Ex-NM labor official shares real world experience: capitalism sucks
January 21, 2022 6:44 AM   Subscribe

And then there are the customers. Bill McCamley, former new Mexico labor official, spent time tending bar in Texas, and lays out the specifics of what the "labor shortage" is about. tldr is: everything.

Low wages, lower wages for tipped staff, bad customers, bad tips, heavy hours, long commutes, and executives who face none of these problems themselves. It's a well-written and persuasive essay, but there is literally no good news in it about ways out.

And unfortunately, the lords-of-business-in-training at UPenn's business school don't seem to even be aware of these factors, dooming us to another generation of head-scratching in the boardroom:

A couple of relevant Tweets:
@DanRiffle · 8 hrs
This is a funny anecdote from our future overlords, but a more interesting one from her paper: when you ask people what the appropriate ratio of CEO to worker pay should be, they say 7:1. Ask them what they think it is, and they estimate 30:1. The actual ratio in the US? 354:1.
@NinaStrohminger · Jan 19
I asked Wharton students what they thought the average American worker makes per year and 25% of them thought it was over six figures. One of them thought it was $800k. Really not sure what to make of this (The real number is $45k)
posted by wenestvedt (68 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
1. Death threats drove him from town

Wait, what??

2. Yeah, this is probably only news to people who have never worked service jobs or hourly-wage jobs—except it should be made into headline news all over the damn place. And also someone should, y’know, do something to rectify the situation, but at this point in time, what is to be done? It’s too late to start rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Maybe we can un-hit the iceberg?
posted by scratch at 7:10 AM on January 21, 2022 [7 favorites]


I think scheduling desperately needs to be much more regulated than it is -- minimum lead time on schedules, with significant extra pay if the lead time is violated and you're asked to work (but coupled with regulation on sick time so employees can't be punished if they call in), better overtime provisions, minimum rest times so you can't be required to CLOPEN, etc. But so many places already routinely violate the regulations around rest breaks with so few consequences that even if good regulations could be crafted around scheduling, they probably wouldn't be enforced.

Businesses are rewarded by cutting their schedules absolutely to the bone and moving their staff around like tetris pieces and something needs to make that behaviour more expensive than scheduling people on regular, predictable shifts. Government regulations and/or strong unions are really the only hope for that happening, but in states that are both at-will and right-to-work, there's no real likelihood of either.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:25 AM on January 21, 2022 [58 favorites]


worked at a theater with food/drinks way before COVID and it was the worst job i've ever held. can only imagine now.
posted by AlbertCalavicci at 7:26 AM on January 21, 2022 [3 favorites]


No to thread-sit, but even though I have teens of my own working in restaurants just like I did as a kid, I was knocked down to realize that minimum wage for tipped staff was just $2.13/hour in the year 2022. Damn.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:26 AM on January 21, 2022 [15 favorites]


Death threats:
He linked to an article about the safety concerns that prompted him to step down. The threat of violence towards public officials is so widespread- even in my ultra liberal enclave the local health official has police protection on the regular.
posted by zenon at 7:27 AM on January 21, 2022 [11 favorites]


The actual ratio in the US? 354:1.

It wasn't always this way. Ratio of CEO to average worker pay 1965-2013

The movie Wall Street came out in 1987.

(For another view, there's always Forbes.)
posted by BWA at 7:34 AM on January 21, 2022 [13 favorites]


Forklift-related accidents kill about 100 people per year; as a result of that, every reputable company requires operators to complete training from a certified instructional program before they can operate them. Wharton MBAs kill a lot more people than that, if less directly, and they're allowed to graduate believing a whole bunch of things that not only aren't true, but aren't even close to true, and get put in charge of much bigger, much more dangerous economic machines.

Seems wrong to me. Maybe MBAs should have a practical element to them that looks more like survivalist courses than classroom learning. You can pack one suitcase, no laptop, no phone, one already-almost-maxed-out credit card and a twelve-year-old car. You're given a job at an Amazon warehouse somewhere on the outskirts of a small town, and you're there for a year, in the economic wilderness. If you have to call your friends or family for help, if you can't pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, that's an F.
posted by mhoye at 7:42 AM on January 21, 2022 [112 favorites]


I genuinely wish it was easier for us to go on a strike for the large sweeping changes we all deserve. Step one would be to figure out how we can stop depending on our employers for health insurance...
posted by It Was Capitalism All Along at 8:01 AM on January 21, 2022 [19 favorites]


Step one would be to figure out how we can stop depending on our employers for health insurance...

