As Adjunct Professors Unionize

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by major56, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I'm not making this stuff up. I just happen to know a lot about the students in my field like an instructor should. Why would that be hard to believe? In studies like this, criminology and criminal justice are used interchangeably because they combine them together.

    Average LSAT Scores for 29 Majors with over 400 Students Taking the Exam

    Criminal justice isn't accounting; it's a social science. A lot of things aren't black and white and practices and laws vary from state to state, county to county, city to city, and from organization to organization. Legal interpretation and application is also not black and white. CJ falls more into the tax attorney category, but is even fuzzier than that.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2016
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    I thought I'd better join before I got drafted.
  3. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I think even a light connection to the idiotic "Fight For $15" with this situation just doesn't register. The morons running Fight For $15 are under the extreme delusion that the pool of unskilled workers doing a menial, unimportant job that requires not even a GED are somehow deserving of better pay, not to mention the fact that the general quality of food and correctness of order are spotty at best at these fast food joints. Fight For $15 is a collection of poorly-educated people running a campaign that attracts the generally stupid American that lacks even basic critical thinking skills. A Xerox Supervisor in many places makes about $14.90/hr, but to get that job you need a degree, technical knowledge, and years of supervisory experience, and it's a very demanding job. Yet, these Fight For $15 fools think some kid in high school should get paid more? Or they tell us some sob story about a loser who in 15 years couldn't find a better job than flipping burgers and by that alone DESERVES to be paid more money? America is doomed.

    The issue of poor pay and poor treatment of College Professors is actually something to be examined and improved. These people represent the educated and, often, experienced. They teach the future leaders of our society. They have a real value to our society.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Maxwell, if you like the $15 minimum wage, you're going to love the universal basic income!
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Unsupported anecdotes prove nothing.

    According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation since 1968, it would be around $11 per hour.

    If it kept up with worker productivity, however, it would be $22 per hour.

    I think that if "America is doomed," the minimum wage is hardly the reason.
  6. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    This comment made me think of something that my friend pointed out to me while we were discussing unions once. I was coming from a pro union stance, and he is neither for or against unions. He told me something that really made me think, and in a way I even think he is right. Unions were initially designed for people doing what some may call "menial" tasks with little or no education. As my friend pointed out, people with degrees can better fend for themselves. They have a degree after all. He brought up a valid point.

    "They have a real value to our society."

    I believe every man has value in our society. Whether he is a barber, a janitor a CEO or an academic. I think people that are union are union, regardless or whether they have a degree or not. In fighting as to who deserves to be paid well or not paid well does not serve unions well. An academic is a union worker just as much as a union pipe fitter or a cop. Academics make their unions sound more fancy by calling them things like Associations, but they are just good old fashioned unions.
  7. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I've hired Xerox Supervisors at $14.90/hr (if you calculate the salary into an hourly wage) into various centers across this country. That's what many of them were actually paid. They were required to have a college degree, technical knowledge, and prior supervisory experience. Those were the requirements.

    I could post countless photos, and point to videos showing the relative poor quality of fast food, there is plenty out there, but everyone already knows that fast food is generally not prepared well to look like what's shown in the commercials and instead looks like, well, food made fast. Unless, you're saying that's not the case and fast food usually looks like what they show in the commercials, done with careful crafting and presentation? If so, I'd appreciate some addresses because I'd love eat at those places!

    How many jobs can a person get without any experience or even a GED and be paid $7.75/hr MORE than the national average minimum wage? We know there aren't many, because most jobs have at least a high school diploma as a minimum educational requirement, and most of those jobs don't pay $15/hr. You don't need even a GED to work in fast food. If you did, about 30% of its workforce would be eliminated since that 30% represents mostly kids still in high school. Those kids with no skills, no completed high school education, and no experience, deserve $15/hr?

    $4 less than $15/hr.

    I believe you're referring to John Schmitt's analysis where he figured that $21.72/hr is what the wage should be. Yeah, I've read that. He's determining that by average wage (among other things) which appears to be an aggregate of wages, but there are so many variables. I mean, I give him credit for going with a very specific source to try to substantiate it (Average wage: average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls), but even there you still have tons of variables just with requirements for hire alone.

