We don’t have many small business owners with employees among our active contributors, but at least one of the farmers has often commented on the difficulty of finding reliable employees at the fair wage offered. Yesterday I had to stop in at Petco to drop off 24 cans of dog food (no dogs in our house) that had been included in our regular repeat order of cat food. My order was complete, I wasn’t charged for the extra stuff, but it was not the first time that my order had been incorrectly picked at the warehouse. I gave the box to the store manager and she said she would donate it to a local shelter. She also said that it was a known issue – she rarely got the correct inventory shipments herself. I asked if the company used contract job fillers – we have had local exposés on the practice of bringing a van to a neighborhood of poorly documented non English speakers and charging for transportation even if there is no work for the day when they arrive at the remote warehouse. She said, no, we hire our own employees, information I confirmed by some simple internet sleuthing.
That got me thinking about pride of work and the nobility of labor. A lot is made of the precipitous decline in work opportunity and wage levels for men with no more than a high school education. There are also stories of wage theft, demand scheduling and other abusive employer practices. But that doesn’t explain why many workers who have jobs do sloppy work, don’t arrive at work on time, why they don’t get any satisfaction out of doing their job well.
Totebaggers, do you think that the cultural denigration of hard work with one’s hands plays a large part in this? Is it just the relatively low wages? Is the decline of organized labor related to a lack of respect for jobs which by their nature do not require or even permit self-direction or entrepreneurial spirit?