This would be life-changing for us, and also explains why there is such entrenched opposition to changes to how health insurance is managed in the US.

The answer to low wages and poor benefits is, of course, better regulation. But like with health insurance, so much of the economy relies on the current unequal arrangement, so pushing for changes is an uphill task.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:10 AM on January 21, 2022 [18 favorites]


I asked Wharton students what they thought the average American worker makes per year and 25% of them thought it was over six figures. One of them thought it was $800k. Really not sure what to make of this (The real number is $45k)

When i was an adjunct i was helping organize an adjunct professor union, and because of a few public facing events related to that, my students started asking me about it (i was also teaching Marx at the time). I asked them how much they thought i earned and the answers ranged from between 60 to 100k a year, which was a high range even for a tenured prof at this uni (outside of the b school). The real answer (2200 per course per semester with a 3 course cap, so max less than 13k a year, less than my graduate stipend!) was a shock to them and their wealthy upstate NY bubble that i was happy to give them
posted by dis_integration at 8:18 AM on January 21, 2022 [51 favorites]


Also, the current ticket and food prices (that people already complain about) at the theater he works at are dependent on the current low wages; If that theater chain was forced to raise its wages and staffing levels (to provide a living wage, good benefits, and adequate staffing for people to be able to take breaks), there would be a lot of unhappy customers. That's why the solution has to be regulatory , rather than at the level of an individual business-- raise the minimum bar and force all businesses to adjust on a level playing field.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:25 AM on January 21, 2022 [13 favorites]


Scheduling is so crazy. They decide you're working overtime for the next few weeks. So does that mean you can decide to work fewer hours some other time? Har har.
posted by starfishprime at 8:34 AM on January 21, 2022 [6 favorites]


The benefit situation is no better. Workers get to see free movies when theaters aren’t busy, and get half off of meals purchased while at work.

My first "real" job was working as a dishwasher in a real hole-in-wall bar & restaurant, with a cheapskate owner who grumbled about paying us all minimum wage with no benefits and wouldn't fix up the building. (For example: there was a spot in the floor near the walk-in freezer we all avoided because it flexed alarmingly and nobody wanted to have their foot go crashing through it down into the basement. Don't even get me started on what that basement was like.) And you know what? Even there I got free meals during my shifts. The sheer penny-ante miserliness of corporate America never ceases to amaze me.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:36 AM on January 21, 2022 [32 favorites]


It wasn't always this way. Ratio of CEO to average worker pay 1965-2013

Reminds me of a 2019 twitter post that was recently new to me: My new hobby is taking graphs of economic data over time and indicating the year that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, in case people find that helpful or informative.
posted by msbrauer at 8:52 AM on January 21, 2022 [104 favorites]


Reminds me of a 2019 twitter post that was recently new to me: My new hobby is taking graphs of economic data over time and indicating the year that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, in case people find that helpful or informative.

Those graphs paint an astonishingly clear picture. I hope more people see them.
posted by Gelatin at 8:55 AM on January 21, 2022 [5 favorites]


I don't know what Wharton is besides apparently they go out of their way to find clueless motherfuckers as students.

Also the responses to what a CEO should make are completely baffling to me, we share a planet but do not live in the same worlds. Of course the reality statistic here is the most foul, but LMBO at people thinking a CEO should make 7:1 to an actual worker. Flip them numbers and I'd still think it too much.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:58 AM on January 21, 2022 [4 favorites]


You're given a job at an Amazon warehouse somewhere on the outskirts of a small town, and you're there for a year, in the economic wilderness. If you have to call your friends or family for help, if you can't pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, that's an F.

Many things can be endured when the finish line is in sight.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 9:15 AM on January 21, 2022 [21 favorites]


Wharton.

