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Stuck In Part-Time

A soaring number of Americans are stuck with part-time jobs. It’s keeping costs down for companies, but it’s crippling the Middle Class. We’ll dig in.

Time Card. (By TheGoogly/Flickr)

Time Card. (By TheGoogly/Flickr)

For millions of Americans, part-time work has become the new normal.  Some like it.  College students, maybe.  Some seniors, maybe.  Maybe others.  But an awful lot of part-time workers devoutly wish for full-time jobs – and can’t get them.

Part-time work is all over now. But of course it doesn’t pay like full-time.  It comes with far fewer, if any, benefits.  And part-time is harder than it used to be.  No regular schedule.  Hours all over the map.  Constantly changing.  And take it or leave it.  At poverty wages.

This hour, On Point:  we’re staring at today’s reality of part-time work.

-Tom Ashbrook


Steven Greenhouse, labor and workplace reporter for the New York Times. You can find his latest piece on part-time work here.

Susan Lambert, associate professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. You can find a recent op-ed on changes in the workplace here.

Carrie Gleason, executive director of the Retail Action Project.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “This has created an army of “underutilized labor.” America’s narrow unemployment rate is 7.9%, but it is 14.6% when accounting for involuntary part-time workers. The number of Americans working full time has declined by 5.9 million since September 2007, while the number working part time has jumped by 2.6 million.”

New York Times “While there have always been part-time workers, especially at restaurants and retailers, employers today rely on them far more than before as they seek to cut costs and align staffing to customer traffic. This trend has frustrated millions of Americans who want to work full-time, reducing their pay and benefits.”

Huffington Post “Two dozen workers at a Walmart-contracted warehouse in Southern California walked off the job Wednesday morning, calling on the companies that benefit from their work to improve conditions at the facility and to end what workers describe as retaliation for speaking out.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620202164 Rip Rybnikar

    Twelve days from 60, was unemployed for over two years after my position was eliminated, current job 29 hrs per week only while classes are in session (7 months a year.)  It is not the best of times…

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      On possible and very doable solution would be a 6 hour work day, with new and different overtime rules. The fundamental long term solution is to force a change in the equilibrium point of the supply and demand curves for labor. By forcing labor shortages, you necessarily force the price of wages up. The movement should be international in scope. Technology will continue to eliminate the need for all types of labor at an accelerating rate.
      Another more subtle change that is needed is to modify the thinking of the workaholic. Greater emphasis should be given to creating a more “rounded” individual with many diverse interest. I am always amazed when I hear people tell me that they don’t want to retire because they don’t know what they would do all day ! When I hear this I can’t help but think that these people have sold themselves short, by defining themselves by their work. I am not talking about someone who can’t afford to quit work but those that seem to think that there is nothing else but that which they have done for so long.

  • hennorama

    Apologies in advance for being completely off-topic (again).

    For anyone worried about America’s future – watch the young people in the PBS/NOVA show “Ultimate Mars Challenge,” and all your worries will disappear.  The show reveals the details of the problem solving needed to build and precisely land the nearly 2,000 lb. Curiosity rover on Mars.

    The reaction from the control room when there is a successful touchdown is the same as it’s ever been – arms thrust in the air combined with loud whoops, followed by congratulations all around. 
    What an amazing achievement!  This stuff still gives me chills.

    We get so bogged down in the mundane stuff of life – the fiscal cliff and all that, and the prurient – the Petraeus scandal, etc. – that we often forget what we can and do achieve when smart people work together.

    Congress – I’m looking at YOU!  Get you [expletive deleted] together and solve this stuff that is so simple in comparison to what these talented and dedicated people achieved.


  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Outsourcing, over population among the poorest of people in the world, shifting demographics, technological changes, market saturations, diminishing returns, the loss of unions, corporate welfare, excessive greed, big money political campaigns, lack of corporate cash dividends, lack of a coherent and affordable single payer health care program, unaffordable education; these are just some of the reasons for our current labor and economic problems. We have lost our sense of “ the greatest good for the most people”. We have turned our backs on our own code; “E Pluribus Unum” and in so doing, we sharpen the knives we will use to cannibalize each other. It doesn’t have to be this way. The world is exactly what we make it! We would be wise to reconsider the phrase, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union … “

    • DrewInGeorgia


    • Michiganjf

      That’s a good list, but “shifting demographics,” excessive greed,” and “diminishing returns” can be more specifically elaborated as “the shifting of most wealth from the hands of the many to the hands of the few.”

      The biggest problem is STILL that too much wealth is concentrated to the point that it can’t be spread around enough to support job growth for enough people.

      Those “technological changes,” though… that’s a biggie!

      Just think of ALL THE JOBS digitization ALONE has cost… from production to retail, think of all the jobs it has cost, in:

      The music industry
      The movie industry
      The book industry
      The photographic industries
      The print industries
      The CPA industry
      The “office” industries (no longer need as much paper, equipment, furniture, ink, various supplies, etc… it’s easy to work from home, or condense almost an entire office onto one PC).

      Take the movie industry alone:

      no one has to create, sell, or develop or duplicate film and film reels any more… no one has to deliver or store film reels… projectionists are either not needed, or not in the same numbers… movie crew members working with the film itself can be much smaller… film couriers aren’t needed.

      All these “info-tainment” industries listed above traditionally paid all their related positions well, and America has traditionally led in ALL of them!

      Entertainment has long been America’s NUMBER ONE export, but it’s dwindling fast!

      Add these kinds of complex and FAR REACHING consequences to pretty much every area you list in your post above, and IT’S A WONDER OUR UNEMPLOYMENT IS AS LOW AS IT IS, AT ONLY 7.9%, which is better than the unemployment figure of most advanced nations today!!!!

      TOM ASHBROOK amazes me, as he spends HOURS on countless ON POINT shows talking about all these phenomenon which have affected joblessness and the demise of the middle class, yet then he’ll ask a guest what Presdient Obama is doing wrong since he can’t improve the unemployment numbers or the economy!!!!”

      I think we’ll soon look back on these years as the LAST of the “golden years” of LOW unemployment… at least, if Republicans and their 35%-of-America-constituency can’t figure out that bolstering an American middle IS THE ANSWER, and that CAN”T BE DONE BY PUTTING ALL THE WEALTH IN THE HANDS OF 2% OF THE POPLULATION!


      It’s hard enough to deal with all of the forces you describe in your post above… we don’t need to take it on the chin for the FILTHY RICH as well!

      • DrewInGeorgia


        Hear, Hear!

      • Gregg Smith

        You sound like the gas companies decrying electricity.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I worked two “part-time” jobs simultaneously, each was 35-40 hours per week and both paid minimum wage. Between the two I averaged just below eighty hours weekly. Now add the commute times which averaged six to eight hours. That’s eighty five hours a week. I was not allowed breaks at one job and generally worked eight to nine hour shifts at each. If you think that’s illegal you don’t know labor laws in The Great State of Georgia. If you think there are Federal Labor Laws that should apply, guess again. That’s sixteen to eighteen hours per day with total travel times to and between jobs about an hour. Almost twenty hours a day, with a twenty minute break at one job. And did I mention that one of my employers loved to bounce my shifts anytime they were in the slightest bind?

    For what? For wages on which I still couldn’t really make a living? For no healthcare? For no Vacation or Sick days? For 4-6 hours a day in which I was supposed eat, sleep, sh*t, shower, shave, and enjoy my “pursuit of happiness”?

    Before anyone foolishly opens their mouth and spouts the “You should have quit!” or “You should have gotten a better job!” or “You must be an idiot!” Bootstrap Bullsh*t that the fortunate and blissfully ignorant among us always spew, you don’t know what you’ll do to survive and to support your family until all of your options have been removed. I’m not digging into the details, suffice it to say that apparently I am to spend the rest of my life paying for the crimes and actions of someone I’ve never met. I am not complaining, just trying to help some among us understand that the people who know everything don’t know anything.

    The point of this lengthy post? Through continuing increases in corporate profit margins and the legislation and policies which result we have legally and literally turned our lowest paid workers into serfs. We have taken principles and ideals that had unlimited potential, principles that Our Country was founded on, and flushed them down the toilet so that Daddy WarBucks can wipe his bottom with Thouasnd Dollar Bills.

    It has to stop. It has to stop now.
    We’ve been feeding on our own kind for decades and the past ten years demonstrate perfectly the result of said cannibalism.

    Wake Up People.

    • 1Brett1

      Man….and you probably never got any overtime pay; I’ll bet your employers even said things to you when you got close to overtime that might make any reasonable person think it would be your fault if you went over scheduled time, i.e., one minute its “we need you to stay over,” the next minute it’s “you gotta get outta here.” This is what’s meant by “flexible” hours: you come in anytime they tell you to, and you leave when they tell you to leave! And, if you are too sick to work, they treat you like you’ve stolen from the company, are a bad employee, and they say you need a doctor’s note!

      I have a neighbor who seems to work two jobs around the clock. No matter what time I see him he’s “going to work.” His horror stories are similar to what you describe.

      • responseTwo

        This post (Drew In Georgia) sums up what America has become. We’re not the greatest country in the world anymore. I’m a baby boomer and have had a front row seat in watching US turn into a land of myth and self-delusion. There eventually be a revolution if nothing changes. I never realized how fortunate I was to be a baby boomer until now.


        • Steve__T

           Amen Brother.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Just got to watch the video, thanks for posting I loved it. What movie did it come from?

          • responseTwo

            I believe it was on HBO but don’t know the movie. Maybe can be find more on Google by searching on “Why America is NOT the greatest country in the world, anymore”

          • DrewInGeorgia

            You’re welcome, thanks again for posting. Hope you have a great evening!

      • DrewInGeorgia

        It gets even better when there are circumstances that the employers know would make it difficult for you to gain employment if you were to be ‘separated’. It matters not what the circumstance is, only that they know you are between a rock and a hard place.

    • Gregg Smith

      I don’t know your personal story, I hate it if you got the shaft. A minimum wage job cannot support a family. The answer is not to artificially raise the wage, it’s for you to nurture the skills to be of worth in the marketplace.

      • http://www.facebook.com/crowell.jon Jon Crowell

        Gregg — what do you suggest should happen to people who are not capable of nurturing skills that will be rewarded in the marketplace?

        • Gregg Smith

          There is a safety hammock for the extremely rare exceptions who are not capable of nurturing skills.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I refuse to ‘swing in the safety hammock’, I have always felt and continue feel that there is always someone in greater need than I. I’ve spent my life paying in, not a day taking out. I must be a Taker, right?

          • Gregg Smith

            How could you be defined as a “taker”?

          • DrewInGeorgia

            That is a great question. I must be a taker though as I am in the 47% who currently don’t pay income taxes. This of course is due to not having any demonstrable income, but some people just don’t get it.

          • Vigilarus

            Your employers are the takers, Taking for themselves most of the profit your productivity creates and leaving you crumbs.

            I hope they raise the minimum wage soon for the sake of all workers like you. Bless you.

          • anamaria23

            The truth is that even those who have skills, capable of nurturing more are being exploited and left out while
            those at the top reap too much.

            Are one in five children in the country without enough to eat “rare exceptions”  while 406 billionaires have multiple fully stocked homes and some order their hand crafted  underwear from Paris?  Or upgrade their private jets every year?

        • Michiganjf

          … and a HUGE number of American jobs ARE minimum wage… what does Gregg think???… that all those jobs won’t STILL need to be filled by some other poor saps??… or that employers will just pay everyone more out of kindness?? 

          More money in more pockets creating more demand for products and services, and ultimately, MORE DEMAND FOR WORKERS, THUS RAISING WAGES FROM SHEER COMPETITION FOR LABOR!!

          Get 90% of the wealth OUT OF THE HANDS of the few and INTO THE HANDS of the many!!!

          • DrewInGeorgia

            “that employers will just pay everyone more out of kindness??”

            DING, DING, DING!!! We have a winner folks!

            This is the idiotic, blindly followed, gleefully preached, and willfully imposed Belief Structure of those who bare the Lion’s Share of the blame for where we stand as a Nation.

            But a Rising Ship raises all tides right?

      • Shag_Wevera

        In other words, quit and get a better job!

      • DrewInGeorgia

        College educated, AUTOCAD Certified, and IT proficient.

        Quality Control, Quality Assurance, Retail Management, Retail Sales, Mechanical Drafting, PC diagnostic and repair, Auto and Tractor/Trailer maintenance and repair, Audio and Video installation and repair, Inventory and Shipping, and extensive Customer Service experience. This isn’t even a complete list of my various work experience.

        By all means General G, tell me what I’m lacking?
        The only thing your reply does is clearly illustrate the point made in the third paragraph of the post which you replied to.

        • Gregg Smith

          I should have written “of more worth than minimum wage” in the marketplace.” It probably doesn’t mean much.

          Look Drew, you imply there is something unique to your situation and outside of your control. I can’t comment to that. All I can tell you is don’t expect the calvary in the form of the US government to save you. Don’t support the party that is shrinking the universe of available jobs. Try not to be angry at things you can’t control. Think outside the box, maybe move. Good luck.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I don’t feel that my situation is all that unique. The primary determining factor in the direction my life has taken the past fifteen plus years happens to more and more people every day, many just never become aware of it. It’s called Criminal Identity Theft.

            “Good luck.”
            Thanks Gregg, it is sincerely appreciated.

    • hennorama

      Congratulations Drew, on your perseverence and your ability to maintain some level of sanity during your heroic struggles.  Similar circumstances presented themselves in my past, so I empathize deeply with your plight.

      You have no doubt heard all of the following before, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant:

      Hang in there, and keep looking for other outlets for your many talents.  Don’t be reluctant to share your experiences with as many people as possible, as you never know how the next opportunity may arise.  For example, a significant turning point during my struggles came about from a conversation I had while waiting for a bus on the way to yet another job interview.

      Best regards.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Thanks so much, your encouraging words are greatly appreciated. I’m doing alright, there are a few billion people who are far worse off than I am.