    He's also using productivity as a basis which sounds great, but that doesn't consider individual productivity variables which in a perfect world would determine a person's wage. Of course, this isn't a perfect world, but using an aggregate approach to linking productivity to wages certainly isn't the answer. Hell, I'm not even a fan of how things are done right now with paying everyone the same in certain jobs. I'd love to see how much MORE productivity we'd get if each worker's wage was tied directly to their productivity the way the typical salesperson's job is, instead of, say, paying everyone who works in a call center as a customer service rep the same wage no matter what.

    In many organizations, you have people at or around the current minimum wage and people paid at the 6-figure scale and above. In-between, you have most people being paid above minimum wage, but below $22/hr. So now, not only does the cost of keeping your minimum wage workforce increase dramatically, now you'll have to raise the wages of everybody above them who were making better than minimum wage but less than $22/hr (which is going to be the majority of your workforce).

    That would never work well. Even if it worked for one fortunate company, it would never work for most. Either a company would be unable to pay the wages in general, or they'd have to greatly reduce the workforce, or be found in a situation of being caught between both issues and wind up having to fold.

    No, but it is doomed if we think some guy wrapping up a burger with not even GED, not much work experience, and not many if any skills, should be paid more than people in jobs that require a degree, experience, and skills to get said job. It speaks to a larger issue.

    If we pay the unskilled $15/hr, everybody in more significant jobs is going to want more money, and where does it end? The job market overall is already competitive, but what happens if a dramatic wage hike at the lowest end goes into effect?

    Companies that can't afford it will have to make personnel cuts, and now we'll have fewer jobs and more competition for those fewer jobs. Hello higher unemployment rate, hello increased public financial burden.

    The average fast food worker is 29 years old. You had to make a lot of mistakes in life to be pushing 30 and still doing a job like that, UNLESS you're the Manager, General Manager, or District Manager, and then I can see it a different way. Fast Food isn't meant to be a career below the management level, it's meant to be a stopgap job or an experience builder for young people, and all the people pushing for higher wages don't realize that this will likely cause there to be fewer of those jobs and for those jobs to be more competitive, which in turn will actually see many of these same unskilled people LOSE the very job they have right now, lol!

    You already have companies like Carl's Jr. looking into a robotic workforce. So one way or another, the Fight For $15 group may get their $15/hr, but at the expense of their own jobs.
  8. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    Value varies. Not all jobs have the same value, and pay should reflect that. Sometimes it doesn't do it properly, but in the case of fast food workers I think the pay is very well commensurate to the value of their job in our society.
  9. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member


    "I've hired Xerox Supervisors at $14.90/hr (if you calculate the salary into an hourly wage) into various centers across this country. That's what many of them were actually paid. They were required to have a college degree, technical knowledge, and prior supervisory experience. Those were the requirements."

    $14.90 for supervisory experience and a college degree? That's awfully low pay. Where I live, someone couldn't even rent a room with those kinds of wages. They must have a lot of turn over. Sounds like a crappy company to work for.

    "I could post countless photos, and point to videos showing the relative poor quality of fast food, there is plenty out there, but everyone already knows that fast food is generally not prepared well to look like what's shown in the commercials and instead looks like, well, food made fast. Unless, you're saying that's not the case and fast food usually looks like what they show in the commercials, done with careful crafting and presentation? If so, I'd appreciate some addresses because I'd love eat at those places!"

    What does this have to do with the workers themselves? Fast food is fast food. You can't expect fine dining quality food when part of the menu consists of 99 cent tacos. Also, have you been in a fast food joint lately? The people there are taking orders from the drive - thru via head sets, while dealing with customers in person. They are doing several things at once. You make it sound so easy, but many times the lowest paying jobs are the most stressful. If you watch these workers, they are expected to do extra things like take inventory and stock items in addition to their other duties. It's not like they just sit there making burgers and nothing else.

    I believe Rich brings ups some good points. Is it your contention that the minimum wage should remain $8.00 an hour in to perpetuity even though the cost of living keeps going up?
  10. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    All work is honorable. It sounds like you base value on things like titles and degrees.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Do you think that the money to double unskilled workers' wages will just magically come out of thin air? Do you seriously believe that a significant hike in the price floor for labor won't have any economic consequences? If not, then why not just raise it to $50/hour so we can all have six figure salaries?