Trump went there.
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:21 AM on January 21, 2022 [8 favorites]


Also, the current ticket and food prices (that people already complain about) at the theater he works at are dependent on the current low wages

Don't believe the boss' lies! Workers' wages are a small part of the expenses for almost any business, and have little effect on the price of goods. The most common example is McDonalds in Denmark, where workers have benefits and vacation and childcare and get paid the equivalent of $22 an hour. Big Macs there are slightly less expensive than in the U.S.
posted by riotnrrd at 9:21 AM on January 21, 2022 [70 favorites]


Hmmm, American Power is harmful, callous, neglectful and just plain brutal to those without. American Power sycophants are totally on board with that, encourage it, worship it - often despite those sycophants being the subject of the harm themselves. Power will NOT be satisfied till those without are serfs. A completely inhuman use of 'consequences' is used to justify every single weapon in Power's arsenal used against those without power. Consequences for being poor, consequences for being born neuroatypical brain chemistry (sorry, thats not clinical uses of term), for being black, brown, native, asian, jewish, leftist, differently abled, having a uterus, being in a union, being a Central American immigrant (or really any non-nordic immigrant) and on and on and on and fucking on.

I do NOT mean all these categories of human beings suffer the same levels of shit-on by American Power - being a black or native woman requires a strength of character to merely exist in our civilization that me and my middle aged white male resourced brethren never, ever even see. But all these human beings are part of a civilization that constantly shits on them - personally, systemically, paradigmically (SO not a word ; )

I HATE the consequence regime so so much. And I'm doing everything possible in my life right now to escape Hate. But IMO we are only successful as humans when we uplift, not when we consequence.

Power does not believe in uplift, despite the flower dross to 'diversity, equity'. Blah blah blah. But eventually, peasants do decide they've had enough. Power always wins in the end - so far - but Power usually suffers in that struggle. I picked the user name for a reason.
posted by WatTylerJr at 9:28 AM on January 21, 2022 [10 favorites]


$2.13 is what the tipped minimum wage was when I was waiting tables in high school. During the first Bush administration.
posted by jeoc at 9:35 AM on January 21, 2022 [19 favorites]


>(or really any non-nordic immigrant)

the former fuckhead went there, too.1
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:43 AM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]


There was a guy in my General Physics I lab group who claimed he was a Wharton student. He had a hyphenated last name and had registered for the class using a Wharton email address. I have no idea what he was doing taking General Physics I at a rundown satellite campus of a public university located several states away from Pennsylvania, but he never showed up for labs, lectures, or recitations and would only ever meet with the group to copy our work down.

About halfway through the semester I was angry enough about the situation to privately meet with the professor. He said he would take care of it. I never saw the kid after that, and coincidentally within a week his Wharton email address started bouncing. So maybe there is some justice in the world?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:45 AM on January 21, 2022 [6 favorites]


You're given a job at an Amazon warehouse somewhere on the outskirts of a small town, and you're there for a year, in the economic wilderness. If you have to call your friends or family for help, if you can't pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, that's an F.
Many things can be endured when the finish line is in sight.


I was riding a bus through the Pittsburgh Hill District one day when I heard a young woman (obviously a student) exclaim "Why don’t they paint their houses? Show some pride in their neighborhood?”

I’m sure she was well-intentioned and equally sure that she literally had no concept that people couldn’t afford to paint their houses. It wouldn’t occur to her.

A year spent in the conditions laid out, while there would be rampant cheating and a “Common People“ level of obliviousness, would expose a lot of people to the world their coworkers actually lived in. It wouldn’t be a cure-all by any means, but reaching for a common reality would be a start.

Of course nothing like that will ever happen, but we can dream.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:45 AM on January 21, 2022 [9 favorites]


r/antiwork
posted by soundguy99 at 9:47 AM on January 21, 2022 [13 favorites]


>Power will NOT be satisfied till those without are serfs

yeah I had deleted a post here earlier this AM since it's just my general rant, but in it I had opined that the wealthy ownership class has been turning the screws on the powerless working class for decades, converting the service economy into the serf economy as rising worker productivity is converted into their profits.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=L4ww

^ monthly corporate profits per employee, 2020 dollars
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:47 AM on January 21, 2022 [8 favorites]


Wharton.

Trump went there.


Not to derail, but no he didn't. He did something affiliated with Wharton but much less prestigious or difficult to get into than the MBA program.

None of which takes away from the general awfulness of Wharton and the all-pervading awfulness of Trump. I just want to correct his lie that he's a Wharton graduate.
posted by Gadarene at 10:15 AM on January 21, 2022 [20 favorites]


I asked Wharton students what they thought the average American worker makes per year and 25% of them thought it was over six figures. One of them thought it was $800k.

