The US labor status

Wurkkos

Jim Bonney

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Forgive me if I don’t find your armchair analysis comforting. The people you’re talking about are continually voted in by the employees of the company they’re trying to force out. Guess what they do? Work in offices or from home.

Not trying to start some kind of blue vs white collar war, but I don’t have to. We all might be real put off by that ‘self-correcting’ phase if all those who do not do keep pushing those who do in fact do.

There are a lot of very patient people who are being pushed very close to a steep edge that only has spikes and demons at the bottom.
 

jtr1962

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My mom used to work selling tokens for the MTA in the 1970s. So I'm aware of what people in some types of jobs are going through. People in that job back then got robbed. In a few cases the token booths were set ablaze. My dad worked as a sergeant for the HRA Police in welfare centers. People coming at him with knives was a regular thing. Unfortunately, until crime actually starts affecting large numbers of people, not just some workers, it doesn't get much attention. If it's any solace NYC is poised to pick an ex-cop as the next Mayor after 8 years of zero leadership under deBlasio. I guess a lot of people here already reached their breaking point. I might happen over there too sooner rather than later.

If you have a union maybe threats of a strike over dangerous working conditions might help.
 

bykfixer

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Jimbyjimb, hang in there sir.

:bowdown: Prayin' for ya.

I left the gubment work force 23 years ago. Coulda retired 2 years ago but probably wouldn't have made it. I'd either be in jail or a rubber room for……well I won't get into all that. But when I arrived the good workers were happy while the bad were not. When I left the bad workers were happy and the good workers wanted out.

Edit: I do not mean to imply every government employee who likes their job is bad. As a consultant I've worked with plenty who are true public servants over the years in various levels of government. But the place I used to work had been taken over by crooks and you either played the game their way or you got punished. I refused to play.
 
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scout24

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Reading some of the comments here, I sense a worrisome disconnect between work from home thinking and those whose jobs require in-person hands on attendance. I'd imagine the vast majority of jobs in this country require showing your face to get paid. These folks don't have the luxury of waititng for things to self correct, for things to improve. They have to show up every day if they want to eat. Things down where boots hit the ground are ugly and getting uglier. Forcing things on people doesn't help. Paying people to sit home rather than find work dosen't help. The vast majority don't have the luxury of time waiting for wages to magically come up. They have families to feed and bills to pay, living paycheck to paycheck. The average salary was something like $34k and change last year. Not much room for principles. The "self correction" of taxpayers voting with their feet begets places like Detroit, Baltimore, Lansing, Gary, etc. Take away the jobs and those who can, move. Those who can't, live in a spiraling squalor no amount of political jawboning and money throwing can fix.
 

turbodog

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I genuinely miss the comradery of the office, the greater ease of collaborating in person, and the random moments of serendipity ...

In the very good and well-reviewed book, 'deep work' there are specific studies about just this... random interactions w/ coworkers that result in inspiration.
 

turbodog

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...

Forgive me if I don't buy the 'for your safety' argument provided by office types. You don't know the first thing about safety. I promise you, a meth head with a rock will jack you up worse than Covid. ...

I understand that _someone_ still has to do various jobs (pool, HVAC, police, medical, etc) regardless of the area/clientel serviced. And if that's your message, then I agree. Yes, those jobs (and others) are needed for a functioning economy.

But if you're suggesting that covid disability, deaths, and the critical need for as many vaccinated people as possible is not important, then I have to say that you don't know the first thing about public health policy, the state of healthcare right now, just how many it's crippled/killed, and how bad this could get if c-19 mutates into something more lethal.

I know plenty of people that work in undesirable environments, and all are alive. On the other hand I know 4 people (all family) permanently removed from the workforce and currently residing in the cemetery from c-19.
 

Jim Bonney

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CPF is not a place to engage in rigorous political discourse. Many years ago when forums were relatively new I saw many evolve into pits due to delving deeply into subjects that had nothing to do with the actual topic of the forum. I only said what I said because the door was opened by others and nobody shared a real street view.

As far as you reading into my statements and/or putting words into my mouth. Grow up. I’m done here. Back to flashlights.
 

bykfixer

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In my industry there used to be 5 people in line for every job. Now it's 5 jobs for every applicant.

Road building used to be fun. But now between walking around in a plastic bag, and plastic hat in summer heat, the barage of paperwork with computer software dictating production requirements and bean counters requiring compliance, drones flying overhead looking for safety violations like a worker not wearing gloves, safety meetings thrice daily, for the same wage as a McDonalds employee……it's not fun anymore.