        I sincerely hope we face our failures as a species before we find ourselves keeping the dinosaurs company in the great dustbin of History.

        As an afterthought I feel I should add that I don’t consider myself heroic and that the maintaining of “some level of sanity” is entirely questionable. That means I’m still sane right?

        Thanks again!

    • John_in_Amherst

      Although I missed some of today’s show, I was surprised that no
      correlation was made between the rise in part time, non-benefited
      positions and the absurd levels of pay and dividends for people at the
      top of the corporate heap and their investors.  Corporations squeeze
      people at the bottom of the work force to maximize the returns for their
      executives and stock holders.  Shameful, really.  And almost suspicious
      when a show that is examining the plight of part timers fails to
      connect the dots.  Tom, you are slipping.

  • Vigilarus

    What about the future implementation of the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to provide health insurance to workers of over 30 hours per week? Some employers are already saying that all employees will be held to 29 hours max per week.

    I support healthcare reform (single payer!) but this sounds like a pernicious incentive.

    • anamaria23

      It does seem like a move to single payer would help  all levels of society especially lifting the burden off business.
      Our health care system is a form of psychic and financial slavery for the masses, while certain people  have become
      quite wealthy on the backs of the sick. 
      CEO’s  at top of health care Co’s making   $11,000,000

      I have numerous relatives all across Canada and they are well satisfied with their system and most live long and healthy lives.  They do pay a rather hefty 13%  tax on most everything, but their quality of life is quite good
      Life threatening diagnoses are treated immediately while one may wait for elective surgery, but everybody gets it if needed.  I don’t think their doctors come out of school with as much debt as ours.

      I heard last night that corporations are sitting on one trillion dollars.

      Didn’t Henry Ford say that he paid a living wage so that his workers could buy his cars?

      Would not the demand for all products go up if workers had more money to spend?

      • margbi

        Hear hear!! You can’t have mass production without mass consumption. Henry Ford got that one right.

    • hennorama

      Let’s say an employer has 50 employees each working 40 hrs/wk.  This is 2000 worker hrs/wk total.  If they reduce all workers hours to 28/wk, they would then need 71.43 employees to get the same total worker hrs/wk.  Unless they have MASSIVE productivity improvements, of course, which would be highly unlikely.  A 43% productivity increase would be required for the same 50 workers, if they each only worked 28 hrs/wk.

      So now the employer has the increased costs and headaches associated with training and scheduling and worrying about sick time and injuries and all the other stuff that goes with hiring 21.43 new workers.

      Assuming you could find 21.43 workers who would accept only 28 hrs/wk.

      It’s doable, but presents significant headaches to employers making that choice.

  • Ed75

    I don’t think the effect of the Affordable Care Act in this area can be overestimated.

    • Jasoturner

       If you don’t think the effect of the ACA can be overstated, you apparently don’t know any republicans…

    • Gregg Smith

      But it certainly can be underestimated.

  • 1Brett1

    Maybe the Affordable Care Act should be more stringent; maybe it should be any business with over 10 employees of over 10 hours a week. That way, it will either force employers to provide or make it easier for workers to say, “screw this job” when they get fed up with no pay and being asked to work an erratic schedule or the myriad other stunts employers pull. 

    So, the ACA is bad because unscrupulous employers can use it as an excuse to further screw their employees? 

    • pete18

      The results of the “affordable care act” to
      hurt the economy, make it harder to see a physician,
      raise the costs of healthcare (rather than “bend the curve down” as was promised) and raise everyone’s taxes was completely predictable to anyone who was paying attention. Making the ACA more “stringent” won’t force employers to “provide” more it will force them to hire less workers and that will drop unemployment even further adding more glory to Obama’s fabulous job creation record. That’s not because employers are “unscrupulous,” it’s because they can’t afford to make hires beyond a certain cost or they’ll go out of business.


      • 1Brett1

        “Making the ACA more “stringent” won’t force employers to “provide” more it will force them to hire less workers and that will drop unemployment even further adding more glory to Obama’s fabulous job creation record.”
        Wow, you’re reading way too much into my flippant comment. No, it wouldn’t force employers to do anything, especially the unscrupulous ones, but it would allow employees to say, “screw you,” and those employers would have to do something or have no employees.  

        It was a kind of fantasy protest permission idea, to empower employees or relieve the economic blackmail they are under. When you see some of the insane profits companies are making and how badly they treat their employees, it’s difficult to have any sympathy for employers in this mess. 

        I would like to see health insurance separated from employment altogether.

        • pete18

           No employee is going to say “screw you” in today’s economy. The larger companies aren’t the real worry here, it’s the smaller ones (the more likely place that new jobs would come from) that will struggle the most with this. They operate on much thinner margins and can’t readily absorb the hit Obama care lays on them.
          Don’t confuse your distaste with companies that are making “obscene profits” with a bad policy that predictably suppresses job growth in the economy as a whole.

          • 1Brett1

            To reply…first I’m not confusing anything. These business practices have been implemented and honed long before there was any hint of “Obamacare.” The fact is, these practices are de rigueur for many businesses large or small. They don’t look past the next quarter; they only look at tangibles in their spreadsheet analyses, and NOT how much turnover/training/competent workforces effect their bottom lines.

            These practices discussed today too greatly benefit employers and make workers expendable worker bees, and it holds workers hostage with a kind of economic blackmail. It’s not likely to change, whether employers have to provide health insurance or not. 

          • pete18

             I’d say you are confusing things if you are applauding Obama care because you like the fact that one of of its ancillary effects punishes companies for practices that you find distasteful. That seems a poor reason to be in favor of
            a program that has the unavoidable result of being far more destructive to employees than those “de rigueur” practices by making less jobs available to them.

            As to the the business practices themselves, could you be more specific? Which ones would you have the government regulate rather than letting the market sort out?

          • 1Brett1

            If you read any of my comments and read I am “applauding Obamcare,” then you have reading comprehension problems. 

            The practices I am referring to in ALL of my posts are the ones talked about on the show. Did you listen to the show? 

          • pete18

             I read your comment suggesting the idea that you saw something liberating for the employee and corrective for the employer in an even more stringent application of Obama Care. Hard to argue that inferring some degree of support for ACA from that missive requires a lack of comprehension. Maybe you argued differently elsewhere in the thread but, and I know this may be shocking to hear, I didn’t spend all day following the entirety of your comments.

            I also only listened to a small part of the show and maybe the parts I missed articulated all your specifics about abhorrent business practices and regulations. I was just curious given your other responses, whether there was a specific place you thought regulations could improve things without having the unintended negative consequences that often happens when government tries to mandate behavior between two free parties (IE, Obama Care’s negative effect on hiring). 

          • 1Brett1

            If you read my “other responses” you would know that I was being somewhat facetious about making Obamacare more stringent with respect to the criteria in the mandate…  

            But, yeah, government can regulate behavior re: labor. Hence, we no longer have 10-year-old children working in glue factories for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week; we no longer have meat-packing conditions a la Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, and so on. 

    • jefe68

      I support a national health care system, but your idea is wont work. I’m not sure how we get out of this mess, the ACA is a step, and I think a very small step, in the right direction, but what your advocating will only make it worse. The mandate is a joke and it only heightens the dysfunctional aspect of our market based health care system.

      • 1Brett1

        I wasn’t being serious in that I know what I imagined for a moment wouldn’t fly; it was a kind of response to the comments about how the ACA is prompting employers to kill jobs. I don’t agree. I think employers are using the ACA as an excuse not to support their employees. Look the Pappa John’s nonsense? 

      • 1Brett1

        single payer is the only answer

        • Gregg Smith

          Who is the “payer”?

          • http://www.facebook.com/crowell.jon Jon Crowell

            We all are — through the government.

          • Gregg Smith

            Just so we’re clear.

          • Shag_Wevera

            I’m not sure, but you could ask any other industrialized western country.  They seem to get it.

          • anamaria23

            A  tax paid by everyone on most everything.  The  enhanced quality of life would be worth every penny.

    • Gregg Smith

      It’s bad because it kills jobs (among other things). Does your idea broadcast to businesses: “Go forth and propagate”?

      • 1Brett1

        I’d like to see health care be separated from employers altogether.

        • hopeful61

          I agree. With so many people out of work and many self employed people like myself, tying the ability to obtain health insurance to one’s employment status doesn’t make a lot of sense.  The self employed get really screwed as premiums are ridiculously high with high deductibles, thus my $560.00 out the door every month (for just me, a 50 year old healthy woman) doesn’t cover very much.

      • Shag_Wevera

        How about telling the job creators “propogate yourself”!

    • Shag_Wevera

      The “job creators” will find the soft spot in any code or policy, and wriggle through it.  If there is anything they know, it is how to hold onto their cash and avoid sharing it in any way.

      • harverdphd

         ..their cash…precisely

  • Gregg Smith

    Kudos to On Point for delving into this (now that the election is safely over). When the pundits report job numbers there is rarely a distinction made between part-time, full-time, the under-employed or those who have given up. Job growth is anemic and the available universe of jobs has been down graded. A tax hike on the top rate will fix everything.

    • anamaria23

      Conversely, the tax cuts have proved not helpful.

    • jimino

      “Right” again!  We all know that a deregulated private economy that distributes its gains to an increasingly smaller number of people is the only solution.

      If that’s not your proposal, what is it?

      • Gregg Smith

        Do you mean a tax hike won’t work?

        • pete18

           Oh, come on, Gregg! Didn’t you hear Obama yesterday? At tax hike on the rich will raise a trillion dollars.

          • Gregg Smith

            Happy days are here again!

        • jimino

          An slight increase in federal income taxes for those to whom essentially ALL the economic benefits have gone over the past 30 years will help address the deficit, but even that only in a relatively insignificant manner.  It will have no impact on the overall economy, similar to the undeniable fact (if you use facts) that the reduction in those taxes did not benefit the economy.

          The fundamental flaws in global capitalism which have led to the conditions that todays’ show will discuss are not going to be addressed by the moderate right-winger (Obama) or the reactionaries that now control the Republican party.

          But back to my question, do you actually have a proposal on what needs to be done?

          • Gregg Smith

            Sure I have proposals but you won’t like them. I do think On Point actually looking at the numbers behind the numbers is a good start to an honest debate. That’s ll I said.

            I don’t agree with your premise. Those in the over 250K bracket have not received the most. They have given the most. My guess is (please correct me) you consider a tax break the same thing as getting a check. I don’t.

          • jimino

            It’s got nothing to do with your juvenile chalk line of “getting a check”.  By your thinking, if my business gets rent-free office space at a federal building and my competitors don’t, I really haven’t received a benefit.  After all I wouldn’t be getting a check.

            I believe those benefiting from government should pay for it. 

          • Gregg Smith

            But not the 47%?

          • Ray in VT

            Most of them are retirees or pay other taxes, especially payroll taxes.

          • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

             ” My guess is (please correct me) you consider a tax break the same thing as getting a check.”

            Actually it is.

            If a homeowner spends $12000 per year for housing she can deduct and receive $2000 check on her return vs. a renter who sends $12000 but gets gets no deduction that tax break IS a subsidy and the equivalent of a check.

            The same argument can be made for married couples vs. singles, people with kids vs. those without.

            A similar argument can be made about the tax free income represented by the employer contribution to medical insurance premiums.

            Any intellectually honest economist will label these differential treatments of income as subsidies. The difference is it is fashionable to call a section 8 voucher a welfare check while calling the home mortgage deduction and its property tax deduction close cousin tax breaks.

            Both are federal subsidies.

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s her money, it’s a refund.

          • Vigilarus

            It’s not her money if it means that less well off renters pay more taxes to make up for her deduction. Her refund is an unappreciated gift from poorer renters such as myself.

            The mortgage deduction is one of the most regressive tax policies, economists agree that it needs to go.

  • ttajtt

    over populated, lack of supplies for demands, quality vs quantity, need – use – disregard – next.  like camping with the structure of nature we use it and disregard it in firewood, food, gas, progress process.  nature recycling on her time not ours.   old growth trees and its environment could cool us now.   sometimes we don’t think for the generations to come, or when we get old.  talk care of ourselves todays week, next weeks tomorrows, next months week.  and the childrens’ children too. 

    but then what the dam, i might not make it though the day.   max it out.  we were dust in the wind, topsoil, duff, littler.   now boxed future scientific experiment of why we died off, became.   we even kill our human waste, no wonder water -soil, is so dead.

    honey those are for me, not jr.   i’ll go get some powder thats better for jr.  the right tool for the right job.   get real.     

  • Shag_Wevera

    No balance remains between labor and ownership in this world.  When the US finally uses inflation to erase its debt, does anyone think ownership will honor the rising wage part of the equation.

    Labor is almost always a business’ greatest expense and liability.  Labor is damn near the enemy.  Owners by nature try to undercut and underpay them at every turn.

    I’ve long hoped for a pendulum swing in the other direction, but labor isn’t done being stepped on yet.  Best wishes to the Walmart workers who walked off the job in protest.  I’m sure they’ve already been replaced. 

    • Vigilarus

      Wages are starting to rise in China as the slave workers there rise up, and the cost of shipping is rising too. Maybe there’s some hope in the long run, unless robots replace all the working classes who would then be invited to find a bridge to starve under or jump off.

      Gar Alperovitz describes the most promising development- worker-owned cooperative capitalism, expanding and reinvesting in the community’s sustainible growth.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    We are struggling with the effects of more than just an
    economic re-balancing and globalization. We are seeing the effects of over 3 decades of corporate America driving towards greater and greater efficiency through computer automation in nearly every human endeavor. On-line stores have driven brick and mortar stores up against the ropes. Fewer and fewer people are needed to meet the needs of the population, thus there is not just a job shortage, there is a work shortage.

    Consider a theoretical scenario wherein Bots’R’Us debuts a cheap robot that can do ANY job that any human being can do. With that technological revolution, humans as workers become obsolete; there is no work that we are needed for. How could a modern day economy survive in such a revolution?