Not to be the MBA Defender (TM), but I wonder if the students overthunk the question and thought the average would be skewed by Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg et al.
posted by airmail at 10:27 AM on January 21, 2022 [8 favorites]


Not to be the MBA Defender (TM), but I wonder if the students overthunk the question and thought the average would be skewed by Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg et al.

I'm not sure that's better, since those people accumulated the vast majority of their wealth through means other than wage work. This would indicate that Wharton students are both bad at math AND critical thinking skills, which... actually, not a surprise, carry on.
posted by rhymedirective at 10:34 AM on January 21, 2022 [15 favorites]


CLOPEN should only be a concept in mathematical analysis!
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 10:53 AM on January 21, 2022 [15 favorites]


I was riding a bus through the Pittsburgh Hill District one day when I heard a young woman (obviously a student) exclaim "Why don’t they paint their houses? Show some pride in their neighborhood?”

This just echos around my head as something I’ve heard all my life from my mom and other right-leaning folks I talk to: that less well off areas would be better and less “crime ridden” if people just showed pride in where they live. They loved to share stories about neighbors pulling together to clean up a street or whatever, and the positive impact.

Never did they consider people actually don’t choose that. Either they can’t afford it, or lack the time to deal with such things working multiple jobs, relying on a public transportation system that had reduced service (due to suburban voters defeating a measure to fully fund the system), etc.

In their world, all it takes is gumption and pride. They don’t see the foundation it’s built on.

(Also, the tipped wage jumped out at me, because that’s what I got waiting tables in 1989. Geeze.)
posted by MrGuilt at 10:56 AM on January 21, 2022 [14 favorites]


Wharton MBAs kill a lot more people than that, if less directly, and they're allowed to graduate believing a whole bunch of things that not only aren't true, but aren't even close to true, and get put in charge of much bigger, much more dangerous economic machines.

From the article:
The labour supply curve doesn’t slope up as the supposed economic ‘laws’ dictate but downward. To put it in terms the Bank of England might understand, the labour supply curve defies gravity.

📉
Obviously the plural of anecdote is not data but if I plot my own career on those dimensions, it is upward sloping. My part time gigs were all hourly but also low paid, and when I landed full time work, today make over 20x what I made in high school. Not quite the 100x figure the CEO pulls down, but also far more than the typical small business owner. This is especially true if you factor in health care and retirement benefits one gets in the US.

The easiest way to reconcile this in my mind is to imagine that there are mediator and confounders in the dataset that are not properly handled, producing the opposite correlation, but maybe thats just because I'm reading up on the topic. But there's also the question of why the data seems to bottom out at 40h. One could easily argue that the salary contract inhibits typical supply response, or that overtime penalty rates imposed at some point in the dataset induce a downward trend -- when the marginal hourly rate is not constant the supply and demand curves don't intersect well, the global optimum is going to be effectively set by law. Or maybe the dataset just assumes that salaried work is 40h per week! Or perhaps the UK is just especially bad at this; we know UK IT salaries are pitiful. Or maybe the nature of hours worked changed; does me shitposting on mefi during work hours count?

None of this is to say that Wharton students are especially bright or knowledgable. But I find it deeply weird that in an article about the shift in economics toward applying causal inference techniques to real world data, the first example appears to equate correlation with causation.
posted by pwnguin at 10:58 AM on January 21, 2022


Philadelphia Magazine speculates that Putin has Trump's college transcripts and their release would shatter Trump's most inflated public image as an educated genius.
posted by Brian B. at 10:58 AM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]


Not to downplay the Wharton thing, but I have seen people here on Metafilter who seem to think that the Average US wage is > $100k. Bubbles.
posted by joeyh at 11:19 AM on January 21, 2022 [11 favorites]


So many labor issues come down to working conditions and the treatment of workers. I used to teach as an adjunct at the college level—my students were also shocked to learn that most of their teachers weren't full-timers earning a living wage. They saw something like "college teaching" as prestigious and well-paid—at the community colleges where I mostly taught, it was something above what most of my students would aspire to.

I eventually stopped doing that not because of the crap money but because of the crap working conditions: students who wanted good grades without doing the work; administration who treated us very poorly (until we joined the union, it was common to, for instance, find out a section you'd been scheduled to teach had been cancelled by showing up on the first day to a sign on the door); lack of freedom to decide on course content, schedule, assignments, textbooks etc.