    And no, one doesn't have to find unskilled work dishonorable to ask these apparently inconvenient questions.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Because the wage should resemble the value of the work. In a perfect labor market, supply and demand forces would set the wage appropriately. But we all know that the labor market is far from perfect; it has some serious imbalance that the minimum wage attempts to address. Also, there is the dignity of work--something we allegedly value in this society. People who work hard ought to have a decent living and enjoy the fruits of both their labors and of our society.

    Before the Great Depression, the marketplace was severely skewed in favor of owners and the wealthy. We had a tiny elite and a small mercantile class, with the rest of society at the bottom. The Depression, coupled with the World War II that ensued, changed all of that. The Depression brought about major reforms in favor of workers. Labor laws became more protective. Unions strengthened--which also helped non-union workers in the employment marketplace. The War brought about an extremely socialistic program--the GI Bill--that provided pathways for returning GIs to buy homes and go to college--which millions did. Socialism--not capitalism--created the Middle Class.

    Since the 1980s, though, we've seen a steady erosion of workers' rights, benefits, and ability to compete in the labor market. The pendulum has again swung in favor of the richest and most powerful among us. The minimum wage--which has no deleterious effect on employment or the economy--is a way of addressing this inequity. It helps the least strong of us and provides a modicum of protection by shifting a little bit of wealth from the richest to the poorest.
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    No, it doesn't come out of thin air. It comes out of the gross profits which are ample.

    A Taco Bell in Ithaca was recently advertising for employees starting at $11.50. The Taco Bell in Syracuse (an hour away) was looking for employees starting at $9.50. The cost of a taco at Taco Bell is the same whether you are in Syracuse or Ithaca.

    Fast food operators have a presence in areas with very low minimum wages. They also have a presence in areas with very high minimum wages (such as San Francisco). And yet, the dollar menu is the same throughout.

    Fast food is based upon a franchise model. So it isn't as simple as "the stores in the less expensive labor markets subsidize the ones in the higher markets." They are independent businesses licensed through the same corporate parent. That corporate parent sets the basic pricing scheme. They also control your suppliers, marketing and various other services that you, as a franchisee, don't have to worry about. You pay your franchise fee and these services are included. Without the franchise model each McDonalds would be on its own to figure out where to get beef and buns and how to make the secret sauce. While there is certainly variation in states where expenses are significantly higher (such Hawaii and Alaska) you can generally count on an Egg McMuffin being the same price in San Antonio, New York and Tulsa even though the wages paid to the employees of those individual stores are likely very different.

    The fact is, fast food restaurant franchises are expensive. And the bigger and most well known brands (McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC etc) are very expensive to break into. The odds of me being able to raise sufficient capital to buy a McDonalds franchise is slim. The people who got in early, and cheap, made fortunes. The rest are typically already very wealthy or, occasionally, are simply composed of a consortium of investors who pool their money to purchase a nice "safe" fast food investment.

    The objections against paying a living wage are the same objections that were raised to justify slavery. "We can't afford it." Of course you can. Because if you own a McDonald's franchise you aren't just scraping by. You are not in a position to where you need to consider which utility bill to pay that month. And higher wages are simply going to be a cost of doing business. McDonalds would have incredibly low overhead if slavery were legal and they could just pay their employees with a shed to sleep in and a Big Mac a day. And the owners would profit handsomely. If we didn't require insurance or licenses, profits would soar still higher.

    We regulate and require those things to protect the consumer and the employee. No reasonable consumer would be able to vet a restaurant prior to eating to ensure that all facilities were clean and safe and that all food was sourced from a supplier meeting minimum safety standards. So while it's tempting to just write everything off as "caveat emptor" for a consumer, it simply isn't feasible.

    Likewise, we can't just say "Well, if you want more money get more skills." Well, we can, to a certain point. But there are individuals who cannot acquire more marketable skills.

