The fact that unemployment in the US has dropped below 6% is good news. For most Americans, falling gas prices is good news also. Then there is the bad news. Many US workers are under employed, i.e., they are over qualified for the jobs that they now have. Then, there is the worse news. People in low service jobs are in today’s market place making less money than they made several years ago. Who then is benefiting from what economists call “full employment”? Alas, it is not surprising that top-level management and CEOs benefit the most. How do we make things financially better for those at the bottom and morally better for those at the top? Here are a few ideas.
Once a month, top-level management must shadow one of the lowest paid workers in that company for a day. The next day that same manager must do two things: a) given the salary, size of family, actual cost of shelter of the worker, must make up a budget for that worker’s family b) from his/her observation during the shadowing, suggest at least one way by which the worker might become more efficient, or less physically/emotionally stressed. On a third day (not necessarily the next day) the manager and the worker sit down together to discuss the budget and the other suggestion(s). The manager and the worker must make a brief presentation to the full board at the next board meeting. This experiment should be repeated until all top-level and/or middle management persons have completed the experiment, or, until the end of one year, or when salaries are being negotiated. At that time, by secret ballot, management must recommend a salary for the workers they shadowed and one for themselves.
Workers should be encouraged to participate in some team building activity that is also recreational like a soccer or bowling team, to name two. On their own time, workers must practice and arrange to compete against other teams. Workers who cannot physically participate can help with the organizing and with the “cheer leading”. Once the workers have proved that they have a working team through a schedule and photos of team practice sessions, etc., they may ask management to provide uniforms, transportation, etc. Management has the right to reject the request.
The “haves” often rationalize isolating themselves from the ”have nots “. Although all of the major religions remind us that to have much is to have greater responsibility for the environment, for natural resources, for wild life, for human life. The truth is using ones talents to make the world a better place, is just plain common sense.