When people talk about teacher pay needing to be better, I 100% agree, but I also know that unless workloads, issues of professional respect, administrators who support rather than undermine teachers in dealings with students and parents, people will still reach the breaking point.

With any public-facing job, any staffing shortages just make it worse, as customers are forced to wait longer, deal with product shortages, etc.

In my youth, when working in fast food, I was more than once asked to consider becoming an Assistant Manager. But I'd seen what their lives were like—dealing with people just not showing up to their shifts, dealing with all the worst and most stressed costumes while not getting the pleasure of the lovely ones and the friendly regulars, and so no.
posted by Well I never at 11:23 AM on January 21, 2022 [10 favorites]


> pwnguin: "But I find it deeply weird that in an article about the shift in economics toward applying causal inference techniques to real world data, the first example appears to equate correlation with causation."

I interpreted this a little differently. I interpreted this as something more like, "The Bank of England and the US Fed keep giving very basic 'it's just supply-and-demand' explanations for wage/employment questions -- with great authority and confidence -- when even a cursory look at the data indicates that this minmalistic model is insufficient." Now, of course, there could easily be some kind of Simpson's Paradox thing going on with that specific chart, but for me, I'd say that even that kind of thing alone (i.e.: segmentation of the labor market) is a sufficient complication to critique the whole spherical-cow-on-a-frictionless-surface, Econ 101-type explanations that these economic authorities have previously provided.
posted by mhum at 11:27 AM on January 21, 2022


Philadelphia Magazine speculates that Putin has Trump's college transcripts and their release would shatter Trump's most inflated public image as an educated genius.

Oh come on.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:40 AM on January 21, 2022 [15 favorites]


Not to downplay the Wharton thing, but I have seen people here on Metafilter who seem to think that the Average US wage is > $100k. Bubbles.

The median US wage is far below but something like 55% of US households earn $100k+ at least one year in their earning career and per this chart 33% earn it regularly and 40% are pretty close, and the majority of people in the US spend a large part of their earning career as a part of a household.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]


This is really just more evidence of the horrible income inequality in the US that people can't imagine these numbers, because generally the people who earn $100k+ all group together.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:46 AM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


Trump’s professor at Wharton thought he was his ‘dumbest student’ ever, I remember.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:50 AM on January 21, 2022 [4 favorites]


It wasn't always this way. Ratio of CEO to average worker pay 1965-2013.

So the really sharp spike is in the Clinton era. I'm assuming NAFTA is responsible for both pushing worker wages down and CEO wages up? Any data on that?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:00 PM on January 21, 2022


> The_Vegetables: "The median US wage is far below but something like 55% of US households earn $100k+ at least one year in their earning career"

Indeed, one important thing to make sure is clear when talking about wages & earnings is whether we're talking about individuals or households. I've seen this be a serious point of miscommunication/misunderstanding in internet discussions.
posted by mhum at 12:03 PM on January 21, 2022 [12 favorites]


I'm assuming NAFTA is responsible for both pushing worker wages down and CEO wages up? Any data on that?

IIRC, NAFTA ended up being a nothingburger, compared to granting China MFN status. If anything, allowing supplychains to criss-cross Canada / US / Mexico likely counteracted the Chinese outsourcing movement a tiny bit.
posted by pwnguin at 12:07 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


Fact-Checking All of the Mysteries Surrounding Donald Trump and Penn – Why is everything about Trump’s time at Wharton shrouded in secrecy? We set out to uncover the truth., Philadelphia Magazine, Jonathan Valania, 9/14/2019:
  • Mystery #1: After two years at Fordham University, did Trump need special treatment to gain admission to Wharton?
  • Mystery #2: Did one of his Wharton professors repeatedly tell friends and associates that
  • Donald Trump “was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had”?
  • Mystery #3: Was Donald Trump the proverbial Big Man on Campus at Penn?
  • Mystery #4: Did Trump attempt to “date” Penn student Candice Bergen and get shot down?
  • Mystery #5: Did Donald Trump finish first in his class at Wharton, as he bragged to multiple journalists over the years?
  • Mystery #6: Did Trump donate $1.4 million to Penn over the years or merely pledge to do so? Did his pledges coincide with the enrollment applications of his children? Why doesn’t his name appear prominently anywhere on Penn’s campus?
  • Mystery #7: Did Trump strike Don Jr. across the face in his freshman dorm room for attempting to wear a Yankees jersey to a baseball game with him?
  • Mystery #8: What is known about Ivanka’s Penn stint beyond the fact that after two years at Georgetown, she transferred to Wharton, where, unlike her father, she graduated cum laude, in 2004?
  • Mystery #9: What do we know about Tiffany’s Penn years?
  • Mystery #10: Did Michael Cohen threaten to sue Penn back to the Stone Age if it released Trump’s grades?
posted by cenoxo at 12:09 PM on January 21, 2022 [4 favorites]