But it still beats the crap out of working in an office all day where coworkers plot against each other, having to stare at a screen all day, watch every word they say because somebody might be offended, while one sneeze means nearly everybody gets to share in the head cold going around.
 

idleprocess

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Reading some of the comments here, I sense a worrisome disconnect between work from home thinking and those whose jobs require in-person hands on attendance.
There are limits to individual perspectives, for sure. I inhabit a desk that used to be in an office of several hundred but can be anywhere. But working for a telecom whose value proposition is physical wired connectivity I'm well aware of the need for work occurring in specific distributed geographic locations and at customer premises.

I'd imagine the vast majority of jobs in this country require showing your face to get paid.
Per research conducted by Stanford in June 2020, the numbers were surprising:
We see an incredible 42 percent of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time. About another 33 percent are not working – a testament to the savage impact of the lockdown recession. And the remaining 26 percent – mostly essential service workers – are working on their business premises. So, by sheer numbers, the U.S. is a working-from-home economy. Almost twice as many employees are working from home as at work.
We can assume that a majority of those not working at the time had jobs that required working at a specific location. However there were no shortage of WFH-capable positions there were eliminated as the economy contracted in 2020. So I think it's safe to say that a majority of the workforce cannot work from home, but I would not characterize it as the vast majority.

Regardless of how the split is characterized, I think we can agree that there are markedly different needs for those who must work onsite vs those afforded the ability to work from home.

Paying people to sit home rather than find work dosen't help. The vast majority don't have the luxury of time waiting for wages to magically come up.
This gets into the politics of public health and the difficult decisions that had to be made in 2020 as the pandemic worsened, hospitals ran into serious capacity bottlenecks, and the limits of our public safety nets were made apparent. My sense is that in the macro sense the decisions were generally for the best given the conditions and preexisting constraints and - like so many hated things - their success became the most powerful rhetorical argument against them. The micro picture of course varied considerably and there were the extremes of suffering and grossly misallocated largesse bookending the more mundane outcomes.

The vast majority don't have the luxury of time waiting for wages to magically come up. They have families to feed and bills to pay, living paycheck to paycheck. The average salary was something like $34k and change last year. Not much room for principles.
Given employers' much-talked-about troubles finding employees in a broad swath of lower-end positions, it would seem that the value proposition has shifted and the employers will need to adapt to this new reality regardless of their prospective employees' current plight. Raising wages is a solution that employers are trying to much gnashing of teeth. But there are other factors that they'll likely have to address to make their offerings more appealing, centering around employee quality of (work) life.

I can remember a time when working full time at the very least meant you weren't poor. It would be great it we could get back to something like that again.
 

scout24

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Good question, Byk.

Idleprocess- I'm not going to argue with you, but I think the view from where you sit doesn't match my view. I'll agree to disagree, but I fear greatly circumstances in the near future will not prove your case. I hope I'm wrong.
 

jtr1962

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But there are other factors that they'll likely have to address to make their offerings more appealing, centering around employee quality of (work) life.
Scant little they can do about that when often many of the problems are due to an abusive customer base. We all see the way people on planes, in stores, in restaurants are mistreating those trying to serve them. It's an epidemic of boorish behavior but I'm not sure there's any governmental or private industry solution to it. As a result, people are leaving these jobs in droves. Can't blame them.
I can remember a time when working full time at the very least meant you weren't poor. It would be great it we could get back to something like that again.
I hope we get there again also. My uncle raised five children and his wife never worked. Now families with two paychecks are struggling. Something seriously wrong with that picture. "Work hard and stay poor" isn't a good thing if you're trying to sell capitalism.
 

jtr1962

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Good question, Byk.

