Volume 2 / Issue 11
To provide quality service to the REAP members with integrity and respect, understanding the member is the priority.
I landed my first job when I was thirteen years old, pumping gas at the Union 76 on the corner of Santa Gertrudes and La Mirada Blvd. I made $2.50 an hour. It wasn’t much of a job, but I earned a few bucks to get the things I wanted. Did I plan on making it a career? Hardly!
In 1973, I found myself heading east…Far East. After my tour of duty and discharged from the Marine Corps, I began the transition into the “real” world. Since the demand for an aircraft communications technician didn’t exist, I knew I had to come up with a plan…and quick. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, I attended a trade school…This was the beginning of my new life. It was 1977.
Since receiving that education, I’ve been an air conditioning installer and service technician, industrial laundry mechanic, a parts manager, a service manager, and finally an operations manager for a nationwide company with an office in Anaheim, serving Southern California from Atascadero to San Ysidro. Today, I find myself as a 16 year veteran and Supervisor with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Talk about the long and winding road…
The point of my story is to illustrate how the job process is theoretically designed to work. We start off slow and over time, our momentum propels us towards that crescendo in life we only dreamed about when we were teenagers. Did people help me along the way? Absolutely! Did I face challenges and uncertainty? Without a doubt! It was hard…There is no denying, life is hard. There is no magic bullet!
Recently, Seattle, Washington became the first city in the United States to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. The first wave of these new wage increases is slated to begin in April of 2015. By 2021, all businesses within the city will be required to pay the minimum wage. So how will this affect the residents of Seattle and surrounding areas? Who will benefit most? What affect will this have on the tourism, manufacturing, and technological industries in and around Seattle? If I own a business, common sense tells me I will need to develop a mechanism to offset these costs. There’s only a few ways to do this. 1) Increase the cost of my goods or 2) reduce my work force. Neither are appealing options for obvious reasons.
SEIU is spearheading the most recent drive for a $15.00 per hour minimum wage across the country. The membership numbers for SEIU are dwindling and organizing efforts are in their forefront. The fast food industry is fertile ground and just ripe for the SEIU picking.
As I watched many of the protesters being arrested on Thursday’s nationwide demonstrations, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of those demonstrators are actually affiliated with SEIU or any of the pseudonym’s they are using. According to some of the press releases I’ve read, SEIU has enlisted the help of Home Health Care workers this time around to make it appear as though they are working on a united front.
Earning a decent living is not a right. It is something that needs to be earned. Fast Food workers used to be kids in high school and college, earning just enough to help sustain them between the allowances Mom & Dad gave or the stay at home Mom or Dad that wanted to feel a sense of pride and dignity by being a contributor to the household.
The fast food industry has been embedded with a class of workers who have fallen short of their own expectations. What was once seen as a temporary stopping point in one’s working life, has become a permanent haven for many. These low paying, unskilled jobs are where we learned to be responsible to ourselves and our employer. It’s the place where we learned about self-worth and we could validate ourselves as a productive member of society. According to some reports, SEIU has spent millions of dues payer dollars to get the $15.00 per hour minimum wage…but where does it stop.
Many positions in Riverside County require a degree. For the next 10-15 years, many of your coworkers will be paying off their student loans. There are several positions in Riverside County requiring a degree paying less than $15.00 per hour.
So what do you think…Read this article by Eric Boehm and the trailing comments…Should fast food chains require their new $15.00 per hour employees to have a college degree…just asking? Let me know what you think…
Looking Towards the Future…