    Until leaders in business and government acknowledge the techno-macro economic forces at work and unite to develop a viable economic model for all, I don’t see things getting much better as a whole. Sure the economy will bounce back, but on average, prosperity of individuals will continue to decline and capitalism, as we know it, will serve us less and
    less well with each economic cycle as fewer and fewer people are needed to meet the needs of humanity. Economists, politicians and captains of industry need to
    start talking seriously about this now.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Great points, Mark … which means, devoid another major pro-labor movement or catastrophic digital crash via a cyber attack or skyrocketing fuel prices that buoy digital services, we can always fall back on one of the most labor-intensive occupations: farming, which would bring us full circle, because the whole point of the industrial revolution was to pull us out of the fields in the first place.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Employees are the biggest cost of any business – and any way they can cut those expenses, they are going to.

    There will eventually be another labor movement – but people still have a long way to go before they are as desperate as we were a century ago, to go without any wages, and getting beat up and arrested, or worse, in the hopes of securing a bigger paycheck.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Don’t be so certain about still having a long way to go my friend.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        When people are willing to go through what the OWS went through just so they can get a equitable wage for their labor, we’re there. But most people are not. 

      • ttajtt

        when was it the population started to sit more. raido, tv, ride, a industrial spurt, and they talk about the wheel.    

    • Brandstad

      wages can go up, but does it really help the average american when all fast food and normal wallmart products costs go up by an equal percentage?

  • http://twitter.com/Jinx1338 Jinx1338

    This topic throws weight to the side for Obamacare.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      This topic throws weight to the side of Universal Healthcare, the Affordable Care Act barely even qualifies as a baby step.

  • toc1234

    yep – I guessed steve greenhouse would be on and voila – there he is…  NYT’s resident union mouthpiece…  in fact I believe his position there is endowed by the AFL-CIO.

  • Michiganjf

    This dilemma of American business transitioning to part-time jobs is STILL about PROFITS FOR THE RICH!!

    As long as business has to shoulder expensive benefits for full-time workers, those businesses will continue shifting AWAY from full-time employees.


    Take expensive benefits OFF the backs of businesses, and THEY’LL WANT TO HIRE MORE FULL-TIME POSITIONS, as there are many benefits from having more dedicated, more experienced employees… in fact, the ONLY real drawback to business of hiring full-timers IS having to pay for a benefits package which includes healthcare.

    Republicans would NEVER have allowed President Obama to push through a single-payer system… it was OBVIOUSLY hard enough for the President to push through a scaled down version of a once ambitious REPUBLICAN healthcare bill… but Obamacare takes us one step closer to a smarter system which can eventually transition more easily to a single payer system… THE SYSTEM WE ULTIMATELY NEED!!!!

  • pete18

    Given the nature of today’s conversation I found a fun and enlightening game for everyone to play called “Soak the Rich.”


    • Ray in VT

      I know.  It would be so awful for the rich to be so heavily burdened to the point that they would be paying the same top tier tax rate that they paid from 1993-2000, which was also lower than they paid prior to 1987.

      • Brandstad

        You could tax all income over 250K at 100% and it still wouldn’t put our country into surplus!

        • Ray in VT

          Well, it’s a good thing that no one’s talking about that.  Nobody’s even talking about taxing at the rate that existed for most of Saint Ronald’s presidency.

      • pete18

        The question isn’t whether it would be a burden for the rich to pay the rates they paid in the 80s or 90s, it’s what would those rates do in terms of reducing the deficit or helping the economy. Obama is trying to scam you into believing it will have some kind of positive impact, but according to
        Joint Committee on Taxation, raising the rates on the the top two tax tiers would cover around 2% of the current federal budget deficit, and would
        make no dent of any sort in the $16 trillion debt. However, it could slow the economy down even more, which would be a foolish move to make at this point.

        You also can’t make this argument in terms of fairness since the the top income earners already pay the largest percentage of the tax revenues.

        • Ray in VT

          One could argue that, certainly, but one could also argue that since the top earners have been taking in a greater and greater share of the national income and wealth over the past 30 years while most of the population has just muddled along with incomes that have barely kept up, if they have, with inflation, then they are the ones who are mostly benefiting and can afford to pay more.

          Are you talking all tax revenues or income tax revenues?  I haven’t looked for a good breakdown, but many households pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes, and those taxes, along with sales taxes, tend to be more regressive and hit lower income earners much harder.  The total share of federal revenues that comes from payroll taxes is much higher now than it was at other times in the post-war period.

          I’m not sure that just allowing the top rates to expire is enough, given the historically low percentage of GDP that is being collected as revenue by the Federal government, and there certainly needs to be cuts in spending, but I think that it needs to be a part of the discussion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lori.cerny.7 Lori Cerny

    After working a full time and a secondary part time job for over 17 years, I finally said, “no more!”  Now, I only work one part time job at less than 28 hours per week.  I do not receive benefits, but with no spouse and no heirs, life insurance is not a concern.  I finally have time to walk to a park or bike my city’s trails.  I also had to change my wants, no tablet, no cell, no designer clothes, but now I indulge in hobbies, knitting, gardening, photography, etc., and I’m finally enjoying life, not struggling to attain a social life. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Prediction – when things get bad enough that union memberships start going up, laws protecting union rights, right to strike, etc. will start being challenged and overturned in the courts.

    • Brandstad

      72% of all jobs created durring Obama’s first term were created in right to work states even though these states only account for about 40% of the US population. 

      For the sake of our country, please pray the Unions don’t  get favorable treatment from our president or jobs will have to go overseas.

    • Don_B1

      The court results will be the result of the work of the Federalist Society with the G.W. Bush administration.

      The F.S. had worked to develop a list of strong libertarian and corporate business advocates as candidates for judgeships, and the Bush administration flooded the Senate with nominees, so there was not time to investigate each one so they were “consented to” by the Democrats in the Senate, with only a few egregious nominees being opposed.

      The Democrats do not seem to have taken the same approach, relying on the traditional selection process of Senators in the area where the court has jurisdiction. That works when moderation is the goal but not when counterbalancing radical right jurisprudence.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GVNSLALVZK5KXG6UCEUYVX3EZU Craig

    Papa John’s John Schnatter is a poster-boy for the arogant CEOs who want to cut employee hours to part-time “because of Obamacare.”  The cost of the minimal employee health care required would be less than a nickel a pizza pie — and far less than his nationally advertized “two million free pizzas” campaign.  Schatter isn’t hurting – witness his 40,000 sq. ft. mansion outside Louisville with its private golf course, multiple swimming pools and a 22 car garage.

    Many employers do not value the contributions of their employees — be they full-time or part-time.  And as our population ages, we have a growing problem of age discrimination; well qualified, well educated men and women in their 50ties and 60ties being forced out of their jobs because some business owners consider them & their health care to be “too expensive.”

    • J__o__h__n

      Why can’t Republicans make good pizza?  In addition to Papa John’s awful pizza, Herman Cain’s Godfather’s and Domino’s. 

    • agavegirl

      The VP of my department of 400 people, at a very large company, said to us when he took over a few years ago, if you are still at the same job for more than 5 years and haven’t moved up, you are stagnant and you need to question what adding value you are adding to the enterprise.   There is zero respect for the worker bees from the ivory tower.  And where are the 350 worker bees supposed to ascend to within the organization?  There are no so many top slots.  

  • J__o__h__n

    Yet another reason to not shop at Walmart. 

    And I’m not shopping on Thanksgiving. 

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Wonder how long it will be before we drop the Thanksgiving label and start calling it Black Thursday?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The flip sides of part-time are those that are salaried and working 60-80 hours or more a week, and the ones working for nothing – interns are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Been there and done that. I was as salaried at about 32K a year once upon a time. I also did the intern BS once, never again. I have experienced work weeks in excess of 120 hours while a salaried manager. Do the math and you’ll quickly realize that the salaried manager of a multimillion dollar enterprise can be paid less than the Federal minimum wage. And it’s all perfectly legal.

  • Brandstad

    Thank you Obama,  While your ObamaCare program gives me healthcare that I already had for a higher price, it has also cut my work hours from 40 to 28 hours per week.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      If your business saw a cost benefit of pushing you to 28 hours, it would likely have happened anyway. Obamacare is just the scape goat du jour.

    • Ray in VT

      Sounds like your job is the problem.  My company’s health care cost increases have slowed of late and we’re still loaded with work.  Our former CEO and his people ran the numbers a while back and came to the conclusion that national health care, like our neighbors to the north have, would save us several thousand per worker per year.

  • Brandstad

    Obamacare will cost jobs and promote automation in industrial production since Obamacare adds a cost of $1.70 per hour worked to every employee in the US.

  • Yar

    I want a discussion on what it means to have a living wage.  I would like to see minimum wages tied to the cost of energy.  Should wages reflect changes in gas prices when they vary by a dollar or more?  I expect we are in for hyper-inflation, keeping up wages as the currency value deflates will be challenging.  Economist in Brazil used a fake currency called URV, (unit Real Value) to protect the country from civil unrest during a hyper-inflationary period. .  Part time work should include the cost of healthcare just as overtime work pay extra toward the cost of healthcare. Healthcare is 19 percent of our GDP and should be part of all wages.
    This will level the playing field.  Talk about the meaning of living wage.  

  • Jacqui Barnett

    I am a Starbucks employee and am always required to work holidays. I am also a graduate student and I had a really hard time getting time off in the month of December because of how busy our store will be. I am extremely frustrated with my situation sometimes. I have worked at Starbucks since I began college in 2004 and I have stuck with the company because of the benefits, but even as a dedicated, long-term partner I am given a hard time when I need less hours at work to focus on school. The fact that I am a full-time grad. student and working just shy of 40 hours a week just to get by is a whole different story.

  • ThirdWayForward


    Gender inequality pales before the differences in wages and benefits between part-time and full-time workers. Yet almost nothing is ever said about this situation. Few want to admit that they are underemployed.

    In many areas, the part-time vs full-time distinction is in reality a caste system — impossible to go from part-time to full-time.

    In academia the caste system is almost completely impassable. Part-time adjunct professors are the “New Faculty Majority”, yet they are paid at rates 1/4, 1/3 and if lucky sometimes 1/2 the rates of their full-time colleagues,
    and without benefits.

    It’s all a matter of manipulation and intimidation. We need and ethos in which no worker is automatically disposable — we need an environment that pays workers proportional to their work, and not on the basis of whether they are part- or full-time.

    HR departments are evil.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    Funny, my ex-colleague who works about 3-4 hours per week on his previous job (that paid over 100k plus bonus), pretty much doing nothing at work, got a $125k (new) job at Cisco, through deceit and resume doctoring. 
    Maybe these part-time workers need to learn how to make their resume standout like my pal.

    • agavegirl

      Sign me up. 

  • http://twitter.com/Chucktownrunner Chucktown Runner

    The hardest part about finding full-time work is navigating the HR process. Could you discuss Application Tracking Systems and pathways to hiring managers.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      And background reports provided by private companies that are neither monitored or regulated. Background providers whose sources and accuracy are never questioned, only acted upon to the detriment of millions.

  • Erika Rubin

    I have been working through a temp agency for over a year now. All the places say the jobs are temp to perm, but when it comes to actually hiring someone for the position, they just keep me on as a temp. Which means no benefits, no time off, no holiday pay. My place of employment will be closed for the Christmas Holiday and I will not be getting a pay check for that week. I feel like I am doing a good job and that I would be an asset to the company, but I can’t seem to get past the temp part. I’m not sure if that is my fault or the fact that the company saves so much money by just keeping the position temporary. It’s very frustrating and I see no way to escape, since all my other interviews have proved fruitless.

  • Brandstad

    DENNY’S to charge 5% ‘Obamacare surcharge’ and cut employee hours…

    Thank you OBAMA!!

    • Ray in VT

      A Denny’s franchisee.  Not the whole company.  I’d be willing to bet this guy’s in about the same boat as Papa John’s, where they can cover the cost of insuring their employees at the increase of a few cents per pizza.  I’m sure that Mr. Metz won’t see his presumably cushy lifestyle impacted.  How dare those cooks and servers want health care coverage.  What do they think this is, the wealthiest nation on Earth or something?

      • agavegirl

        Those cooks think they are entitled to healthcare, to housing, to you name it….as Mittens said on his taped speech to his millionaire donors.

  • ToyYoda

    Tom, can you please ask your guest the rapid rise of contract working?  I am one, and contracts last for several months to a couple of years, and the hourly rate more than compensates for the loss of benefits.  The hours is much like a fulltime worker or more and I get compensated for the extra hours.

    So, why do companies do it?  If it seems more costly to them because they don’t pay me benefits, but more than compensate me for it.

    (If it’s relevant, I am a single guy.)


  • Amanda Moore

    Don’t forget that taxpayers subsidize this practice because so many of these workers must make ends meet with food stamps and other government assistance. We pay for these “cheap” goods one way or another.

  • http://twitter.com/Chucktownrunner Chucktown Runner

    The hard part about finding full-time work is navigating the HR process. Finding a pathway through the applicant tracking system and past the HR administrator is hell.

  • PaulVincentB

    It is not just the retail. The use of part-time, temp and permatemp workers has infested every institution in America. I spent years as an adjunct college instructor, most faculty on American campuses are low-paid, no benefit adjuncts. Indeed, the idea of full time work had become such a Holy Grail, I went abroad to work where part-time is rare at colleges.

    But it is not just in academia, it is in almost every aspect of American society–field no longer matters. This is one of the great sources of inequality in America today.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      The metastasis of this pernicious practice has occurred in every field & vocation. While it was growing, however, only those “poor unfortunates” among us who had already been “downsized” made any kind of a noise about it. We were not heard. Who would listen to us? The white-collar, middle-class clingers on? Now that even they are in the trash heap of permanent part-time, no bennies work it’s a different story.

