Article 43

 

Article 43 Turns Eight

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America as the land of opportunity has passed into history.
- Return of the Robber Barons - August 2007

Her part-time position pays $250-$350 a week - a far cry from the $72,000 a year she made as a loan processor, but Jones says she is quick to pick up extra shifts when she can to help make ends meet. She has never stopped looking for a full-time job.  “At this point I will take anything,” Jones said.
- Under Employed and Under The Radar - October 2008

Despite trillions of dollars spent on “shovel-ready” jobs, the jobs are conspicuous by their absence.
- Why Everyone Suffers When Job Seekers Give Up - July, 2010

For 90 percent of American workers, incomes have stagnated or fallen for the past three decades.
- All Work And No Pay - July 2011

It doesn’t have to be like this. No external dynamic is keeping unemployment at more than 8 percent and consigning a generation of young workers to an economy in which risk is plentiful and opportunities scarce. It is only a failure of political will - and an almost universal embrace of conservative voodoo economics that is keeping us mired in this dark economic moment.
- End This Depression Now, Paul Krugman - May 2012

Now I can say I’m working, but can’t say Im paying the bills, or feeling any inkling of security, or hopeful about a better tomorrow.  The new job simply slows down the bleeding of my retirement savings to meet expenses.  And I’m still keenly aware, and deeply afraid, that one catastrophic illness is all it takes to face devastating financial ruin. The gen-y younger adults that got hired with me said they-re getting good pay and medical benefits.
- The Beaten Baby Boomer - August 2012

If you demonize a people long enough, they will become the demons you’ve made them out to be.
- Ahmed Said - September 2012

Cinderella Revisited

Article 43 turned eight on September 4.  And I started another DISPOSABLE temp job about a month before that.

Just when I thought the SCREWING OF THE PROFESSIONAL AMERICAN WORKER couldn’t get any worse - it did.
.
Since our first post - the middle-class has been CRUSHED, while the POOR and unemployed BABY BOOMERS have been OUTCAST by GOVERNMENT and SOCIETY - with NO END IN SIGHT.

People like me are SYMBOLS OF THE SYSTEM - layed off from good jobs and promising careers in CORPORATE AMERICA - now revolving from one low paid temp job to another - for less money than we made twenty years ago - A TREND that’s been going on for so long, it’s HARD TO SEE IT CHANGING.

I’m nearly CONVINCED that long-term UNEMPLOYMENT OR UNDEREMPLOYMENT is my future, and that I’m going to loose the house, wind up in the street, and die penniless and alone.  Five million other jobless middle-aged Americans may be thinking THE SAME.

WHO WOULD EVER IMAGINE the AMERICAN DREAM would become a NIGHTMARE.

Pep talks like “Take one day at a time” are things we’re forced to hear our incere and ignorant FRIENDS tell us, while hoping our LUCK changes.

The psychological impact of CORPORATE DOWNSIZING and PROLONGED downward social mobility MOVING FROM middle-class, to living year after year as a disposable temp - with it’s PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL, and FINANCIAL stresses - isn’t fully UNDERSTOOD, ACKNOWLEDGED, or APPRECIATED.

Do you have any idea how many jobs I applied for this year, just to be deemed “overqualified” and denied?

A lot.

If a guy with 20 years experience applied for an entry level job at my company, I’d take him in a heartbeat and consider myself lucky.  But these days overqualified REALLY MEANS too old. A bad thing.  Us DISCARDED AND DEMORALIZED folks OVER 40 gotta live with that.

Then there’s the labor pool.  With hundreds of DESPERATE and VULNERABLE unemployed people applying for one job - big business employers GOT THE UPPER HAND.

Managers that are smart enough to value the SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE OF US OLDER WORKERS - take advantage of our desperation.  HR departments call it “being competitive”, but let’s call it what it is - EXPLOITATIVE.

After submitting at least a hundred jobs a month the past six months, all I got was about a dozen interviews - and finally accepted - out of desperation - a temp job whose salary is insulting.

Seven years ago temp agencies CONTRACTED me out as a day laborer to their customers. Now a customer just hired me as a low paid, disposable TEMP. That cuts out the middle man, and still leaves people like me with a TINY PAYCHECK, no SICK LEAVE, no vacation, NO CHRISTMAS OFF, no MEDICAL or HEALTH insurance, no DENTAL coverage, no benefits, no hope, and no future.

SEVEN YEARS AGO as a contracted Sprint engineer for a staffing company, I had to deal with this:

FEUDALISM and SERFDOM at Telecom companies.

The thick divider between temps (often called contractors) and employees is clearly illustrated by listening to conversations between workers.

Overheard at the water cooler in engineering:

Mary to Betsy (they work for the company) - My husband and I are going to Hawaii for vacation next week.

