Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Teachers and Pro-D

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
I've had my clients try to kill me before (practically a daily occurrence under certain circumstances), I work anywhere from forty-five (I wish!) to a hundred (or more) hours a week, I don't get holidays or weekends except when my bosses see fit, I have abusive bosses, practically zero freedom (to include certain Constitutional rights waived in certain circumstances), and the living/working conditions are often what the Supreme Court called cruel and unusual punishment for prisoners - and which are proven health hazards (particularly lung cancer and emphysema), doing a labor which is physically and emotionally draining and damaging. My knees and back are aged ten years older than the rest of me thanks to my job, and it'll only go downhill from there. My job has cost me pretty much every relationship I've been in because of how much it demands from me. I'm fairly experienced and highly trained in a very lucrative field where private sector pay starts at six figures, and yet (considering my base pay is public knowledge, I don't mind sharing this) I make about twenty-nine thousand a year while deployed, significantly less in the States. When you parse it down to hours worked, my pay works out to be about six dollars an hour. If you consider I'm on-call 24/7, it's about three bucks an hour - but that particular calculation is just whining. Considering I can't think of anything to one-up that, can we stop the e-peen measuring and go back on topic?
That's unfortunate. Perhaps you and your co-workers should consider, I dunno, unionizing for better working conditions? Kinda like teachers did? It may not make the situation perfect, but it'll help. That said, as Atli pointed out, unions are only so helpful - at some point, there needs to be a broader consideration for workers, teachers included.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlictoatl View Post
Umm, what are you referring to?

Are you disputing that employers pay workers only what they can get away with paying? Are you stating that Apple, the most profitable company on the planet, can't afford to pay its workers better?

I don't even know what you're talking about. Who's disputing that there is overhead and costs of production? What's your point?
You sit there and claim you've all this experience in business, and then turn around and say that because they sell $750,000 worth of merchandise, they're worth so much more in pay. Why? What work do they do that's worth this money? It's the people designing and marketing the merchandise doing the heavy lifting. A trained monkey could work the Apple sales floor. Make the case for Apple paying them better, and don't just go with "Apple has so much money, they should spend it on the sales drones". That's an excellent way to stop turning a profit because then Apple's spending money in excess of what they need to in order to get what they want from the sales drones. Use things like their qualifications, something that they can do that you or I couldn't do. Why would these poor, beleaguered workers work in Apple if their pay is really that bad compared to their qualifications and abilities?

@ MonkWren: That's actually specifically forbidden by our contracts and punishable under UCMJ as sedition. Besides, it's not like I didn't know what I was getting into when I signed up for this.
In all honesty, after a certain point the problem stops being "Corporations are inconsiderate of their workers" and starts being "I can't tell the pigs from the humans". That seems to be what happens once the unions have gotten all the things they need and begin struggling to justify their continued existence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
You sit there and claim you've all this experience in business, and then turn around and say that because they sell $750,000 worth of merchandise, they're worth so much more in pay. Why? What work do they do that's worth this money? It's the people designing and marketing the merchandise doing the heavy lifting. A trained monkey could work the Apple sales floor. Make the case for Apple paying them better, and don't just go with "Apple has so much money, they should spend it on the sales drones". That's an excellent way to stop turning a profit because then Apple's spending money in excess of what they need to in order to get what they want from the sales drones. Use things like their qualifications, something that they can do that you or I couldn't do. Why would these poor, beleaguered workers work in Apple if their pay is really that bad compared to their qualifications and abilities?
First, I didn't claim to have "all this experience in business". I was asked a question and answered it.

Second, a trained monkey couldn't work the Apple sales floor and generate record sales and profits for the company. While it is true that Apple branding is such that Apple products have a high sales conversion rate simply because a customer walking into an Apple store is prepared to purchase an item, top sales performers are very much upgrading sales to more expensive items, adding accessories to customer baskets, selling maintenance programs, and generating very high customer service marks for the company that drive returning customers and subsequent sales. A top performer at an Apple store is a distinctly qualified employee, has undergone significant training at Apple and probably elsewhere, and is doing all of this in a hectic and incredibly busy work environment.

