How have workers’ wages fared in the past three decades? What is the significance of the growth of McDonalds and Wal-Mart? Where are the good jobs emerging?
What do you think of Professor Ton’s argument:
Over the past three decades labor wages in the US have fared. The wages have not been rising proportionately to the increase in the cost of living. Hence, inflation has eroded the purchasing power of workers. They are worse off now in real terms. The growth of Walmart and McDonalds have had a significant impact on the economy of US. These firms’ profits have soared to billions of dollars a year and they have become business giants such that they have the power to turn the economic trends. However, their growth is of no use to their employees especially the blue collared workers. They are still under paid. They barely get to meet their day-to-day needs. As highlighted by Professor Ton, the median age of a worker in retail industry is 38 and they get an average hourly wage of $9 to $10. Their jobs are designed in a way that makes them feel meaningless and worthless. Studies show that every one in four American adults (between the age of 25 and 64) do not make enough money to support their families. Overall the median age of the retail and food industry is 38, most of them have families to feed. Due to the insufficient wages these people are unable to meet the expenses of their basic necessities and have to rely on government benefits such as food stamps that costs American economy a lot and we, the tax payers, have to pay for the expenses of these low paid workers in the form of government benefits that they acquire. 30 % of them have a degree and they chose these jobs because there are not enough good jobs.
According to me the growth of WalMart and McDonalds, the rise in the income of their executives, is totally at the expense of their employees, who are barely paid above the minimum wage rate. Companies like Walmart and McDonalds offer less wages so that they can cut their costs of operation and reduce their prices. The average person near the poverty line can receive a hundred and thirty dollars in food stamps. The low wages consequently results in a burden on the government and the taxpayers. McDonalds decided to raise the hourly wage of their workers up to approximately $11 and Walmart pay around $10 above the minimum wage rate of $9. Although these wages are above the federal standards of minimum wage rate, however, they totally fail to even get close to the living wage.
As far as the argument put forward by Professor Zeynep Ton is concerned, I totally think she is on spot. She has come up with an excellent good job strategy formulated for retailers to follow. She is absolutely right that chaotic schedules, too much work load on lesser number of people, and too much to offer to consumers (in the form of a large range of products and promotions) lowers the productivity of employees as it makes them feel unwanted, meaningless and worthless. The comparative analysis that she did on Walmart and Mercedona, was very interesting for me.
The hottest “good” jobs these days, as per my findings are in the healthcare, manufacturing and financial sector. Workers in these sectors tend to earn way more than $20,000 per year, unlike the retail and fast food industry.