“The gap between low and middle is collapsing.”
March 16, 2011 1:34 PM Subscribe
Public Job as Only Route to Middle Class.
'While that might not seem like much, jobs' 'with benefits and higher-than-minimum wages, are considered plum in' the town of Gallipolis
a 'depressed corner of southern Ohio
. Decades of industrial decline have eroded private-sector jobs here, leaving a thin crust of low-paying service work that makes public-sector jobs look great in comparison.''Now, as Ohio’s legislature moves toward final approval of a bill that would chip away at public-sector unions, those workers say they see it as the opening bell in a race to the bottom. At stake, they say, is what little they have that makes them middle class.'
'“We’re not living in any rich, high-income way,” said Ms. Taylor, 37, who, together with her husband, protested the public-sector bill in Columbus this month.
“What are they wanting?” she said of the bill. “For everyone to be making minimum wage?”'
'Wages at the bottom of the labor market have stagnated since 1970, with inflation gobbling up gains made over the years. The federal minimum wage buys a lot less today; it represented just 38 percent of the average hourly wage for private, nonsupervisory workers in 2010, down from 47 percent in 1970, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.'