Bill to Steve (they work for a staffing company doing the same job as Mary and Betsy) - A collection agency called me twice this weekend demanding $500 a month for my wifes hospital bill last year.  The most I can afford is $50.  The guy threatened me.  I said I’m sorry and hung up.

Donnie to Frank (work for company) - I got a 5% raise and $5,000 bonus this year.  Ill be new car shopping this weekend!

Eddie to James (work for staffing company doing the same job as Donnie and Frank) - We’ve been working at this telco two years as temps with no benefits, medical insurance or paid time off.  When is the exploitation of labor in this country going to turn around?  By the way, what time is it?  My watch battery died last month, I cant afford to replace it.

The boss’ email to everyone - The company will give all employess three paid days off for Hurricane Wilma. Contractors (ie: contracted employess of staffing agencies) will not get paid if they dont come in.

Last week at my new, month old job, I listened to the boss talk about her new car, then was asked to join my non-temp workmates for lunch Friday at a restaurant. 

As a COUNTER OF PENNIES - I brown bag lunch and eat at my desk to save money, so they all went out - but me.

DejaVu all over again.

Flaunting the FLSA

This EXEMPT + TEMP worker’s compensation = no paid time off - including official company holidays, no benefits, and work overtime for free. 

In Florida - if one works for LESS THAN 90 DAYS at a company - that time may not even qualify for UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE.

After not getting paid for involuntarily taking off the LABOR DAY holiday - I’m expected to stay late other nights - UNPAID - until all work is done.  Can you spell CINDERELLA?  If you thought there’s LAWS against that - YOU’RE PROBABLY RIGHT

How do you think it feels to be DESPERATE enough to accept a position as an EXEMPT employee, working for a company that’s possibly breaking THE LAW by prefacing the position with the meaningless word temp, while ignoring the FAIR LABOR STANDARS ACT (see chapter 541.602)?

Now tell me how bad China’s labor laws are.

Shattered Spirit

How does one spend day after day, month after month, year after year, without having a mental or emotional breakdown - being USED like this - stepped on like a doormat, treated like a slave, and fearful of the future? 

If I were a BETTING GUY, I’d say a REVOLUTION by the WORKING CLASS may not be NOT TOO FAR AWAY.

PEOPLE can only take so much.

Us professional, jobless baby boomers need to ORGANIZE into a COLLECTIVE, and speak loudly in a single voice.

Not just for ourselves.

For workers everywhere.

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Census: Middle class shrinks to an all-time low

By Carol Morello
Washington Post
September 12, 2012

The vise on the middle class tightened last year, driving down its share of the income pie as the number of Americans in poverty leveled off and the most affluent households saw their portion grow, new census data released Wednesday showed.

Income inequality increased by 1.6 percent, the Census Bureau said in its annual report on poverty, income and health insurance. This was the biggest one-year increase in almost two decades and suggested that a trend in place since the late 1970s was picking up steam.

As a snapshot of a nation recovering from one of its worst recessions ever, the census report had both shadows and highlights. Median household income declined $777, to $50,054 before taxes. But the poverty rate, which many experts had predicted would rise to rates unseen in nearly half a century, inched down a hair to 15 percent, a decline of about 100,000 people. And fewer Americans were without health insurance, largely because of a provision in the 2010 health-care law allowing young adults to stay on their parents policies.

The new census statistics, coming out just two months before the presidential election, should fuel the ongoing debate over the shrinking middle class, income inequality and a gnawing fear that for many, the American dream is receding out of reach. This week, the Pew Research Center said a third of Americans now identify themselves as lower class or lower-middle class, up from a quarter four years ago. Among young adults, the percentage who see themselves as occupying the bottom of the heap is even higher.

For many economists, the most TROUBLING statistics were those on income INEQUALITY underscoring the middle-class squeeze.

The 60 percent of households earning between roughly $20,000 and $101,000 collectively earned 46.6 of all income, a 1.5 percent drop. In 1990, they shared over 50 percent of income.

In contrast, the census data show, the top fifth rose 1.6 percent in 2011 after several years of decline during the recession. The biggest gains went to the top 5 percent, who earn more than $186,000; their share of income jumped almost 5 percent in a single year.

Scholars said the disparate numbers underscore the many prisms through which different groups of people view the anemic economic recovery.

“It explains the disconnect between the numbers saying there’s slow improvement and job growth, and the way people feel, because they haven’t recovered,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of Measure of America at the Social Science Research Council. “Its partly because the recovery has mostly been felt at the top.”

Tim Smeeding, director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said the working class, whose pay tops out about $62,000, are bearing the brunt of the income squeeze.

“Their pay rate has gone down, the number of hours that everyone in the house works has gone down, their homes have lost value,” he said. “These ARE THE PEOPLE really ravaged by the recession.”

The political reaction to the census data was immediate.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/13/12 •
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