    So, it's simple. We either create a stronger social network to protect those individuals who are given such low wages or we force employers to pay them a living wage so that they rely less on the social welfare system. The idea that a person can work 50 hours per week and not be able to afford housing, food or healthcare, however, should be offensive to everyone regardless of political affiliation.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Raising the minimum wage will definitionally affect employment. It's a rise in the price floor for labor during a time when the demand for unskilled labor is declining as automation improves. How strong the effect will be is more difficult to predict than some would admit, and I might agree that some have exaggerated the likely negative effect on employment, but to say there won't be one at all is faith-based economics denialism.
  15. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The end of slavery was absolutely devastating to many smaller plantations. It put a lot of people out of work (not to mention the slavery that continued to exist, on a smaller and more discreet scale for years to come).

    I agree that it is unreasonable to say that there will be no impact to employment. However, many of the employers addressed in these debates are very large and able to absorb that cost more comfortably. Paying $15/hr to all Wal-Mart employees would not make the Waltons any less than the billionaires they are presently. And if McDonald's is forced to pay $15/hr then it is possible that they will be more selective than they've ever been before.

    As a McDonald's alumnus myself (two years when I was in high school) I can assure you that there were, at that time at least, many inefficiencies and very much waste built into the financials for the store. It took two responsible adults supervising a team of irresponsible teenagers to run a shift. It would likely take half as many responsible adults (young or otherwise) to do the same work. But you aren't likely to attract many responsible adults at $4.75/hr (the wage at the time).

    So the higher wage may force some jobs to be eliminated. But it will also likely incentivize better employees to take on jobs that were below their economic threshold before. And so businesses may very well thrive under such a new system.

    Personally, I feel like the answer is a two-tiered minimum wage system; those under 18 make x (a lower wage) and those above 18 make y (a higher, living wage). Places like McDonalds have often been a haven for the under 18 worker. But with so many of the stores now running 24/7 and with labor laws preventing minor workers from working the night time hours in some jurisdictions it would allow places like McD's to get the best of both worlds.

    But the idea that higher wages is going to result in $15 hamburgers at McDonalds is, in my opinion, sensationalist bull. The flip side is that the idea that no adverse consequences will follow and everyone in the country will simply enjoy a higher standard of living is wrong for the same reasons.

    But the net benefit could be positive depending upon implementation.
  16. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Ah! You hit the nail on the head. Worker rights and issue have been a life long passion for me and I work in the field. Your point about these fast food chains is right on the money. These guys are making money hand over fist. My sister lives in a very expensive area in the hills. However, the guy with the biggest, fanciest house with best view is owned by the owner of a Pollo Loco. These guys are not hurting.

    "The idea that a person can work 50 hours per week and not be able to afford housing, food or healthcare, however, should be offensive to everyone regardless of political affiliation."

    This is truly a sad state of affairs, and the rest of us pay to subsidize these low wages in way or another. I have done site visits at local Wal Marts. I have seen their hiring practices. Part of their hiring paperwork includes applications for welfare, since they tend to work people part time so they don't have to pay for benefits. This paper work is part of their hiring package nation wide. I forget the exact figure, and I feel to lazy to look it up, but the cost to the taxpayer in welfare benefits to subsidize Walmart workers is enormous! Walmart is certainly not alone in this practice.

    In my view, people have been duped in to voting against their own interests. They were told that if the government gives corporations plenty of free money and tax breaks, that company will turn around and create many good living wage jobs. That has not been the case. The money stays at the top, and the CEO's give themselves millions in compensation and golden parachutes, and then cry bloody murder over the prospect of raising their workers wages by 50 cents! In many cases, they cut the workforce to further slim the profit margin. The money is not flowing downwards.

    As to Rich's point. Workers rights have been eroded while everyone stood by watched. People were told unions were bad, very bad. There is no longer a need for unions, the companies will pay you a fair wage and health benefits under the right conditions. What have we seen? The exact opposite. There is a reason why these adjunct professors want to unionize. If you work union, you live better. They have figured that out.
  17. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    It's pretty well-known that Xerox doesn't have the best reputation, although they do give people a lot of opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise had. The real issue is that Xerox does a great deal of call center business and that industry as a whole has a low satisfaction rating, so Xerox is getting some of the backlash.

