It's pretty frustrating seeing all the headlines that claim the economy is alive and kicking. Sure, there is economic growth and a steady increase in jobs, but what kind of jobs are we talking about exactly?
Well, they aren't the kind of jobs we think of first when it comes to steady, middle-class jobs. No big surprise here, low-wage service sector jobs like those in the fast-food industry are seeing the biggest gains.
Bryce Covert at The New Republic has a nice summary of what America's workers are up against when it comes to wages.
Covert emphasizes the need for “ways to reconnect hard work and decent pay” that “hand employees more power so they can ask for more.” What does she have in mind?
- Making it easier for workers to unionize and demand better pay;
- Aiming for full employment, so all people who want a job can have one for as many hours as they need;
- Urging the Federal Reserve to be more concerned about unemployment than inflation;
- Following the German model of putting workers on corporate boards, so firms are not used as piggy banks to pump money out to shareholders;
- Providing a path to citizenship for undocumented workers; and
- Raising the minimum wage.
Covert discusses more than just minimum wage workers and the fast-food industry, she points out other issues, including wage theft, the uphill battle for workers trying to form unions, NFL cheerleaders getting paid what sometimes amounts to $2 an hour, unscrupulous employers exploiting immigrant workers and more.
Make sure you read the rest of Covert's article on decent wages: The NFL Cheerleaders Should Be Your Fair-Pay Heroes.