LOL college transcripts

There are two type of people who support Trump. (1) Grifters and (2) idiots. The former don't care about his transcripts and the latter would welcome low marks, if for no other reason than it encourages them to think that someday they can also own a shitty hotel or golf resort.
posted by axiom at 12:20 PM on January 21, 2022 [8 favorites]


$2.13 is what the tipped minimum wage was when I was waiting tables in high school. During the first Bush administration.

$2.13 was the minimum when I waited tables during the Reagan administration.

Which incidentally; was in Austin, where the author of this article moved to. Back in 1986, you could actually make enough to live in West Austin, Hyde Park or East Austin (all areas that are now hopelessly out of reach for the average service worker).

I moved to New Mexico and began life as an artist doing craft shows and selling in galleries. During the pandemic, the State opened up the unemployment benefits for folks like us who didn’t have old W2’s to prove their past employment. It was a godsend for artists who suddenly lost income, many who never had to get unemployment (or a “real” job) before.

While McCamley was head of New Mexico Dept. of Workforce Solutions (which oversees unemployment benefits), the pandemic hit and overwhelmed their operations. It was maddeningly difficult to get in touch with the few agents available. There was also the rising Republican propaganda about lazy welfare cheats and the Covid hoax (most of which comes from Southern New Mexico Republican politicians and was where the Dept. car was fire bombed).

Then came a report that the Dept. had supposedly overpaid benefits by a sum of $250 million and things changed immediately. McCamley left and the Dept. hired people to go after the supposed overpayments. Folks began to get audited and were summarily told to pay most if not all the benefits back. Fellow artists I know who were targeted, followed all the rules and ultimately won their appeals. But it was nerve wracking to think you might have to repay benefits with money you didn’t have. I think the whole overpayment nonsense was manufactured.

Now I know what a fight it is to get these benefits and how easy it is to turn people against them and the people who administer them. I’m sad that someone of McCamley’s talent was basically railroaded out of the State. I’m glad that he is able to use his talent to concisely explain what most workers are facing today.
posted by jabo at 12:20 PM on January 21, 2022 [22 favorites]


Bill McCamley, former new Mexico labor official, spent time tending bar in Texas, and lays out the specifics of what the "labor shortage" is about.

I enjoyed reading this - it's always great learning about other people's personal experiences, working food service at a theater sounds like a terrible job, and having a former high-level official doing the job and reporting what it's like seems like a good thing.

There seems to be a lot of talk on the American right wing about the labor shortage being due to people staying home and collecting benefits instead of working. In fact it seems like the hiring rate is even higher than the quit rate - that is, people aren't quitting to stay home, they're quitting to get a better job. A ‘Great Upgrade,’ Not A ‘Great Resignation’— Workers Quit For New And Often Better Jobs.
posted by russilwvong at 12:47 PM on January 21, 2022 [7 favorites]


Seems wrong to me. Maybe MBAs should have a practical element to them that looks more like survivalist courses than classroom learning. You can pack one suitcase, no laptop, no phone, one already-almost-maxed-out credit card and a twelve-year-old car.

Sounds like the premise for Undercover Billionaire.
posted by theorique at 12:57 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


IIRC, NAFTA ended up being a nothingburger, compared to granting China MFN status.
But China was given most-favored nation status in 1980 (not permanent until 2000, but annually renewed). So what triggered the spike shown in the pay ratio graph, most noticeably around 1994?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:40 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


Bill Clinton.
posted by box at 2:11 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


I recently left a butcher shop here in Los Angeles. Boutique shop in a high end neighborhood.

Entrepreneurs bought it from the owners a little less than a year. Original owners were tight. Low pay. No insurance. Would not accept tips on cc purchase. We didn't have a tip jar out until the last year I was there.

