April 20, 2006
A WORK ETHIC WITHOUT A WAGE ETHIC
Caption: Noted labor economist Seamus McGoogle recommends US workers sleep 20 hours a day, "preferably on company time."
According to the April 24 Business Week, “American workers have upped their contribution to their companies’ revenues and profits at a faster clip than their European counterparts” and take fewer sick days.
A survey of 600 major US and European companies reported a 55% increase in profit per employee from American workers, compared with 14% per worker in Europe. Revenue per employee increased by 12% here compared with 8% in Europe. And US workers took an average of 5.5 sick days compared with 10 for European counterparts.
Unfortunately for those US workers, wages, stagnant for years, have not kept up with profits or with their contributions to the success of their employers.
According to the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, “As the productivity of workers increases, one would expect compensation to experience similar gains.” Too bad it doesn’t work that way these days.
Holly Sklar, author with the Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry of A Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future, wrote that “Between 1973 and 2004, worker productivity rose 78 percent, but the real minimum wage fell 24 percent. For average workers (production and nonsupervisory workers, about 80 percent of the employed private workforce, hourly wages fell 11 percent, adjusting for inflation.”
The result, she suggests, is a work ethic without a wage ethic.
While a minimum wage worker working 40 hours per week would earn $10,712, the May 1 Nation reports that the CEO of Wal-Mart “earns” around $3,500 per hour. The poor guy…the Halliburton CEO was said to bring home about $8,300 an hour, while the ExxonMobile CEO was said to earn around $13,700 per hour.
Nice gigs if you can get them.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ASTONISHING
by El Cabrero