Idleprocess- I'm not going to argue with you, but I think the view from where you sit doesn't match my view. I'll agree to disagree, but I fear greatly circumstances in the near future will not prove your case. I hope I'm wrong.
Just wondering what you see as the endgame of what you and jimbyjim are talking about. Yeah, things are getting lousy for people who are working in the field. You would have to be hiding under a rock not to see it. Do you foresee essential workers quitting in such numbers that society collapses? I think there will be interventions long before that.
 

jtr1962

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But if you're suggesting that covid disability, deaths, and the critical need for as many vaccinated people as possible is not important, then I have to say that you don't know the first thing about public health policy, the state of healthcare right now, just how many it's crippled/killed, and how bad this could get if c-19 mutates into something more lethal.
Yes. While viruses typically mutate to become more virulent but less lethal, it's not impossible that a highly contagious strain can mutate into something much more lethal and as contagious. The more people getting vaccinated, the lower the chance for such a mutation. Let's do a thought experiment on what happens if there's a covid strain as virulent as delta but with, say, a 25% mortality rate. That's not a place I'd want to be. Enough essential workers would be sick at the same time such that much of society would just collapse. Probably the resulting famine, lack of power, and unsanitary conditions would wipe out another 25%. Just look at how much damage a disease with a ~1.5% mortality rate has already caused.
 

bykfixer

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I don't get how come these threads keep turning into shot or not, covid 19 comply or you're a murderer thread.
I started this one because the 'pandemic supply chain' one was turning into a labor status thread combined with get the shot or you'll kill grandma thread.

Look, we all know the new Rona virus sucks. No disputing that. We also know there are two distinct camps on the matter. One camp eagerly complies. Good for them. Many in the other camp have valued reasons for why they don't comply with government dictates and feel like "this is the government the Founders warned us about". Agree or disagree, it's reality.

I don't take issue with getting a shot that may save my life. (As in I'm not anti-vax.)
I do take issue with a government telling my employer to make me get a shot or face huge fines from OSHA, which in turn forces my employer to dictate get the shot or lose my job.… even if I've had the virus and have natural immunity?
Really?

So yes labor status is changing in a ton of ways some of which is due to what appears to many as tyranical dictates from an over zealous government who often do not comply with their own rules. A government who often puts out conflicting information then says "don't sweat it, the benefit far outweighs the risk"…… and if you disagree with that you are ostrisized, ridiculed and shamed.

So there, I too have made a post about the virus, the shot and the government even though this is a thread about the status of labor in the US of A lately.
 

idleprocess

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Idleprocess- I'm not going to argue with you, but I think the view from where you sit doesn't match my view. I'll agree to disagree
Fair enough.

Scant little they can do about that when often many of the problems are due to an abusive customer base.
I heard an interview on the radio the other day with a HR consultant who went beyond the navel gazing of most analysis on hiring trends. When it came to the service sector's hiring and retention woes, they brilliantly summarized a probable solution with 'the customer is always right' will have to come to an end - to which my takeaway was the pain of losing the business of their more abusive customers was not as great as the pain of employee attrition.

"Work hard and stay poor" isn't a good thing if you're trying to sell capitalism.
That's a problem that we've refused to acknowledge. As at least a few observers have stated, at some point you decide the game is rigged, drop out and get angry - and what you get angry at might happen to be what's right in front of you rather than a more considered target.
 

orbital

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re: 'the game is rigged'

Sure, the program While the rest of us die is interesting, the sub-prime lending of the early 2000s' was equally at fault of people getting home loans with nothing more than a library card.
This exact same thing is happening now with one tap student loan refinancing with another $10K added for sh*ts & giggles.
All those loans right now, are being bundled & sold exactly as the cause of the financial crisis of 2007.
(called mortgage default swaps, to be specific)

With all kinds of stimulus/checks/deposits being made,, why go apply somewhere?
People believe they can b:tch & complain instead of paying bills,
yep this now gets political...
______________________________________________
I still picture all the shipping containers in California, [][][][] absolute mountains of them.
gee, if we only produced & manufactured goods in the US;;; maybe those huge ships could bring in workers happy to work.


Then people could do more bitching & complaining about that.
 

Poppy

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L. Ron Hubbard (the creator of Scientology as a religion) was a prolific writer.
One of his books is: "The Problems of Work"

I don't recall most of it, but one thing that stuck with me is that in his opinion, people would be happier in their job if twice a year they switched jobs. Some jobs are mindless repetitive, others require great physical demands, and others require great mental demands. He proposed that people nestle in, to the type of job they are best suited for, and in time become dissatisfied in their position.
If however they were to change positions with their counter part, after a week or two, of shoveling dirt, a white collar worker would appreciate his air conditioned office, and sitting on his $$$ much more.
OTOH, a ditch digger, may appreciate his job much more, (being able to socialize with comrades, and getting good exercise), after he was placed in a job that required lots of thought and filing detailed reports.

