenge on from as many directions as possible getting the balance that has the most benefits and the least drawbacks.

    Baseline wages so you can't have total exploitation of labor (also protecting some union activity helps do this via markets), but don't take them so high that low skill jobs simply are not available.

    Keep community standards from going too high so as to make a modest wage insufficient to function well. This means accepting some level of "mess" and disorder.

    Use those most successful in the community to buttress community standards above the median level since its not only good for those subsidized but for those doing the subsidizing.

    Keep the law strongly enforced and do not tolerate those seeking to abuse the system for their own benefit without contributing to the community in the process.

    About Unions
    Ideally, unions serve an important economic roll. They help labor deal on a more equal footing with large business owners. business owners have a lot or resources and information than any given worker cannot access, and that gives them large negotiating advantages that have nothing to do with the relative worth of capital vs labor. Unions can help equalize that advantage.

    What you have to watch out for is unions becoming monopolies of labor. At that point they can become over powerful and require wages that make an business un-viable in the market which in turn creates fewer work opportunities overall.

    Good unions help us find the true worth of labor, but they can also distort that value. They must be allowed to operate freely, but they should not be artificially protected from labor competition by other unions or non-union workers.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Minimum wage means that some workers will get nothing at all; what happens when your labor is worth less than the minimum wage? I read in an article the other day that unemployment among teens in the U.S. is somewhere around 26.4% IIRC.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas
    So, the company makes less money, people have to pay more for their services, and the employees' money is worth less. Everybody loses.
    Not quite. In your scenario, all else being equal, only consumers would lose. The company wouldn't lose because its cost would be recovered by raising prices on its goods, as you noted would happen. And the employee would gain because he wouldn't be bearing the entire cost of his wage increase; that would be spread out over very many items. In fact, he would gain whatever his wage hike was and the value of his money would remain the same in all cases, except if he was to buy the goods of whatever company he works for. In that situation, his money would lose some of it's original, pre wage-hike value, but this tiny loss would be offset by the gain of the wage hike itself.

    Of course, in reality, there is another way in which everybody loses. If the company must raise the price of its products or services to cover the increase in employee wages, then this extra cost will cause customers to defect to competitors (the company losses). This loss of revenue would lead to lay-offs as demand for goods produced by that business, now extra-expensive, shrink - and ultimately this unsustainable policy should result in the closing down of the enterprise (the company and employees both lose). And finally, people will have less choices (a loss for consumers). In this scenario, everybody really does lose.
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    Re: Minimum wage is better than nothing

    Seriously, there are plenty of hands needed everywhere and so someone is sure to find a job that requires his skill level- even if it is to pack things in bags.
    that would pay little, yet it is better that nothing.

    Look at the illegal workers-are they asking for more? (kidding)

 

 

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