Your disdain for workers is clearly well developed, but the suppositions it's generating for you are inaccurate.

Third, had you read either of the articles I referenced, you'd know that Apple is the most profitable company in the world, generating 1.5 times the profit of its next most profitable business, and is projected to generate $45-50 billion in profits this year. Their new CEO is being compensated $378 million for his work in 2011, which is 15,120 times the $25,000 the NY Times cites Apple store workers as having earned prior to their recent pay raises. That's an outrageous pay differential.

In that NY Times article, the store worker who generated $750,000 in annual sales was making $11.25/hr at the time. Assuming he worked full time, that's $23,400 a year. A commission-based salesperson bringing in that volume of sales might be able to make $60,000 to $75,000, depending on commission percentages and incentives. That's a big disparity.

Another worker quoted in that story just got a 19.5 percent wage increase. "Though a significant increase, Mr. Moll’s new salary of about $36,000 puts him on the low side of the wage scale at the other large sellers of Apple products, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, both of which offer commissions to sales staff at their stores."

Apple is otherwise considered a good company. There's plenty of perfectly average or crappy companies that treat their workers much worse.

Some of you are going to respond that a worker who's unhappy at Apple should then go work for one of those other companies, but you're missing the point, which is that employers in our system do not pay employees what they are "worth" or their true value to the company. They pay them what they know they can get away with paying them, even when they have more than sufficient profits to pay them a higher living wage, and this compensation system has repercussions throughout our society.

It has economic repercussions: 35,000 retail Apple workers making just $15,000 more each year would have a large impact on their local economies. That's only $525 million, well within the means of a company making $45 billion in profits. They could afford to pay 10x that much without making much of a dent in their fiscal year.

It has quality of life repercussions, allowing those workers to start a family, or seek further education, pay off debt, or acquire luxuries.

It has personal valuation repercussions, where the workforce is empowered as a valuable component of society. Workers being justly compensated don't have to be constantly thinking about the future or how to get into a higher-paying job, and can instead make additional contributions to society from a place of stability. That, in return, allows them to be more productive in their workplace and earn even more profit for their employer.

Not every business has this luxury. I had to layoff my worker, and I never paid her what she was worth because I couldn't afford to. Some companies do have that luxury, though. Thankfully, some of them do better at respecting their workers. The vast majority, however, will do as little as they have to. Walmart is a great example of this, but there are thousands upon thousands of them.

Fifth, how else do you propose that I type my words, if not sitting down? These missive are rather lengthy to punch into the smartphone that I don't own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlictoatl View Post
That's an outrageous pay differential.
Because there is an outrageous difference in the talent and experience needed to do those two jobs. There aren't many people who can run Apple, there are quite a few who can sell iphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Ben View Post
Because there is an outrageous difference in the talent and experience needed to do those two jobs. There aren't many people who can run Apple, there are quite a few who can sell iphones.
No CEO is worth 15,000 times the basest worker in his/her company. Obviously, Apple would disagree with me, but this is a broken compensatory system.

Average worker-executive disparity in compensation for 2012 is 380x, which is itself an inflated number compared to the 42x of the largest companies in 1980.

So, in 1980, the CEO at a company with retail workers making $25K would have made about $1.05 million. The average CEO in 2012 is making $9.5 million to his $25K worker, and Apple's is making $378 million.

I'll buy that a CEO should maybe make $1.05 million to the $25K of his retail staff. That's still a huge disparity, but the CEO does have a much different job. (Still, Ben & Jerry's famously attempted to reduce the disparity to 7x, though that resulted in not being able to attract new CEOs when the founder retired.) I'll even grant that Tim Cook should get additional incentives as the CEO of the most profitable business in the world. But 15,120x? You really think that a justifiable pay disparity?