New owners have come in wages were kicked up a bit and allowed tips to be taken with credit card purchases. The just recently offered full time employees medical insurance.

What they require is now is insane. Shift are no different then working in a restaurant. If we don't have anything to do we had to look like we are doing something. Each shift is "overstaffed" ( because owners don't want customers to wait) and cutters are now coming out front to help with customer. Responsibility lines are fuzzy. When I was rehired and saw what was going on I thought, "Drug use here is going to increase. On a base level people are being traumatized" Sure enough, drinkers are coming in drunk. Those who smoke pot are now high throughout their shift.

And we are being paid well. I left for my own mental health, lucky that I had a good setup to fall back upon. Hardest thing about it was feeling like I was abandoning my friends. I also felt that for short term satisfaction, long term health was being sacrificed

I wanted to scream at the beginning of Covid when signs started popping up expressing "Thanks to frontline workers" If you want to thank them, agitate for better wages
posted by goalyeehah at 2:15 PM on January 21, 2022 [10 favorites]


Gen U: Generation Union: Michael Moore on the successful unionization of Starbucks in Buffalo.
posted by No Robots at 2:45 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


The thing about Wharton students is that they can expect to make low (BS) to mid (MBA) six-figures upon graduation. Weird that they don’t see the value of their exclusive education if they think just anybody can.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:47 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


Oops, not mid six figures for entry-level MBAs, more like $150k and just over $100K with a bachelor's degree.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:57 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


Then came a report that the Dept. had supposedly overpaid benefits by a sum of $250 million and things changed immediately. McCamley left and the Dept. hired people to go after the supposed overpayments.

You can thank the guy that runs id.me for that. He continues to baselessly claim that $600 billion of unemployment benefits paid earlier in the pandemic were fraudulent despite massive evidence to the contrary. Mainly because he doesn't grasp quite how shitty his service is for a lot of people.
posted by wierdo at 2:59 PM on January 21, 2022 [7 favorites]


It was just reported that we will all need to use that service to file taxes online: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/01/irs-will-soon-require-selfies-for-online-access/

FTG, 100%.
posted by wenestvedt at 4:59 PM on January 21, 2022 [6 favorites]


wenestvedt, that is one of the most frustrating articles I've read in a while. Hostility to users is a hell of a way to cut down on operating costs.

ETA: 64 million ID.me users but how many of them are locked out of their accounts at the moment?
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 6:03 PM on January 21, 2022 [5 favorites]


On the bright side, it'll be super easy for me not to use their service since it's impossible for me to sign up given that I lack the necessary identity documents and don't plan to get them any time soon. I probably will renew my passport again at some point before that's no longer possible, but that's not enough for them anyway. It's somewhat alarming how rapidly id.me is turning into an almost inescapable juggernaut.

Also, it should be noted that Brian Krebs letting his signup session expire will be counted by those asshats as a fraudulent transaction prevented. And I don't buy their assurances about security. I've seen too many instances of companies making almost identical claims that later got their shit pwned.
posted by wierdo at 6:08 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


I’m like shocked that this is news. This has been my life for the past…uncertain time. & we raised wages at least $2-4 a person and prices by about $.25 per item. Service can be hell.
posted by Grandysaur at 6:52 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]


You would think, as this is a visibly wealthy area, that tips would generally be good. While there are certainly good egg exceptions to the rule, for the most part you would be wrong.
This of course not a shock to anybody whose worked service. The best tippers are the people working service jobs or at least have done so in the past.
posted by Mitheral at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2022 [14 favorites]


The $2 tip on the $100 bill anecdote is specious. He expects a tip for selling tickets? (i.e. the ratio of food vs. ticket cost wasn't specified). I support the entirety of the conclusions but this was sloppy.

Also, as noted, no one who has worked in similar situations would find any new insights in the TFA.
posted by achrise at 6:08 AM on January 22, 2022


This transcript and short video includes some aspersions I don't care for, but the opening is well put:
Waves of Americans are refusing to go on working terrible jobs for insulting salaries, and Conservatives are not happy about it.

[When they can't get fast food because] all the employees are gone, they take to Facebook: “What has this country come to?!” “What happened to the days when Americans would work long hours without complaining about things like…a living wage or basic human dignity?”