      We need to keep this issue front & center until our government & society both admit how badly we’ve all been screwed over, and why.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.boleski Michelle A. Boleski

    I lost my full time job teaching. I was an elementary art teacher and finally got full time at a school district working at two schools seeing 400 students a week. For 4 years I got benefits and was finally getting ahead. A new principal was hired at one school and he had a  history of targeting staff over 50. I was targeted and bullied into quitting. What awaited me was no work. At 53 the only thing available was part time retail. I got a job at LL Bean part time. The schedule was all over the map. Four hours at a pop or 6 or come in at 7:00 AM or 2:30 PM. There was a discount but only 20% and the items were so expensive no one bought. Some people had to drive long distances for short shifts. When it got slow I was told I was laid off and could reapply the following holiday season. It was awful. I now am looking into substitute teaching and I have a part time business that I am trying to build up. It is dismal.

    • ThirdWayForward

      Age discrimination is rampant across the board, but there is little public discussion of this problem. Why not? We hear that there are laws against it.

      Many millions of people are in the same boat as you — they had decent full-time jobs for part of their life and are now condemned to spending the rest of it in the part-time caste.

      We hope things improve for you.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Right on caller Bill!!!

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Are we going to discuss the “no benefits for < 30 hour work week" issue? Lots of part timers means lower benefit costs for the company and an unfair assault on people with no options but to work multiple part time jobs.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6LLBJRD6KU2FPVUIJ5KQC73TZM yahoo-6LLBJRD6KU2FPVUIJ5KQC73TZM

    This story illustrates why unions are important. They’ve certainly done themselves a disservice by pushing for sometimes exorbitant benefits, but the reason behind their genesis was good.

    I wish we could pass the single payer system of health care so employers would stop seeing benefits as a deterrent to hiring full time.

  • bacterial_sizzle

    America doesn’t need everyone working 40 hours a week. And why on earth would anyone want to work full-time if they could work part-time with the same benefits? What we need to worry about is not how many hours people are able (read: forced) to work, but about making corporations pay higher wages and give better benefits to part-time workers. If these corporations weren’t so greedy, we could all be working 20 or 30 hours a week with full benefits…Talk about reducing unemployment….

  • Jose Pablo Silva

    Why can’t workers get the working conditions they want? I blame Greenspan, Bernanke, and the unwillingness of Democrats to force the Federal Reserve to pursue full employment.

    Full employment would solve the problem. If there were a lot of jobs out there, people would be able to leave a job they didn’t like. Employers would then have to make the effort to keep employees. Right now employers don’t have to. And as long as we don’t have full employment, employers aren’t going to care.

    The Federal Reserve is supposed to make full employment a priority, but until last summer Bernanke was very clear in saying that inflation was a bigger concern for him. It was breathtaking really, over the past four years he constantly repeated that unemployment was “above target” and inflation was “below target” and he wasn’t alarmed. Only recently did he change his language on this.

    But this is a longterm problem. Since the 1980s, the Fed has been very clear that they prioritize controlling inflation. I don’t expect Republicans to care about working people, but if the Democrats in Washington really cared they would spend a lot more of their time berating the Federal Reserve for not obeying the law and pursuing full employment. That is what would really help the unemployed, the underemployed, and even the fully employed. Full employment is the only way to give workers leverage in the market place.

    • ThirdWayForward

      We need to make tax rates on the 1% contingent on the unemployment rate. 

      Tax all types of income equally. Tax income above $5 million at 75% when unemployment is above 10%, with rates systematically going down to 25% when unemployment is at 2% or below.Then business would have real “skin in the game” and we would solve the unemployment problem very rapidly. This, of course, will never happen in our lifetimes, but it would get everyone on board solving the major problem that confronts us all.

      The real problem is that those who control the economy, mostly those in the private sector, have little or no incentive to reduce unemployment. This is why they have supported Republican obstructionist fiscal tactics that undermine robust recovery. They benefit mightily from labor pools, here and abroad, that are scared, bullied, and compliant.

      It is no accident that big business owners make threats to their workers if Democrats, with their economic policies that are somewhat less favorable to them, should prevail politically. That is how they think, and how they act. Slave-owner mentalities.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    These conditions will promote a resurgence of Unions. If Republicans don’t want more powerful unions, they’d better come up with an economic model other than utter chaos that doesn’t foster this working hell.

  • Dale_in_RI

    Health care costs are a huge liability for US companies which companies in other countries don’t have. Republicans are eager to make us more competitive so maybe they should rethink the possibility of single payer health care  like other countries have.

    • ThirdWayForward

      Part of the hidden conservative animus against universal health care is to preserve a system in which health care is tied to one’s job and is hard to get otherwise.

      That scares workers, everyone with a pre-existing condition, and makes workers more tractable. 

      Many Republicans like high levels of unemployment and restricted access to health care because it makes labor relations easier for business owners. If there are 100 unemployed people waiting for your job, you will do all sorts of things that otherwise would not (and should not) be demanded of you.

      • PaulVincentB

        They do seem to want to recreate slavery or something very much like it.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          They already have.

      • hopeful61

         Yes, and it keeps bright minds in soul-sucking jobs that they are afraid to leave due to losing their health insurance or ability to afford health care.  So in the “land of the free” you have most of the population being corporate slaves out of fear of going bankrupt due to an illness.  What a country.  Just don’t get sick or injured, or OLD. 

  • Ray in VT

    Has anyone presented this:


    The numbers are from last year, but record high profits and decreasing percentages to wages and benefits (lowest since 1965).

  • TinaWrites

    So THIS is “liberty”???

    • DrewInGeorgia

      No, THIS is indentured servitude.

      • TinaWrites

        You’re quite RIGHT!  (I hope you recognized the sarcasm in my original post.)

        • DrewInGeorgia

          You know I did.


    • PaulVincentB

      According to the right-wing–yes. The one thing that became clear during Mr. Romney’s run is that they believe liberty means the ability of corporations to exploit everything and everyone with impunity.

      • TinaWrites

        I absolutely agree with you!  Thanks!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JL6WVTQL5QQHTDPW2CMXVRQDTY Daniel

    Two points:
    1. We’re coming off a major recession (perhaps really, a depression???) and just like the ’30s, the laborer gets the short end of the stick. When (if?) the economy rebounds, we’ll return to an employment market where the worker can set the rules!

    2. These big companies — Wal-Mart, Delta, etc. — are the so-called job makers Romney was talking about. Sure they’re creating jobs, but do they really benefit the middle-class? No! As usual, the already wealthy “investors” will make the big money while the middle class slowly becomes the working poor.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Is this a trend that you see primarily in chains and franchises rather than independent businesses?

    • PaulVincentB

      It is not just chain stores. It is every type of institution in America–retail, manufacturing, education, healthcare, social services.

      Everyone is doing this–no organization in America seems to want to treat their workers decently.

  • dawoada

    I hear a lot of problems.  I don’t hear any solutions.  You can’t expect an employer to pay someone for time that they don’t need help unless there is no alternative.  The only solution is if the economy improves to the point where employers have to pay more in order to get the employees. 

    • Mike_Card

      Employers would love to have all of their costs be variable, which is nonsense.  Employers have become either lazy or just stupidly short-sighted about managing resources.  They ought to try to lease their machinery or real estate on a day-to-day basis, depending on demand, which is what they do with employees. Good friggin’ luck with that!

      Employers have become stupid, in that they have forgotten the difference between variable and fixed costs, which is a business tenet that is taught early on. It is no wonder they’re laying off workers and going out of business–there are a lot of dumb biz owners who shouldn’t be, and never should have been, IN business in the first place.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IZNVCETD5RWITJNEDYS7GNYRCU john

    In my family we are at both extremes. 
    + Me, a salaried employee with a LOT of unpaid overtime (my last 2 week pay period included a full 7 days of unpaid labor!)

    + My partner, holds a variety of low paying part time jobs, the one which paid his heath benefits was just “outsourced” to another company which pays even less than the same job by the original owner, and gives no health benefits (and this is IN a community health center!) 


  • ToyYoda

    Some advice for techies.

    If you are single, and have little financial responsiblities (aside from, for example, a car payment), I would suggest NOT getting full time work.  Be a contractor.  I am one.  If you are kick-ass or above average, then you’ll do fine as a contractor, and will not be short of work (depending on the area).

    Here’s the reasons:

    1.  Most techies often work 50+ hours a week.  As a full time employee, you are giving more than 3 months of free work to your employers because you only get paid for 40 of those hours.  Your benefits will not make up for those 3 months.  Also, you get paid significantly more per hour as a contractor.

    2.  Often I have been asked to work weekends, as a contractor, I get paid for those weekends, I still hate it, but at least there’s less sting knowing that I get compensated.

    3.  You are protected from exploitation.  If you are given a nightmare project as full time worker, too bad, chain yourself to the desk, kiss your family and friends good bye until the job is done.  If you are a contractor, okay, it’s still bad, but I get paid.

    4.  Bad managers get feedback that matters.  If your team needs to work crazy hours to meet a deadline, well that’s the manager mismanaging things.  If the manager has fulltime workers, his mismanagement doesn’t cost him anything.  If he has a contractor, well he gets the feedback he needs… right in his budget and best believe that his boss will know about it too.

    5.  Because you are protected from exploitation, you often aren’t assigned the nightmare projects.

    6.  As a contractor you get picked for your skills so you can specialize and learn the skills you want to get good at.  Lots of times a fulltime worker you are moving bricks from one place and then to another.

    7.  Once you build up your contact list of companies, and your reputation, you can cut out the middle man and hike your fees up 50%.  As you become more in demand, you can hire other contractors and organically start your own business.

    8.  Finally, the biggest reason of all to be a contractor, you can take a 3 months off a year or more.  And you can travel, work on your hobbies, build your real estate empire, or whatever it is you want to do.  Free time is worth MILLIONS.

    Let me give you a real life example. At one company I was placed on a nightmare project along with fulltime employees. Each one of us worked 70-80 hour a week. Because I was a contractor that meant I made about $2000.00 dollars extra a week. On top of that, my hourly rate was significantly higher than the full time employees. When the project was over, the company gave out employee of the quarter awards. As a contractor, I couldn’t qualify for the award. Over the course of 3 months, how much was the award? An extra $1500 dollars for those 3 months. I was compensated for much more each week!!

  • ThirdWayForward

    Don’t forget ACADEMIA part-time work. Academia is a service industry, too.

    Maybe members of the lumpen-professariat are not as obviously exploited as those in food services and at stores like Walmart, but there is no reason not to include this sector when considering labor practices.

    What are the options in terms of social policy that can 
    improve this situation?
    In  Germany there are more state-mandated protections for workers and they achieve a high level of productivity and competitiveness.

    The other route would be to encourage more employee-owned enterprises. Large tax breaks could be given to those enterprises that are owned and controlled by their workers.

  • cbaums

    I am a social worker in health care.  I’m stuck in a “per diem” position that allows my employer to respond to census as needed, but gives me no security or benefits.  There is the carrot that I could get full-time, but there is no guarantee.  Per Diem seems very common in the health care industry – both in hospitals and home care organizations.    

  • Burrone

    How about completely taking away the connection between employer and Health Ins. This frees up the business to focus on being successful. And universal health care means employees are always have ins and do not have to take mismatched jobs only because that job has health benefits.
    I have talked with over-qualified people “working-down” in jobs just for the health ins.
    For the whole country, this means we are losing the skills that these employees are not using-just for health ins.

  • PaulVincentB

    It is not just retailers!!!

    It is everywhere and in every type of institution. I worked for years as an adjunct because most colleges rarely hire full-time faculty any more! And adjuncts, because they work at many schools tend to work longer hours for less pay and no benefits.

    All institutions in America no longer want to pay the people who actually do the work and create the wealth.

    Great for the bosses but it is destroying the nation.

    I finally left the country just to make a living in my field.

    • agavegirl

      Ironic that tuition rates have skyrocketed despite a decrease in full-time faculty.

      • PaulVincentB

        Not really all that ironic when you realize that university adminstrative offices have exploded over the same time period. It is the same as in many corporations: increase the top end and their salaries at the expense of those who do the actual work.

        It is policies like that that has made the United States the most unequal society of any advanced nation.

  • atakemoto

    The corporate greed that drives America will continue to abuse the workforce as long as it is profitable for the shareholders. 

  • Michiganjf

    But they’re all job creators! 
    but they’re all job creators!

    We have to consider their needs and profits first!!!

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Because as I said earlier, we all know a Rising Ship lifts all tides. lol

      As well as anyone I know this is no laughing matter, I just couldn’t help myself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lola-Ducci/100002417701361 Lola Ducci

    I just read that Denny’s will put an Obamacare surcharge on guest checks? Really?

  • DrJoani

    New Trend? I think not.

    My first, second and third jobs were part-time (I was a teenager), no benefits, none requested.
    My first real  teaching positions at NYU  as a graduate assistant? part-time, low salary, no benefits.
    Years of part-time (“adjunct”) employment in the NYC university system filling the  spaces,  at a much lower salary level per hour fulfilling needs, often last-minute employment, in a  specialized  area, allows the  system to survive nicely: tenured profs get high salaries and full costly benefits and more than 35% of the teaching positions are filled by part-time people who are, by the way,  of not happy certainly  grateful to have the work.NOT just in New York City.

    This is nothing new. It’s been going for more than fifty years.

    • ThirdWayForward

      You’re right it’s not a new trend, but it has gotten much more widespread over the last 4 decades. And it is still a terrible trend. Bad for workers, bad for America.

    • PaulVincentB

      I finally gave up on the adjunct chase and went abroad.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I missed a lot, but the economy would be more efficient if people were not paid for time when they were not needed.  If shifting things so that people can make a go of it without benefits, or sick leave, or vacations or pensions — then the economy does much better when people can work when and where they are needed.  A person should of course be able to say no, I am flooded and can’t take that extra shift or assignment.  And one should of course be able to hunt around for other paid jobs, even with other skills, or further education, as a matter of choice, or when the work on offer is slow. 
         But with people who are not on payroll, who cares if those people are being ground up like hamburger by the way of things. The benefits can be forgone in the interests of greater flexibility and independence, but people are awfully vulnerable, and they can be overlooked, fall through the cracks, if they get sick, just for example.