    Some Supervisors make more, but it's often dependent on the project they're working on. The ones working Government projects are usually paid in the $20/hr and up neighborhood. Generally, the ones paid in the $15/hr neighborhood live in places where the cost of living is low enough that it's actually considered good money. So, variables are at play. I just wanted to point out the pay for projects I've dealt with directly. In all of those places though, the minimum wage is still less than $9/hr for jobs that require no experience, no skills, and no formal education. I couldn't image paying unskilled workers what Supervisors in those areas get paid considering the requirements those Supervisors have to meet to get the job.

    The workers prepare it.

    I don't expect it at what they're currently being paid. At their pay level, I fully expect the food to be low quality fare. But at $15/hr, it damn well better be done with care and skill, and things better not be missing as often as they are, and therein lies my other issue with this: if these people want to be paid up to double their pay while still churning out the same low quality production, that to me is not acceptable.

    A $15/hr Supervisor in the call center industry has to deal with the personal issues, insubordination, lack of work ethic, tardiness, and poor conduct of up to 100 reports + screaming customers during escalations, deal with hiring, firing, and disciplinary procedures on a constant basis, all while still having to meet production goals and balancing a wage budget that's always razor-close to being busted. To top it off, the salaried Supervisors especially will tend to work more hours than a fast food worker anyway since a great deal of the fast food industry is made up of part-time workers, so throw that into the mix.

    Personally, I think a Supe's job is much more stressful in many situations, but let's say both jobs were equally stressful: which job requires more skill and technical knowledge? Which job requires some prior education and/or experience? Which job requires you to work more than 40 hours a week no matter what? The Supervisor's job is the answer to all of those.

    In addition, with all of that being said, a job shouldn't pay more simply because it sucks more, lol. A job should be paid based on its value to the company, what's required to land the job, and how replaceable a person in that position is. In project work for example, a Supervisor is very hard to replace. There was already difficulty trying to find the right person to fill the job initially, background checks, then putting the Supe through up to a month of necessary training. A lot has to be invested into that Supervisor, and by the time they reach the floor and go through the time of managing their team, there is now a knowledgebase developed there and a people investment that's been made. If that Supe leaves during the project, often times you can't replace that person so that Supe's team has to be distributed to other Supe's which puts a big strain on the balance of the system. Some projects wind up falling apart because of it. With permanent work there is more room for error, but on temp projects it's a very big deal, and the more technical the job the bigger the deal it becomes.

    So what I'm saying is, a Supe's value to that industry is greater than the value of the typical fast food worker is to its industry, as the typical fast food worker can be easily and quickly replaced with another unskilled person with no experience, no education and a much shorter training period.

    I think that's the part that's tough. On the one end, I can't disagree that the cost of living has risen and that pay has been outpaced by it, we know that's a fact. But, on the other hand, we have an established mode of things where there is an understood separation in pay between the skilled and the unskilled. If we start paying fast food workers what skilled workers get, we disrupt that and the ceiling may become too high. This means, if you pay Billy Burger $15/hr, what do you now pay Sally Supervisor? The same? So now Sally Supervisor is working a minimum wage job? Well, that won't sit well, so now Sally Supervisor will want more money, or she's going to seek out a less stressful minimum wage job that pays $15/hr like folding shirts at the GAP.

    Drug dealing is work. Contract killing is work. Those are honorable jobs?

    Titles and degrees have value, but that's beside the point. I evaluate the value of a job based on its value to its company and industry and its impact on society. Every job does not have the same value.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2016
  18. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    Too bad for them. They don't deserve up to double their pay because they're unable to improve their skills. They're making what their lack of skill is worth.

    Like you said (and I actually said myself earlier), hiking those wages will only make the jobs more competitive, and it will also mean fewer of them. The very workers fighting for the higher wage will wind up out of a job eventually as the standards will raise, and they being unskilled will not be able to compete. The general leniency that fast food companies probably operate with in dealing with their workers will be much less forgiving if they have to pay $15/hr minimum, and I don't think these workers realize that. They're fighting for something that will in the long run eliminate them from the job market either by better skilled workers or by automated services.

    It's going to be a case of "be careful what you wish for".
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    But there isn't, historically. You don't need a prediction; you can look at what's gone on before.
  20. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    So if you're low skilled and don't have the capacity to improve then "too bad for you" you don't deserve to eat, live indoors or go to the doctor when you're ill?

    I mean, that's fine if that's your opinion on the matter, but I think it's rather cold and despicable.

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