And you hear this and you’re just like “Man, y'all just really want slavery back, huh? Y'all still miss slavery that much?”

What is this insistence on licking the boot of these corporate overlords? Why is it so hard to understand that if they want people to continue sacrificing their health, time, and sanity by working for them in a pandemic, then they can compensate them commensurately for it—which, and I know it’s a novel concept in this capitalist Hellscape, means paying people enough money for both food and shelter.
posted by brainwane at 6:10 AM on January 22, 2022


It was just reported that we will all need to use that service to file taxes online: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/01/irs-will-soon-require-selfies-for-online-access/

yeah I read that Krebs piece a couple days ago and was jaw-droppingly horrified. Terrible idea, worse execution.

However, FWIW it seems that technically we don't need to use ID.me to file online for personal income taxes for 2021 thank deity. From this CBS News piece,
""The IRS emphasizes taxpayers can pay or file their taxes without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company. Tax payments can be made from a bank account, by credit card or by other means without the use of facial recognition technology or registering for an account," the spokesperson said in a statement.
Of course, that would be technically true no matter what, since the deadline in April (the 18th, this year) is before "summer", when this is all rolling out.

And on looking at a couple of IRS.gov pages about which services need ID.me to be accessed - here and here - it seems pretty clear to me that if you have a tax situation more complex than "Send in basic form, wait for refund" you're gonna need the ID.me thing just so you can access your records or other important documents.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:47 AM on January 22, 2022 [2 favorites]


achrise: Also, as noted, no one who has worked in similar situations would find any new insights in the TFA.

Totally agree -- but I posted it because it was the experience from an experience bureaucrat, many of whom have such a privileged background that they lack firsthand exposure to current, real-world conditions.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:02 AM on January 22, 2022 [1 favorite]


He expects a tip for selling tickets?

I’ve seen people skimp on or even skip tips on bar service because “how hard is it to bring me a beer?”. Tip shorting was pretty common when I worked 35 years ago and I bet it’s only gotten worse.

Divvying up your bill based on what level of service you calculate as appropriate is; in my opinion, both petty and cheap. I also think we should scrap working for tips and pay service workers a living wage.
posted by jabo at 10:51 AM on January 22, 2022 [3 favorites]


He expects a tip for selling tickets?

Isn't it more like the government expects you to tip him, since that's the whole justification for below-minimum-wage serving jobs?
posted by clawsoon at 11:26 AM on January 22, 2022 [4 favorites]


He expects a tip for selling tickets?

So we are calling beers “tickets” now? OK. I’ll try it.

Every time I read a hot take about “just get a better job if you want to earn an actual living”, I feel the overwhelming need for a “ticket.”

Did I do it right?
posted by armeowda at 8:27 PM on January 22, 2022


Seems wrong to me. Maybe MBAs should have a practical element to them that looks more like survivalist courses than classroom learning. You can pack one suitcase, no laptop, no phone, one already-almost-maxed-out credit card and a twelve-year-old car.

One big difference in typical MBA intake between American and European business schools is age.

From my experience, the typical German MBA student is in their early 30s, they have a masters degree level (i.e. German entry level) engineering degree and have worked their way up in a manufacturing business. They often produce a thesis level project as part of their education which is likely to be based on their day job (which they keep in parallel) and which is usually quite detailed mathematical, rooted in actual business data and expected to be of practical use. They hope to use their credential in making the step from a junior manager to a senior management track.

A substantial number of American MBA students have only a few years of experience and often that is as management consultants so they may never have had any kind of non-project based role in an employer where they were accountable for something long term. That means they have no ready stock of practical experience to which to apply their new theory. If you present a few different ways of structuring an organisation (do you organise by function, by location, both?), someone with real experience will be able to apply those mental models to the places they have worked and really consider what the advantages and disadvantages are, as well as understand the massive inertial forces that might convince one to stick with the existing structure regardless of theory. A fresh 24 year old has only the cleaned up case studies in the textbooks as "experience" to draw on.

Obviously nobody with any kind of work experience would think that it is remotely typical to make $800k - even people who work in a world where senior people can earn that kind of money are often front office investment bankers or management consultants whose core skill is quick numeric estimation - imagine dropping a clanger like that in a discussion with a client on their labour costs. I really wonder what's gone on here for that number to emerge.
posted by atrazine at 10:29 AM on January 24, 2022 [2 favorites]


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