  • Ellen Dibble

    As I understand it, workers can legally be on the maximum long leash as long as they are allowed to work other jobs.

  • PithHelmut

    The foundation of our economic system is to get as much as one can get regardless of others.  The ones who do best with that win.  We have to change the foundations if we are to ever build decent human lives.  With mechanization, work is going to be ever scarcer. With money held in a few hands and hoarded, it keeps everyone bound.  We don’t even discuss how we are to change the foundations. The foundations of the economy are a legacy of past centuries that are no longer applicable. Incentives are skewed, rewards are convoluted. Employers should be grateful for the kindness and complicity of workers.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I had the same experience the caller now is describing having to call in while working two part-time jobs simultaneously. On call with no on call pay.

    Damn right Tom!!!! We’re not workers, we are slaves. Gotta love Capitalism.

  • ThirdWayForward

    WAGE-SLAVERY is the word, Tom.


  • Scott B

    Republicans complaining about a “foodstamp nation”, and the people sponging off society with things like Medicaid, need not look any further than this part-time standard.  Try buying food to feed a family and get healthcare with part-time works. It doesn’t happen. Something goes unpaid and/or undone. Someone goes hungry.

  • siskoe

    People will do anything to work…and those that are working are in such fear of losing their jobs they are working under horrible conditions…and the executives know this and prey on the employess they want loyal commited employess but they have no loyatly or commitment to the employee we are “meat”

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    All these people should just borrow money from their parents and start their own business. This has to be a good idea since it was the plan put forward by a presidential candidate.

  • Beth_RE

    Universities are also places where part time work is a big challenge. Many classes are taught by adjunct faculty who have PhDs, but are paid $3000-$5000 per class, two classes per semester, and no benefits. In this day and age, education is no guarantee of full time employment.

  • Beth_RE

    Universities are also places where part time work is a big challenge. Many classes are taught by adjunct faculty who have PhDs, but are paid $3000-$5000 per class, two classes per semester, and no benefits. In this day and age, education is no guarantee of full time employment.

    • ThirdWayForward

      And then they turn around and charge each of the students that the adjunct teaches $3000-5000 per class in tuition.
      It’s a real racket they got there.

  • IsaacWalton

    These retailers are actually hurting themselves. Unhappy, tired, frazzled employees make MORE mistakes and serve consumers poorly. They are not doing anyone any good by hiring more people at fewer hours. 

    Could this be a corporate ploy to continue to make Obama look bad to twist our arms into continuing to let the rich get tax breaks? Hmmmm. I wonder.

  • http://twitter.com/ejshepherd Elizabeth Shepherd

    You asked earlier whether managers want to give employees
    more hours, and the previous caller said that the hours situation depends on
    who you work for, but I think it’s actually dependant on the company for which
    you work. I worked as a store manager for a major women’s clothing retailer but
    even though I was the manager, I was not allowed to allot more than an average
    of 29 hours/week for more than 3 employees in the store (so 1 week an employee
    could work 5 hours and the next 43 and still be ok). The number of hours I
    could give employees was entirely dictated by anonymous faces at corporate 4
    hours away. Additionally, the only extra hours people were allowed to pick up
    were these on call shifts that the current caller is talking about, meaning
    that workers cannot have a second job.

    • ThirdWayForward

      Yes, it’s obviously a policy designed to keep workers dependent and scared, and locked into that job. Evil.

      There need to be laws that prohibit employers from systematically preventing part-time workers from taking on second jobs.

      Even some degree of transparency (employers make work-allocation rules public) would help change these situations.

  • VRyan Wagner

     I think corporations exploiting the workforce by employing this part time standard is really anti family.  Consumerism is ruining us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      They divide to conquer. Do the math: If 2 can live as cheaply as one then PROFIT is the result of splitting them apart. 2 separate rents, 2 separate meals, 2 separate cars, 2 separate everything. Multiply by several billion. That’s how they get us all, penny by penny, one at a time. Shootin’ fish in a barrel. The antidote is awareness. Followed by action.   

  • majorml

    Perhaps one day Americans will wake up to something that is good for workers and good for capitalism — single payer health insurance. Capitalism benefits because it relies on a mobile work force that can move where workers are needed and this would allow workers would be more mobile. Single payer health care would remove that source of drag in the system. It would reduce the costs to individual businesses of administering health care. It would remove the budgetary problems of trying to predict healthcare costs. For workers it would reduce the incentive for business to use part-time rather than full time employees and would give them a level of security they have never experienced. It would make workers more effective as employees in removing  the distraction of trying to deal with financial issues when medical problems arise in their families. And, if we are to judge by other countries, the cost of healthcare would significantly decline and general health of the population would improve.

  • PithHelmut

    It would benefit both workers and employers if single-payer health care came in. The employer could be absolved of paying for their employees healthcare – which is a huge benefit for them and surely they would like this? In this new system each person would be responsible for their own health insurance payments by paying a small percentage of their income like a tax, (get over it) and everyone would be covered.  Having this big pool of payers would make health insurance cheaper and no one would have to be turned away from receiving proper health care. Payer coverage could be held at eighty percent and the rest could come from their choice to either pay the 20% “deductible” or use the private insurance companies to fill the gap. Imagine the relief in every citizen when they can know health care is assured for them and their family! How about we figure out how to steer the system instead of us being steered by a it? How about for starters we just stop all taxpayer subsidized funding to all businesses including oil companies, agriculture and churches. If one cannot afford to be in business one should not be, just like workers having to live within their means.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    GREAT show today! Great callers, great guests, and Tom has actually been pretty On Point all hour. Thank you so much for this show OP staff!!!

  • tn_amygdala

    This is a vey sad program.  It sounds like unbridled capitalism gone wild.  It is also self-defeating:  if more in the middle class loses their purchasing power, it will put pressure on the bottom line of employers, who in turn will try to figure new ways to cut costs.  This is a vicious cycle.  Wage earners are consumers too.  In the limit, a slave economy would have very few rich people as there would be no-one to buy things!

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       Wage earners are not only consumers, they are the PRIMARY consumers. Those making the most money (as a group) do not spend the most on goods and services (as a group). Thus it is the middle class that creates jobs by consuming IF they have a job.

      • tn_amygdala

         I’m with you

      • Duras

        I saw on CNN that 70% of the American ecomomy runs on consumerism. (I don’t remember the exact wording, but I suppose you get the gist.)

        • Mike_Card

          I have heard that statistic.  If you either listen carefully, or just sit back and think about it, most industries end up having a claim to the 70% figure as well.

          For example, the fossil fuel energy biz can be either dependent upon, or one element of, the automotive biz.  Sort of a revolving 6 degrees of separation game.  PR and advertising firms love to play it because it keeps clients happy, even tho it’s mostly industrial-strength fiction.

          CNN and most of the news media are only good at reading press releases; I don’t give any of them unbridled credence.

        • Ray in VT

          I’ve heard similar figures cited, but I’ve also heard reporters say that that also includes things like housing costs, food, gas.  It’s a real catchall for everything for personal electronics to rent.  So while it looks high, it’s not just buying junk.

  • Davesix6

    What are you people talking about?
    This is from President Obama’s web site, has something changed since the election? Not to worry, Obama’s got it covered!
    “Under President Obama, we’ve seen 32 straight months of job growth, adding 5.4 million private sector jobs, including nearly 479,000 manufacturing jobs since 2010″

    • StilllHere

      Everything is great!  I’m not sure what these guys are whining about.  Just read the Obama website more!

      • jimino

        Thanks  to you and Dave for recognizing that the mainline “conservative” policies that have been kept in place during Obama’s first term are not going to solve our economic problems:
        1.  Favorable tax treatment of capital compared to labor;
        2.  Continued and increasingly higher spending on a military that provides no identifiable economic or strategic benefit to our country;
        3.  Continued historically low taxation of the wealthiest and highest income getters;
        4.  Continued economic incentives for US businesses to shelter their unprecedented high profits in foreign tax havens so we have the lowest actual corporate taxation in history.

        Their just following YOUR playbook fellas’.  And it’s an abject failure.

        • StilllHere

          It was because of those policies that things got so much better, why would we mess it up?

          • jimino

            This may sound like “better” times to you, but don’t to any intelligent person: http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm

            November 2, 2012

            The Bush-Obama experience in monthly manufacturing jobs lost has been,

            - 36,700 x 142 months = – 5.21 million jobs lost in all;

            the Bush experience in monthly manufacturing jobs lost was,

            - 45,090 x 96 months = – 4.33 million jobs lost in all;

    • Davesix6

      Okay truth, I don’t believe Obama has a clue what he is doing and unfortunatly it may take another four years for the majority of voters to figure that out.
      Under the Obama administration Labor Force participation declined, meaning unemployment and underemployment rates are actually higher than the bare statistics show.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2012/10/13/labor-force-participation-under-obama/ 

      • hennorama

        An excellent statement of the obvious.  The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has been declining.  Since the year 2000, actually.

        I truly dislike repeatedly knocking this stuff down every month or so, but I’ll post this yet again:

        “There are myriad reasons that workers leave the labor market:

        1. From having a job to out of the labor force:
        enter school/training.
        household care.
        laid off and see poor prospects.

        2. From being unemployed to then leaving the labor force:

        all of the above.

        The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has been declining since the year 2000.  This decline sharply accelerated during the Great Recession.

        LFPR is mostly influenced by long term factors – namely demographics and cultural changes.  LFPR is only weakly procyclical.  In other words, the LFPR changes are also related to the business cycle, but the strength of this correlation is much smaller than the long term factors above.

        -business cycle good = LFPR increase
        -business cycle poor = LFPR decrease

        The Great Recession’s magnitude influenced the LFPR much more than typical recessions.

        Some history:

        LFPR increased from the mid 1960s to 2000 due to:

        baby boomers entering workforce (demographics).
        women entering workforce (cultural shift).

        LFPR declined since 2000 due to:

        baby boomers aging (demographics).
        fewer young people entering workforce – increased college enrollment (cultural shift).
        fewer college students working in college (cultural & economics).

        So don’t freak out about the LFPR.  It’s mostly demographics.

        As Matthew O’Brien, an associate editor at The Atlantic covering business and economics, wrote about 6 months ago:

        “There are two broad explanations for the declining labor participation rate. The first is that the Great Recession has kicked so many people to the curb for so long that they have abandoned any hope of landing anther job. The second is that it’s mostly demographics. Young people are going to grad school. Moms and dads are choosing to stay home. And, most importantly, Baby Boomers are retiring. Demographics and economics aren’t mutually exclusive explanations.”


        http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000/ (change the start year to 1960 to see the chart for 1960 thru 2012)

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/where-do-people-go-when-they-drop-out-of-the-labor-force/2012/04/08/gIQAMPsz3S_blog.html (check out the charts)


    • brooksjason

      dave you are one hundred percent right.. just keep following the great obama… hes creating all these new jobs.. why are so many people feeling left out????? hmmm …here’s the worlds tiniest violin…waawaawaa..
      this is what america voted for.. record high unemployment… a national party that claims to be with the little man/woman for equal pay/ ect.ect. and for ove forty years have delivered on none of their promises.. yet they round up the school buses at every election and promise just one more time, we can do this… the democrat party has buried the middle class and laughs at all of us after every election.. the top one percent are 80 percent of the senators in the senate!!! hello people !!! wake up.. and for the local socailist on this site, get a life, you live in america, people from all over the world are still scratching and crawling their way in here, to just experience a thousand percent increase their previous living standards.. they all would be thrilled to come here and work fours hours a day and still get a check from our goverment at the end of every week… for them that is the american dream.. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sassyaf Sharalee Falzerano

    Hi Tom. I am a mother of 2 educated children. My bluecollar husband and I scrimpt and saved our dollars to put our children through college the old fashioned way. Both of our children cannot get full time positions.  Our son is 31 yrs. old with a masters in early education. He has been working part-time or as a sub for 2 years within a school district in Maine. He has not been able to land a full time position for a few years and it does not look good. He just got another 10 week job as a substitute spanish teacher.  Our duaghter, 27 lives in Sacramento, Ca. as a part-time public school librarian. She is the only librarian. In addition to her job at the school she is also working part-time at Barnes and Nobles in order to make ends meet. We as parents bought into the idea if we worked hard and saved our money for our children’s education they would be better off.  I’m currently feeling that if we gave them the money vesres putting it into their education they would have been better off.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Yes. I think they could have bought homes with it. The best education money can buy does not guarantee anything in the USA anymore.

      Meanwhile, communities & families have broken down to the degree that most no longer function as social supports. They are mere finance units. Your children are lucky to have such dedicated parents. My own son has had to go overseas to earn a university degree at an “affordable” price. I feel your discomfort with the unfairness & waste of the whole con-game. 

  • atbuffalo

    If society distributes its wealth through employment, and ultimately there are not enough jobs to employ everyone at even a subsistence level, then the distribution model breaks.  People forget that corporations are constructs of law.  Ideally they make their owners and society (through employment and products) better.  When that no longer holds, then the company as it is currently envisioned no longer serves societies needs and becomes an obsolete construct – the question is, what replaces it?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Well the callers were great until that last one saying the Government
    needs to help the poor businesses that are making record profits. The affordable care act whining is an excuse, not a symptom.

    • StilllHere

      Actually it’s reality.  The profits are coming from other countries not here.  ACA is not going to help.

      • anamaria23

        Almost every other civilized country provides health care, even China.  That frees up businesses from that expense, thus giving them a competitive edge and benefiting our outsourcers as well.
          It is insane to link health care to employment and was devised only as lure.