Even businesses know this disparity is suspect: "Firms Cringe at Revealing CEO-Worker Pay Gap"

Well if he can manage a company well enough to generate $45-50b in profits I think he's worth that much. Maybe they can find a guy willing to manage Apple who'll do it for $100k but if he only makes $40B it was a stupid decision to hire that guy instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Ben View Post
Well if he can manage a company well enough to generate $45-50b in profits I think he's worth that much. Maybe they can find a guy willing to manage Apple who'll do it for $100k but if he only makes $40B it was a stupid decision to hire that guy instead.
By that reasoning, they may as well pay him $9B, since he's making the company net $1B more than the $100K guy.

I really don't get why you, presumably a worker and not a business-owner, are so willing to buy into a disparity-based compensatory system that rewards your boss over you, but that's as much your right as it is mine to label it messed up.

Still, your argument makes no sense, given that I've read argument from you elsewhere about company's responsibilities to shareholders. The article I quoted from the Wall Street Journal is citing proposed rules from shareholders (and, yes, activists) demanding that CEO-worker disparity be diminished in certain firms. Excessive pay for executives has been a publicly-discussed issue for decades now, and I'd think a shareholder-rights upholder like yourself would want more money at the end of the quarter for shareholders.

Then again, maybe I have you confused with someone else.

There is another very important factor in someones wage: how well can you sell yourself. Managers don't earn that much because they are good, but because they can convince companies that they are good enough to be paid that much, and that they'll go to another company otherwise.
This usually implies that the managers are indeed good, but might just as well mean that they have enough friends/family in the board, or a combination of both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savayan View Post
You are aware that there aren't an unlimited number of positions at AT&T, right Ben? It's not always a matter of John Galt like determination to better one's self I'm afraid.
Actually, if he's that good, AT&T will hire him regardless of whether there are any positions. When Apple hears about it, they might offer a raise as well in an attempt to keep him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kedcoleman View Post
Why should I have to take a job I don't like to have any measure of success?

I probably could teach. I'd probably be not too bad at it, either. But I wouldn't like it. I'm a chef, because I like cooking. I'm good at cooking. But just because I choose to do something I like to do doesn't mean I should have to lose the affluent career lottery.
I admit that it is easy for me to say, since I happen to like engineering and teaching, so I can get a job with good conditions anywhere I like without even trying
I'm sorry, but the economy does not care what you like. If chefs have bad work conditions and low wages, that means that either you should try and find another boss who'll pay you more, or if that is not possible, that there are too much chefs.
It makes perfect sense that a profession which a lot of people like, but has insufficient demand has poor conditions.

I'm not defending this situation and I don't like it, but it is hard to avoid. We don't need e.g. that much social workers, so if youngsters decide to study for that rather than for plumbing, then they shouldn't complain that they have such a hard time finding a job.

For public teachers, is a bit more sluggish. If there is a real shortage, the government has no other option than to improve the working conditions to attract enough teachers, but because of the strong unions, it is very hard to take away acquired rights. This doesn't seem to be a problem, however, because there are apparently not that many people who want to teach for the current conditions. Selling yourself is also no factor for a teacher, since wages are fixed (at least in Belgium).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
@ MonkWren: That's actually specifically forbidden by our contracts and punishable under UCMJ as sedition. Besides, it's not like I didn't know what I was getting into when I signed up for this.
In all honesty, after a certain point the problem stops being "Corporations are inconsiderate of their workers" and starts being "I can't tell the pigs from the humans". That seems to be what happens once the unions have gotten all the things they need and begin struggling to justify their continued existence.
So your contract specifically violates (ie: "waives") Constitutional rights? That's effed up, man, and you need to get your co-workers together and ask for different working conditions. That's inhumane, unfair, and totally unethical, whether you signed up knowingly or not. That is seriously messed up. If you can't tell pigs from humans in your job, STAND UP AND DEMAND YOUR RIGHTS. YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING, NOW DEMAND IT. *cough*

Sorry, rhetoric got the better of me there... Still, if things are that bad, strike. If you are really worth anything as a worker (and I practically guarantee you are), a strike will do far more damage to the company than you, and you are far more likely to get fair compensation as a result. Unions exist specifically to protect against the conditions you work in, and if you refuse to use them to prevent those conditions, well... enjoy your shitty hours and low pay, I guess.





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