Was he right? IDK. My first job was a newspaper route, followed by another. My next one was at a fast food joint. Followed by one where I was an assembly-line worker. That one lasted for two weeks, then the factory closed for two weeks vacation, and I never went back. Instead I got a job pumping gas. Eventually, I went back to College and created for myself a hands-on white collar job.

Undoubtedly there are times I enjoy getting my hands dirty, doing construction carpentry, electrical, or repairing something mechanical. There's a satisfaction in doing something physical.

All this to say, that while automation may in some ways move us forward, as a country, that may take away many mundane jobs that many in our society are complacent with, and who may not qualify for the "white collar jobs".
 

jtr1962

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I don't recall most of it, but one thing that stuck with me is that in his opinion, people would be happier in their job if twice a year they switched jobs. Some jobs are mindless repetitive, others require great physical demands, and others require great mental demands. He proposed that people nestle in, to the type of job they are best suited for, and in time become dissatisfied in their position.
I think that's the issue in a nutshell but I'll take it one step further. Basically, we have an employment system which frowns upon people who change jobs frequently and/or have large gaps in their resume where they were apparently doing nothing, or at least nothing that could be considered employment. So the system encourages you to stay at a job long past the time where you're bored to tears, and also to stay within the same field simply because it's difficult to get hired for a different type of job where you have no relevant experience. Systems which reward years of service with more vacation time, or a higher pension, tend to reinforce this. I personally think people should change jobs as soon as what they're doing starts to become stale. Even the notion of "a career" is suspect. Why would anyone want to do the same type of work their entire life? Maybe there are some high level jobs where your skill set really does continue to improve, even after 20 years, and there's enough variety to keep things interesting. But that's often jobs which require advanced degrees.

Beyond what we do, there's also how much time we spend doing it. Think about this. Most of us have hobbies we love, but if we did those hobbies for 40 hours or more a week, for months on end, we would cease to love them. So that's another facet of the problem. I've heard if American workers had their hours cut in proportion to their gains in productivity since WWII a 2-day, 15 hour work week would now be the norm. Five days and 40+ hours is just too much. You're working 5 days out of every 7 when it's healthier to do the exact opposite. Add in commutes and the picture is even more skewed. Our distant ancestors in almost all cases had far more time for themselves than we do now. But until recently, when someone tries to have a greater work-life balance, they're considered "lazy", "a parasite", "slacker", etc. The millennials and Gen Z actually started the ball rolling in this new direction over the last decade, but it's only recently that the idea seems to be catching on with other age cohorts.

All that said, a return to positions like "general helper", which seems to be what L. Ron Hubbard alluded to, would be a great start.
All this to say, that while automation may in some ways move us forward, as a country, that may take away many mundane jobs that many in our society are complacent with, and who may not qualify for the "white collar jobs".
While true I'm thinking a lot of those who may not qualify for white collar jobs have other talents they may never explore simply because they're stuck in a grind. I'm also thinking in a world with more automation, more leisure, no unskilled jobs, we'll educate people differently to develop whatever skills they may possess, so they too can fit into this new world. Everyone has something positive to contribute to this world.
 

jtr1962

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Look, we all know the new Rona virus sucks. No disputing that. We also know there are two distinct camps on the matter. One camp eagerly complies. Good for them. Many in the other camp have valued reasons for why they don't comply with government dictates and feel like "this is the government the Founders warned us about". Agree or disagree, it's reality.
Well, we seem to be unique here among nations in the level at which this went from a public health emergency to everything else you mentioned. And on both sides of the camp. I'll go out on a limb here and say that I think the primary cause is the woeful state of STEM education in this country. If people aren't well versed in a subject, of course some will find some of the measures puzzling, or needlessly intrusive, etc. Then when those who follow the measures blame the pandemic not ending on those who don't, you get negativity from them as well. Both sides seem to be following the old adage of not letting a good crisis go to waste.

A government who often puts out conflicting information then says "don't sweat it, the benefit far outweighs the risk"…… and if you disagree with that you are ostrisized, ridiculed and shamed.
This goes right back to what I mentioned about the lack of STEM education. Those of us who are versed in it fully expect the messages will change and often be conflicting simply because we're on a learning curve. That's how science and medicine works. I remember in the beginning we didn't know how long the virus lasted on surfaces, so we really erred on the side of caution. In China they were actually spraying the streets with disinfectant. Now we know the primary vector is air, not surfaces, so measures like that seem silly in retrospect.

We're in a bad place now. I'm having a hard time seeing how we get back to normal, even after covid is a distant memory.
 
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