  • Susan Rice

    Follow this  back to the same companies who lobby to end  the entitlements programs to disappear….like food stamps & HEAP & Medicaid….I have worked part time for 3 years…with an MBA and MIS….using these income  supports for family survival..at 10/hr.I am a singlemom, with a sick child and aging parent my region has 9% unemployment and incomes 25,000 less than the state ave..always…not just w/in the last 3 years…aka.rural america…defined by Walmart and JPMorgan…I am so grateful for part time work, I have adjusted to give my family the time  they need, I volunteer in my community,  this part time work is about the cost of health care…and here income because it doesnt meet the cost of , so full time work would be a liability…I only use medicaid as a support…this is our reality….this new normal is not sustainable, because there will no disposable income….I always have been a citizen first. a credit score second…my kids are almost grown…I hope to reenter the work force..I have a first class education I hope its worth something…

  • DenKayser

    I’m of retirement age, on social security and medicare.  I’m tired of full time work, but not ready for full time retirement either.  So, I would prefer part time. 

    • StilllHere

      You should be forced to work full-time or not at all.  Your willingness to work part-time is taking a job away from a full-timer.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Companies should pay a health care penalty twice the penalty of not providing health care for full time workers if the percentage of part time employees is above a certain value.

    I’m sure no one has thought about this:

    UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    would solve a lot of the problems caused by businesses gaming the system. And they will ALWAYS game the system.

    • ThirdWayForward

      We need to take health care out of the control of employers. Universal health care would mean health care security for all that no longer depends on one’s employment.

    • Bruce_NC67

      I like the idea in principle — but who/how is this %
      decided. No two businesses are alike so what # makes sense for one business
      would not necessarily make sense for another bus — fair is not necessarily equal.  Then you get into loop holes….and more
      problems and special interest….

  • ThirdWayForward

    We need a general, open union that is something like the IWW. But this is very dangerous for part-time workers — they can be easily fired and/or not hired, at the drop of a hat, for no reason whatsoever.

    There is a free-rider problem in unionizing workers. If you are unemployed, but don’t support the union, you are in a better situation (if the union succeeds) if you haven’t joined. 

    And you can bet that there are massive private databases on everyone’s work history and pro-union activity. There are no real brakes on the activity of the private sector to gather information on all of us.

  • carl_christian

    An efficient economy is the end goal of all human endeavors? It’s time to restore unions to a more prominent role in stopping the onslaught of corporate capitalism. It’s also yet one more argument for universal health care — look at the numbers and the health results in just about every other industrial and even some ‘third world’ economies and it’s clear that the only way we can control rising health care costs and also do the right thing for struggling part-time workers is embrace universal health care. Which is not, by the way, the same as Obamacare — a very limited improvement in our health care system.

  • PithHelmut

    America, built on self-promotion regardless of others and the ones with the most money are the ones who win, is a flawed system and it is clear it is on the way out. Unfortunately we have all bought into the system, we have all practiced selfish ends so none of us is exempt. We need to have the discussion on how we should change this dangerous system of isolation and self-centeredness. Maybe we should just wipe the slate completely clean and start over.

  • scottmartin49

    Funny how few see the real issue- Capitalism is finally devouring itself. Marx was right, and almost no one in ‘Murca can see it because of the perverse censorship of ‘Socialist Theory’ in this country-even from an academic perspective-over the last century.

    When business thinkers as highly regarded as Michael Porter start calling for new conceptions of corporate gain and more broadly inclusive benefits it’s time to stop bailing and patching a boat that won’t float.

    The Chinese, having begun with a conception of real gain requiring social cohesion, have chosen a ‘state capitalism’ model to achieve amazing rates of growth. The same model that we- albeit in minimal form- threw out as soon as “The Red Menace” was seen to be overthrown. It’s clear to see that all of the social and economic gains accruing to the middle of this nation over the last century was merely capital’s way of buying quietude. As soon as you’re seen to be redundant, you’re dust.

    You’re not even needed as a ‘consumer’ anymore.

    (Now, go fight for your own interests- not theirs!)   

    • Michiganjf

      GREAT POST!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Also noted: the co-opting of the color Red by jingoistic republican crony capitalists. Wow. Hitler liked Red, too. So did the USSR. Seriously, though, excellently stated post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777252319 Teresa Mosteller Hooker

    I feel that (especially where I live in SC)….the companies are hiring only are MOSTLY temporary full time employees with NO benefits… Instead of hiring full – time with benefits.  I personally as a single woman have had to drive over 300 miles to North Carolina for a full- time job. Now I finally found (after a long two year after being laid off in NC job search) found a full- time job but …. I drive over an hour one way a day (2- hours +) a day! Most of these companies (CEO ‘s are still making their large huge incomes, living in their huge and large homes and own multiple vehicles). Actually – they get tax credit especially in South Carolina instead of even pay taxes! I feel to help the budget – companies who hire “temps” or ” part- timers” should be heavily taxed.  I have a Bachelor’s degree, and over 36 hours of graduate school – have been a teacher was laid off both in SC then after 3 yrs in NC-so I feel these companies + their CEO ‘s should pay up (in higher taxes)!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4WARN3MMC225SRENE6RCXGKD7M Jaki Reis

    I have been working part-time for the past 3 years for a company that pays per piece.  I do housing inspections and get a list of addresses, paying different fees for each type, some needing appointments. My job is to make the phone calls to set those appointments – 5 minutes to 20 minutes each appointment, then map out the surveys – 10 minutes to 45 for each set, drive to – 5 to 60 minutes, with 5-60 minutes between surveys, do the surveys- 10 to 120 minutes, then work from home uploading that information into the company’s computer system – 15 – 180 minutes and sometimes go back over any surveys that get kicked back by Quality Assurance- 5 to 20 minutes.  So I get paid a set fee for a varying time worked. The fees are different for each kind of survey that follows the expected length of time it would take to do, but none-the-less, the end result is that I make a part-time salary for more than full time work: I work in the field all day, then come home and work all night, making another part-time job impossible. Finding full time work is laughable, especially with my age and schooling.  I apply for positions that get 50 – 400 applications and every once in a while I get a “sorry, not you” response. SO, I have no option but to keep on working for this company that underpays me, “happy to have the work”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777252319 Teresa Mosteller Hooker

    Please excuse the (typos) in my previous post but I was trying to do it from my phone and it wasn’t allowing me to get my words down correctly…yes there are jobs in certain places – even the Carolinas who (both North and South Carolina) have had high unemployment – especially South Carolina.  As a highly educated woman with multiple job skills including being great at marketing, sales, computers, customer relations, and many many other skills-I have had to take only TEMPORARY jobs with NO benefits with companies called KELLY or other temporary companies.  Believe it or not, many companies actually have KELLY SERVICES “on site” making it that much harder to be hired by that ACTUAL COMPANY. Personally, if the United States wants to “hike taxes on anyone or anything” it should the executives who get by with what I call (definitely “indentured servant” exactly what it is)! As a descendant of Irish immigrants who served out as indentured servants-our servitude should be over by now.  This has gone on (in my state of South Carolina) since the war started  - for me personally  - I have “hit the pavement near by my actual house – since I lost my 1st (lay off in 2003). Trust me,  I type fast, search fast and can post my resume and fill out hours long (yes, sometimes applications for many jobs take HOURS at at time) and many (you have to take a test just to submit an app.  It’s a huge game and the ones licking the cream are heavily paid (and usually VERY over weight) large corporate officers and business owners, they should PAY up in HEAVY taxes for what has been allowed to go on for more than a decade (in my state alone). There are NO jobs within a reasonable driving range, unless you “know someone who knows someone” etc…etc…it’s a game and the only winners are the CEO ”s and the companies who get by with these atrocities~!

  • ttajtt

    what if the job is unemployment, unemployed don’t work for the check.  who’s the boss, company, management or big buck owner.  so the unemployed will work for salf sufficientcy in the big city, little towns it will be different self-sufficiently needs.   gardens protein clean water wild animals.   a tone down, pass the wand, reorganize shake, a world gobbled market, a smooth belly lading is needed.    

  • Ellen Dibble

    Capitalism ate itself?  Compounding interest and the advantages of linking wealth to power by way of K Street and Congress (and Citizens United infiltrating wealth to elections too), surprise, surprise, have floated wealth and power ever upward.  I’m seeing from the post “Capitalism is finally devouring itself” — that if the workers become dispensable, not even needed as consumers, we do have the situation that exists.  If the benefits necessary to wholesome life are being maneuvered away from great swaths of Americans, then it does seem that the Federal government begins to see this responsibility as theirs.  Obamacare, for example, seeks to ensure that health care is available to all.  Social Security seeks to ensure that pensions of a sort are available to all.  No unionization necessary.  
         I heard an excerpt from a recent Romney statement to his supporters to the effect that the Obama campaign bought the votes of women, Latinos, blacks by federal give-aways, buying votes the old fashioned way.  Now the employer class is being asked to fork over the benefits to all those part-time workers that the employers themselves will not provide.
        Again, it is not so surprising that the employer class does not see those in their employ quite the way they did a century ago.  If they can do this worker exploitation overseas, they apparently do.  But if they do it here in America, it’s not doing it to say 200 people who attend the same church, play on the same baseball teams, have children in the same Cub Scouts, go to the same doctor’s offices, and so on and so forth.  They may live in a different community altogether — from ANY of their employees.  The employees may be in 4500 different communities.  So socialism begins to be necessary because capitalism is not shouldering those responsibilities.  Does the private sector do better than government?  Maybe it can, or could.  However… 

    • 1Brett1

      However….it’s not and won’t even if allowed complete deregulated freedom [especially if given deregulated freedom]

      • Ellen Dibble

        My thinking is that therefore unionization is not the answer.  It might work for some parts of the workforce.  With service workers at chain stores, for instance, even if they have half the community on the books, at 4 hours a week apiece, if they all went on strike, there would be the other half ready and able and willing to get those 4 hours apiece.  That’s an extreme view, but it’s different from having a coherent full-time workforce, in a certain location, which then organizes and goes on strike. I think these corporate responsibilities are going to shift to the government, since corporate America has defaulted.  I hate to think what Romney would have done.

        • Steve__T

           Hate to think what Romney would have done? You mean besides making more money off the old, lame and helpless, feeding his parasitic friends off our loss of wages?

    • brooksjason

      capitalist are doing just fine, its lower end socialist who are strugling and you have four more years of it to enjoy..

      • Steve__T

         Don’t loose your job/business, you’ll find your self at the bottom of that hole of people you despise.
        And those capitalist, they’ll still be doing fine, with out your help.

  • StilllHere

    Small business, the biggest employer in the US, cannot afford to hire full-time workers, but government has a fix.  It’s going to tax small business owners more!  Let’s give it a chance.

    Venting your frustration at the largest of employers makes no sense.

    • scottmartin49

      Hi StilllHere,
           For someone who sounds like they have a legitimate perspective, your response is somewhat ‘troll-like’. Care to elaborate? Personally, I’d question the factual basis of your initial statement, and your second requires explanation.

      Best, Scott

      • StilllHere

        See small business administration website
        It seems like it would be important to put some data around this discussion.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        You’re wasting your breath, your initial instinct is right.

        • StilllHere

          LOL, factfree as usual.

    • Duras

      You’re such a serf.  And as much as you want business owners to be lords, the real god of job creation is demand.  And if there is consumer demand for products, businesses have no choice but to hire in order to produce enough to cover demand.

      Remember what demand is?  Remember this little thing called supply and demand?  Remember that 400 Americans have more money than half of the American population?  If there is anything in America, there is capital.  But not much demand.  Quite a different picture than the 1970s.  P.S., an individual tax is not a business tax.  If that were true, every business would have gone under during the hight of American capitalism when taxes on the top were above 50%.

      • StilllHere

        Do you do your own taxes?
        Do you own a sub-s?
        I hope not.

        • Duras

          I do do my own taxes, and I have worked for several small businesses.   Small business owners can take home a pay check after business expenses.  If that pay check is greater than $250K a year, he or she can afford higher tax rates.  But there is a business account that has it’s own set of taxes levied against it–those taxes should be low.  It is poor management to run a business out of a personal bank account, and perhaps our tax structure encourages that bad behavior.  But those business owners by no means are forced to run a business like that.  In the end, the top individual tax rate has zero influence on business.   It is a lie and republicans know it is a lie.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LSBI47KK6DGIIOAGLVURBSKPBU Damon

    organize and resist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777252319 Teresa Mosteller Hooker

    The temporary companies also insist that you’ll be “hired full time ” if you work like you should, do not call in etc…and at one of my “temp jobs” I worked harder than anyone around me, made #1 on the board EACH and EVERYDAY, I took photos with my phone to document my (making and exceeding expectations each day) but the company would only just employ me through this “Kelly Services” company that they also had “on – site” – I feel not only should the owner of these companies be heavily taxed for doing  this to innocent people who want full time work (NOT TEMP or part time ) and the pay that goes with it so that they can ALSO afford good things like FOOD and also provide the people with benefits so they can see a doctor when necessary and keep a check on their health.   I think that these companies are inhumane and I now work full time (thankfully) but I have to get in the car, put the gas in, and the wages are very low but it was the only offer I’ve had in almost 10 years (that is without having to drive to another state for work!)

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Several things contribute:
    1. No gvt action to discourage offshoring.
    2. Low taxes at the top encourage corporate elites to take $ out as compensation instead of re-investing in business.
    3. No national health care.
    4. Economic crash due to tax cutting and deregulation has reduced demand.
    5. Voodoo economics has redistributed wealth to the top and reduced demand.
    6. Technology really does make it possible to do more with fewer workers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      7. 10 + straight years engaged in hostile, foreign military occupations. The only profiteers have been corporate capitalists of the highest echelons & politicians who follow the script they’re handed.

  • brooksjason

    i love it.. you people wont be happy until theres NO jobs…
    keep attacking the job creators.. and whys everybody so mad, come on… i thought we voted for the great equalizer a week ago… dont worry we’ll be fine… the goverment will take care of all of us…

    • hypocracy1

      job creators… good one!

    • TomK_in_Boston

      LOL, “job creators”, the latest in righty newspeak. Just like every plan to screw the middle class is “reform”, now every fat cat who was born on 3′rd base and thinks he hit a triple and every financial con artist parasite is a “job creator”.

    • lpvgv

      were plantation owners also job creators?

      • brooksjason

        Are you calling our president a cotton picker..you jerk!!!
        Your grandparents were probably plantation owners..oh, the guilt always bubbles to the top..

  • clearlycarl

    The sad fact about the economy is that the housing debacle foisted on the public by insistence of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Barak Obama, enabling the fraud-prone Wall Streeters, the greedy real estate marketing groups and the totally fraudulent bond rating companies is that nobody will be held to account.

    Holder will not file against mortgage companies, bond raters and bankers to recover full reparations for the public.   He will step aside soon, to avoid having to give an account of his actions (and lack of), and to allow his successor to ignore the obvious massive frauds.   

    Meantime, the third largest recipient of funds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac becomes a 2 term president.    Dodd and Frank slither away, like the snakes they really are, having pocketed $millions from the same 2 agencies.   

    Wall Street $millions flowed to Obama immediately after his 2008 caucus win in Iowa.   Wall Street picked their boy and, oh has he come through for them.

    BO appointed a commission to investigate the root causes of the world-wide meltdown and placed Phil Angelites (sp?) in charge, to steer all attention away from his Wall Street funders, Barney and Chris and then hit the Street up for more money in 2012, with the implicit guarantee that he would not allow the inquiries to result in formal charges and go after the companies, directors and senior officials of firms that profited immensely.  

    He then turns around and campaigns as the champion of the Middle Class.    Here, again, the truth is that the workers, who once had solid families, stable homes and a future, are now working part-time at Wal Mart or not at all.     Still, the siren song of the give-away of federal money borrowed from the Chinese, seduces the ex-middle class into marching lock-step with a gifted fact-dodger and prevaricator over the cliff into permanent poverty.

  • Duras

    Get rid of “right to work,” and add public employment to 20% of the economy to increase demand and lower job applications which will cause companies to be compete for general labor.

    The grand example is Walmart: 2.1 million employees working in aweful environments for low wages while the CEOs make millions and the Walton Family have billions of dollars of the backs of millions of poor people.  They should unionize, get $14 an hour per se, and fire and hire as they may but all employees must take a union card.  If people would be content to earn $5 million a year instead of $20 million, employees would get better wages, the cost to the costumer could still be low, and the world would be a better place.  We need a new generation of businessmen, not more exploitation of labor.  (Move to China if you think labor should be exploited.)  The Ronald Reagan Businessman needs to go.  Capitalism requires some finanical inequality, but greed is still bad.

    • Brandstad

      72% of all jobs created durring Obama’s first term were created in “right to work states” and those states have 40% of the US population.  Might there be a reason for so many more jobs being created in right to work states vs the others?

      Of Course there is!

      • Duras

        First off, you are not taking into account the counterfactual of the stimulus saving at least 3 million jobs.  Second, look at the political map, only Texas – an energy rich states has a big economy.  Blue state carees this country as an economic superpower.  Not to mention, look at the jobs in the South!  Romney always talked about bringing high paying jobs to America, but where’s the wealth in the South?  

        8 of the 10 richest counties in America were blue on Tuesday.  You want a good union job at GM where Obama increased general wages and decreased CEO wages (whereas Romney said he would have done the opposite) or you can have no problem finding a Walmart location in the South were you can take a $8 an hour job. 

        Get bent.  I live in the South and wish I could move to the North East where there are better unversities to send my kid.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          After he shook the etchasketch on the auto company bailout and was for it, Lord Romney said his main complaint about what Obama did was he didn’t screw the workers enough. To hell with him.

      • Duras

        Also – in a more general sense – how far are you willing to step on labor in the name of productivity? 

        Unions are illegal in China…would you go that far?  Would you side with CEOs who wanted to move production to Mexico to make $19 million instead of $11 million in America?  At what point do you say, it is time to unionize and levy terrifs on companies that exploit overseas labor? 

        Do you not see how a few malignant CEOs are running amok, while liberals can easily point to Starbucks, whose Chairman already provides healthcare?  I’ve seen small business owners who provide healthcare to their employees and do great and I’ve seeing other small business owners step on their employees as much as possible and blame the democrats for their sorry business.  You are hurting America.

        • Steve__T

           He is Obama bashing he doesn’t care. If a business owner fired half his work force because of XTZ  It would be President Obama’s fault, if you sneeze its Obamas fault. He doesn’t care about anything else.
          look at his above post about people on food stamps for an example.

      • Duras

        Seriously, I would appreciate if you would answer the question: “How far are you willing to step on labor in the name of productivity?”  

        I would like to understand your mindset.  When does humanity become more important than productivity?  I personally put humanity before productivity.  I put humanity before property.  But I’m not saying productivity and property aren’t important.  I just don’t understand why republicans want to continue to give into a class of people who have seen their incomes skyrocket over the years while middle income drops and poverty increases (before the recession).  When will you think it has gone too far?  Are you a Social Darwinist?

      • Derick_Mickles

        Right to Work was a viable option, before the advent of our “Safety Sally Society.” I’m not going to split hairs over this, and I’m going to tell you exactly why it used to work (meaning the jobs often payed livable wages rather than the starvation ones they pay now). Drum-roll: “Violence.” Yes. It’s not Politically Correct, and I’m not advocating it, so don’t go turning me in as some sort of revolutionary ok? 

        My family were Union in the old days. And in those days I remember my father going to strikes. Let me tell you something. Back in the old days a Strike was nothing like it is today. People got hurt and people disappeared. It’s not pretty, and it’s not often recorded history, but it was a fact, and it really did happen. That was the real negotiating power that workers had. The backbone of it at least. Management and Workers would sit down and try to hash out some kind of mutually beneficial agreement because in the back of everyone’s mind, they all knew were it would really end up if they didn’t. 

        It’s a different world now. The laws are more numerous and enforced with more stringency. Technology and Social Conditioning have made this possible. We are safer now, but we are also more poor, and more miserable in many ways. That said, livable wages in right to work states were once enforced first through negotiation, and failing that, the fist, and sometimes worse. Half of that equation is gone now. Some say for the better. I couldn’t say. 

  • 1Brett1

    These business practices have been implemented and honed long before there was any hint of “Obamacare.” The fact is, these practices are de rigueur for many businesses large or small. They don’t look past the next quarter, and they only look at tangibles in their spreadsheet analyses, and NOT how much turnover/training/competent workforces effect their bottom lines.These practices discussed today too greatly benefit employers and make workers expendable worker bees, and it holds workers hostage with a kind of economic blackmail. It’s not likely to change, unfortunately, whether employers have to provide health insurance or not. More employers need to take the longer view and see the benefits of a happy, well-paid, seasoned workforce, and how treating employees like collegial participants is good for business, and actually increase profits while making businesses run more smoothly.

  • Kevin

    I’ve been part-time for two years now and a part time “flex” position just opened up in my department where if I get it I cannot go under 28 hours even though only one other person applied for it who has only been there 3 months they still did not offer me the position, I am hungry for hours and I have a wife and a 3 year old son at home but  they seem to favor the teenagers in school who work 15 hours a week.  I receive no benefits and I did not get bereavement pay when my father just died this past Halloween, after two years with this company.  instead of giving me more hours when someone leaves they just hire another person to work between 20 and 35 hours.  I work hard no matter what and I have never had a problem with attendance or conduct. I am keeping quiet right now though because I am averaging 37 hours a week!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      I think I had that same job for a couple of years. Don’t take anything personally. Part-time flex is a terrible dead end for a good, honest, hard worker.The inconsistancies are hell on family life. I wish you much better.

      • Kevin

         Thank You, it’s what I got right now, at least my wife is going to school, hopefully she will have a better job.

    • 1Brett1

      It benefits employers (while screwing employees) for them to have a large number employees who work 15-20 hours a week than fewer employees who are in the 30-hour week/full time category. Employees become more expendable, less benefits are paid out; and, if someone calls out sick, the employers can just plug in the next worker. This is why all of this software has been developed to come up with schedules that put people on call, make them work 6-hour days broken up into perhaps two 3-hour shifts, and makes employees conform to an erratic schedule…At least employers think this benefits them and their companies, anyway.  

      • Kevin

         Oh yeah.  I work like 6 am til 3 pm on Monday and  8 til 1:30 on Friday….yes a computer makes my schedule…

  • Brandstad

    If all 47 million food stamp recipients voted for President Obama, it would account for 75.4 percent of Obama’s 62.3 million votes.

    • jimino

      Are you including the food producers and sellers (aka “job creators”) who are the true recipients of the money from food stamps?  Or does counting children and disabled make you feel better?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Denny’s announces today they are instituting a 5% Obamacare surtax to stay in business.

    They will also be cutting workers hours to 29/week due to gov. regulations.

    Completely predictable.

    • WorriedfortheCountry
      • Samuel Walworth

        Why not pass the surcharge to the customers, like everyone else does when anything else goes higher (gasoline etc).?

        • jimino

          Because their business model depends on offloading those costs onto the public, either through government programs like Medicaid, or a surcharge on those with private health insurance.  And the more diabolically one can figure out how to do so, the bigger their CEO paycheck, stock options, and bonus. 

          It’s called socializing the costs and privatizing the gains. 

          • notafeminista

            Are the two of you even paying attention to what the other one says?

    • hypocracy1

      People still eat there?

    • StilllHere

      No way, nobody could have seen this coming! But I’m sure only Denny’s will do it and only for company owned stores. The franchisees won’t and neither will competitors.

    • J__o__h__n

      If they are cutting hours to avoid providing health care to employees, what is the 5% for? 

    • hennorama

      This isn’t “Denny’s” but rather one franchise owner.

      The employer who “intends to add” (note he does NOT say he WILL add) this surcharge will be cutting his own throat.  His customers will migrate away to other alternatives.  The restaurant biz is one of the most highly competitive and customer choices abound.

      He has 45 locations and says they have an average of 35 FT employees per location.  This totals 1575 employees, but the article says he oversees about 1200.  He currently provides health care for only 250, which is less than 16% or 21% depending on the figure used.  Note that he’s not going to provide more of his people with health care – he’s just going to pay the penalty and do whatever he can to get around the requirements.

      Now let’s look at this 5% surcharge.  He says he’ll be paying $70K per restaurant annually.  This works out to $191.78 per day.  If the 5% surcharge is supposed to offset this, that means he only needs a bit over $3800/day in receipts.  With his average check at his Denny’s locations at $9, this means only 426 checks/day are needed.  If he has 35 FT employees per location, he MUST be doing more than that or he’d already be out of business.

      What will happen to the excess surcharges collected if they exceed the $191.78/day?  Will he give his employees raises?  Cut menu prices?  Refund his customers?  Put it in his pocket?

      This person simply wanted his name and photo in the news.  Or he’s a fool.  Or he has a political agenda.  Or all three.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        If you are correct then he will be the only one instituting the surcharge and/or cutting workers hours.

        When do the waivers for MickeyDs run out?

        Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Especially at Dennys.

        • hennorama

          Cutting workers’ hours means he’ll need to hire more workers. And I believe you still get a free meal at Denny’s on your birthday. ;-)

          As to cutting workers’ hours:

          Let’s say an employer has 50 employees each working 40 hrs/wk. This is 2000 worker hrs/wk total. If they reduce all workers hours to 28/wk, they would then need 71.43 employees to get the same total worker hrs/wk. Unless they have MASSIVE productivity improvements, of course, which would be highly unlikely. A 43% productivity increase would be required for the same 50 workers, if they each only worked 28 hrs/wk.

          Otherwise, you need 43% more workers.

          So now the employer has the increased costs and headaches associated with training and scheduling and worrying about sick time and injuries and all the other stuff that goes with hiring 21.43 new workers.

          Assuming you could find 21.43 workers who would accept only 28 hrs/wk.

          It’s doable, but presents significant headaches to employers making that choice.

          • notafeminista

            Of course they will find 21.43 workers who will accept 28 hours a week.  We’ve been assured that people are looking for jobs, people want to work – so no problem there.

            The reward to the business owner will be greater than the risk.  Who wouldn’t do it?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Here is another thing to consider.  Obamacare forces employers to provide more expensive policies (eg, just coverage for 26 and under children adds $500/year per policy).  Someone has to pay.  The employee, the customer or the employer.

        In the current labor market, this won’t be pretty.

        Perhaps, that was the intent of the authors of Obamacare.   They designed a system that would inevitably collapse.  They are hoping to leverage the outrage over the collapse into constituting a single payer system.  I’ve believed this from day one and it certainly looks like we are on our way.

        Am I giving Nancy Pelosi too much credit?  Is she truly an evil genius?   Boy, what an act.

        • hennorama

          Yes, there are costs involved to get something like 32 million more people insured, and for policies that have greater benefits. But this also spreads the risks and costs over a larger risk pool.

          That’s the reason for the so-called “mandates” for both individuals and businesses. The system of having so many uninsured was not working, and created additional costs of its own. Emergency room care for someone who avoids the doctor due to a lack of insurance, is hugely more expensive than preventive care at the doctor’s office or walk-in clinic or the “pop-up clinics” that are becoming more widespread.

          Yes, there will be disruptions due to these changes. But the status quo was not working, and it too was becoming more and more expensive. This is a long-term process that is just beginning.

      • notafeminista

        No, he needs 426 MORE checks in addition to what he’s already doing.  Or he will be out of business.

        • hennorama

          Thank you for your responses.  I’ve consolidated my replies.

          Your conclusion is inaccurate.  A TOTAL of 426 checks per day are required, not “426 MORE checks.”  Here’s the arithmetic:

          To get $70,000 annually per location, with an average check of $9.00 and a 5% surcharge on the $9.00/check, the surcharge is then $0.45 per check ($9.00 X .05 = .45).

          $70,000 divided by 365 days = $191.78 per day needed on average.  Dividing this by the average surcharge of $0.45, this results in 426.18 checks needed per day to get the $191.78 needed.  ($191.78 /$0.45 = 426.18).

          One can work it in multiple directions.  Using the $0.45 average surcharge, $70,000 per year/$ 0.45 surcharge per check = 15,556 checks.  15,556 checks / 365 days = 426.18 checks/day.

          You can also do it using the $70,000 total needed, and the 5% surcharge rate.  $70,000 divided by 5% rate (.05) results in a gross receipts level required for the year of $1,400,000.  Using the $9/check average, we get the same 15,556 checks per year required.  Dividing by 365 days, we get 426.18.

          Again, if this restauranteur has an average of 35 full-time workers per location, they must be doing significantly more than 426 checks per day.  Looking at it yet another way – $1,400,000 in revenue is only $40,000 per full-time worker.  It would be nearly impossible for any restaurant to be profitable with that little annual revenue per full-time worker.

          As to hiring more workers – the choices involved for the employer are clear.  More employees involves significantly more complexity and headache, especially 43% more workers.  As to the availability of potential workers – not everyone wants to work in a restaurant, and not everyone who wants to work in a restaurant is willing to accept only 28 hrs/wk.  That narrows the list of candidates considerably.

          There are indeed a great many people out of work at present, but that is not always the case.  For long-term success, businesses need to have either low turnover and satisfied employees, or have a large pool of potential workers available, in order to be able to easily replace workers who leave.  If an employer has neither of those things, the business will fail.  Offering no health insurance does not generally attract or retain employees, and the overall job market is steadily improving, reducing the total number of available workers.

          • notafeminista

            He needs 70,000 per location he didn’t need before.  That’s why he’s charging the surtax.  He needs more money to do business.  Either he raises the price of the actual service provided (meaning the average check rises to $10 instead of $9 for example) or he just tacks on the surcharge.  

            And this is in addition to pre-existing business expense.  Rent, utilities, inventory both perishable and non – etc.

            A business owner can offer whatever he wants to, but if he doesn’t turn a profit it doesn’t matter how high or low his turnover is or how happy his employees are, because he will go out of business.   Read up on Hostess and their bankruptcy news of late.

          • hennorama

            Thank you again for your response.

            The claims made by the restauranteur are merely that – claims. First, he has said only that he “intends to impose” a 5% surcharge, not that he WILL impose any such surcharge. Then he claims that he will be required to pay $70,000 per location. My calculations were designed to show that either this surcharge would be a new profit center for the restauranteur, or that he was completely full of it.

            Second, he seems to not understand the Employer Responsibility Requirement in Obamacare. This applies only to companies with 50 or more employees, or full-time equivalents. It also only applies if one or more of its employees receive premium credits (government subsidies) to help purchase health insurance in the exchange. BOTH of these conditions must be true before any penalties apply.

            In other words, if each location was considered to be a separate employer, they would have to have at least 50 FT or FTE employees AND at least one employee would need to be receiving a Federal subsidy to purchase health coverage in an exchange.

            I’d go on to detail how the penalty would be calculated after IT EXEMPTS THE FIRST 30 EMPLOYEES, but it seems pointless given your prior comments.

            The point is, the restauranteur either just wanted his name and photo in the news, is a fool, has a political agenda, or all three. I say it’s all three.

            For those who wish to know more, see the following:




    • Gregg Smith

      You will see commenters do back flips of rationalization but jobless claims soared by 78,000 in the week after the election. They’ll probably scream Sandy but the hardest hit states were Ohio and PA. Go figure.

      • hennorama

        When in doubt, blame the weather.  Corporations do this all the time when they have less-than-stellar results.  We’re already seeing this.

        Of course SuperStorm Sandy had an impact.  Only an ostrich would deny that. However, regardless of the cause(s) of the drop, drawing grand conclusions from one week of data is ill-advised.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777252319 Teresa Mosteller Hooker

    As for comments about those on unemployment-well we DO work, I did and hundreds of thousands alongside me and I was paid low wages. Since I worked in NC…..the unemployment paid me more than I was working so they told me to submit the amount I worked (for over 40 hours TRYING to get this employer to actually hire me) and trust me…the “part time or so called part time I put in more than 40 + 

     ” and “temp employee” are expected to work harder, take no breaks and work through lunches, never call in sick and be at top of production or whatever the job ensues (mine was at a desk in a very busy, acute environment, with two huge computers  - 8 open sites on each all at the same time managing calls and other duties.  It was a highly stressful job but I was a top producer and STILL had to rely on my leftover “unemployment” to eat and pay gas for my multitude of jobs.  For those who think the unemployed “do not work” well think AGAIN!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777252319 Teresa Mosteller Hooker

    I personally do not know of one person who has been laid off (like I was) and never “worked” while they were on unemployment.  Are you kidding me? Or yourself-we worked all right-as temps trying to get on a full time job~if you’re not out there smacking away you’ll NEVER find work so yes, if you earn less than unemployment you simply call in what you earn, get that difference, and I personally know hundreds of people in this situation where (I own my own house). They aren’t willing to commute, that’s the ONLY way I found my full time job – to commute! (Either as far as an 8 hour commute that I did for over three years or now a just over one hour one way commute from my house).

  • Heidi Preuss

    I have two on call shifts tomorrow for the same company (one morning one in the afternoon).  I can’t do anything else except wait to find out if I’m working. It precludes any other work.  I do feel I need to be paid for this time

  • Heidi Preuss

    At our retail store (William Sonoma) ALL the employees are part time. We’re called casual labor. Only the 4 managers have full time work. It’s hard on everyone. Yes this is the best system for the company but really hard on the workforce

  • J__o__h__n

    Business owners should have to have a certain percentage of full time workers before they are allowed to claim they are “job creators.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathryn.nussdorf Kathryn Nussdorf


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/K5X4PO3VEHXC4KANMIGMJSP4ZA Jerry

      The total point of this issue has been totally missed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I was a fastfood manager for 22 years. As a salaried manager i made $55,000/yr but worked 60-70 hours/week. I was not allowed to pay my crew more than .15 over min wage. our company made $27 million in 2006 and $25 million in 2007. they started running the company as if it were going bankrupt. I went from 112 man crewfor lunch to a 5 man crew. to save money becasue we are not amking enough money.
       Why can’t this company make 20 million and give 5 million to have enough staff or pay them a decent wage.
       The CEO makes 3 million/yr with 2.5 million bonus with 65 million in phamtom stock.. WHY. WHY. WHY. most of these companies can afford to give a decent wage, hire more people, if them would only give up the greed of needing 27 million in profits
    – Jerry Burden -

    • Bruce_NC67

      Thanks for pointing this — I understand and agree with much of what you said.  I have been in retail for over 25 years.  In the last 10 years many companies seem to lost nearly all value in their employees.  As a Manager today I feel that I have very little control of what I can do for my employees. This including working more hours to make up for what I can not offer my employees as you have suggested 

    • OnPointComments

      When a company makes an investment, it has the right to expect a fair rate of return on its investment that is commensurate with the risk it is taking.  Businesses are risky ventures, and budgets matter.  Suppose that the cost to open a new store is $30 million dollars.  If the store makes a profit of $1 million dollars a year, is that enough?  Absolutely not; the company could invest the money in something far less risky than a new store, and that requires far less work, and earn $1 million on a $30 million investment.  If the company opens many more stores over the decades, should it expect a lesser rate of return because there are more stores, or because the owners became wealthy?  No, it doesn’t; the fair rate of return doesn’t change.  It may seem that a company can easily give up $5 million in profits, but $5 million may be the tipping point where it no longer makes sense to invest in a store, and instead invest in something that is less risky and requires less work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathryn.nussdorf Kathryn Nussdorf

    (Kathryn from Berlin, Germany) Wait a minute. Walmart has nothing to do
    with the economic downturn! Look at the list of the richest Americans,
    Walmart owners take 5 of the 10 spots! Don’t they have any sense of
    social conscience? It is outrageous that a Walmart manager blames the
    “budget” for not giving a part time worker more hours or a stable
    schedule. This is blatant exploitation by the super wealthy on the
    working poor.

    • StilllHere

      They are not Walmart’s owners, they are members of the founding family and they sold off the majority of their ownership interest decades ago.  They have no managerial role whatsoever.  But don’t let the facts get in the way of the German need to expose our impurities.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/K5X4PO3VEHXC4KANMIGMJSP4ZA Jerry

    Can’t get through on the phone 740 586 2227  would love to discuss the REAL Problem that is not mentioned
                                 – Jerry –

    • DrewInGeorgia

      The show aired at 10:00 am EST. I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you this but I hate to see anyone hanging in limbo. The show discourages callers from saying “Good morning” when they get on the air I think because they don’t want the listeners who catch the show later in the day to feel left out. Hope this is helpful.

  • hennorama

    The further removed ownership is from front-line employees, the easier it is for management to make changes that negatively impact employees.  We hear about employee schedules being made via computer software used in a remote central location.  The machine makes the decisions, so the humans involved are blameless and need feel nothing in the way of empathy toward those who are impacted.

    Conversely, we hear of other businesses with owners working alongside employees, and seeing and feeling the impacts of ownership decisions.  What do some of these owners do during economic downturns?  They cut their own pay and benefits and/or absorb the costs of keeping workers.  Or they work cooperatively with workers, with workers sometimes agreeing to pay reductions or fewer hours rather than laying off a coworker.

    What happens to these businesses when the economy turns?  They have employees who are more connected to the business and more willing to work hard for success.

    Efficiency and cost-cutting are obviously necessary to remain competitive, but the human impacts need to be taken into account as well.  Smart businesses recognize the value of human capital, and do as much as they can to balance the needs of both workers and owners.

  • dvmjill

    I apologize if you’ve already covered this…. but I’ve said for a long time that if we untie access to healthcare from employment, a lot of things could change. I know my situation isn’t like everyone’s, but because my husband has good benefits, including health insurance, I have the freedom to work three different part time jobs. I feel very productive, much more creative, and far less bored by working this way. One of my jobs pays me by the project, and as such, I feel that it allows me to determine how much time is needed to do something, and then set my price for the job. 
    As a part-time worker, I’m often the first call my employers make when they have a short term need – vacation, someone is out sick, etc. Because my scheduled hours are low, they don’t have to worry about overtime, or violating salary agreement, etc. Because I feel stimulated and creative, I am also viewed as a vibrant, valuable employee, and it works really well for everyone. 

    • Bruce_NC67

      You raise a good point here — back in 2007 when my wife went out for our 3rd child the health plan cost the employer over $20,000 a year.  I read somewhere in 2012 the average cost to employer  was over $15,000. Many companies have looked to cutting full time employees it might be hard to know how many employers cut Full-time employees for this reason mainly

  • Pingback: The Employment Lawyers at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik Initiate a ... | Class Action Employers News BlogClass Action Employers News Blog

  • 228929292AABBB

    No doubt this is done at least partly out of greed by the employer.  But the other side of this and many current issues is that the addition of protections and benefits to a class invites the reduction of the class.  The  healthcare initiatives, extended unemployment benefits (paid by employers in most states) family leave acts, etc. are wonderfully intentioned.  But the more expensive and difficult it becomes to support a full time employee with each of these provisions, the more tempting it is to eliminate employees.  I’m an accountant to businesses and I know this is how many of them think and act (often out of necessity).  The same is true in other areas, in the child protective welfare system in my state the number of services and standards of care recently mandated for each case has caused the agencies to become very reluctant to define abuse and open cases.   They simply haven’t the staff to meet the standards so they say there’s no problem.  Be careful, well intentioned (mostly liberal) ‘reformers’, you might protect your target class, but you might also just put them out of whatever it was you were trying to improve the quality of in the first place.  Sometimes the best is the enemy of good enough.

    • J__o__h__n

      How is no health care good enough? 

      • 228929292AABBB

        As it compares to no job and no health care, that’s how.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    David Stockman on Crony Capitalism and the Monetary Politburo


    If you want to understand where unemployment came/comes from.

    Critical of Bernanke, Romney, Bush, Summers, Geithner, Greenspan, etc.

    The lunacy of Monetary Policy management of our economy by 12 unelected officials, and the death of real Capital Markets that are required for a functioning Capitalist Economy.

  • hennorama

    Employers obviously have the upper hand, and their advantage increases after every economic downturn.  Employees’ share of GDP has been dropping steadily for more than 40 years.  The only significant break in this extended downtrend occurred during the 1990s when the economy was booming.
    Check out this graph, which shows the percent of GDP taken up by employee compensation.  If you want a single visual of why most people feel they aren’t doing well, this is it,  Notice how it drops sharply during and after recessions:
    By the way, this decline mirrors the decline in U.S. union membership as a percentage of total workers, which peaked in the mid-1950s at about 25%, declined to about 20% in the mid-1970s, and is now under 12%.

  • Gordon Green

    It sounds to me like software is starting to have a nefarious impact on our society.  Data mining has gone wild in the hands of marketers, security consultants, NSA, hiring managers and schedulers.  What’s optimal to a computer is not what’s optimal for human beings, which require a certain latitude and customary habits that have developed over the generations to ensure a stable and basically happy society.  It seems to me the net effect is now clearly negative, and I don’t see this ending well at all.

  • Yobo2

    dvmjill wrote: ”
    I am also viewed as a vibrant, valuable employee”
    That’s really great, and you’re very lucky. Unfortunately, my situation isn’t as nice. While the full-timers that I work for understand that I’m a valuable employee, the organization itself puts part-timers like me on a definite path to nowhere. We are non-entities.
    Of course we get no other benefits like paid sick time or health insurance, but we are also barred from getting any training, attending any meetings, using company email or even getting access to intranet (meaning we get organizational news only second-hand, if that). Needless to say, the work is the most menial and my ideas and opinions are never asked for (and not considered when I speak out anyway). If we apply for full-time positions in the organization, we are considered “external candidates,” and if we ever do get a full-time position, we start at ground zero — our years of part-time work count for nothing in terms of title, pay grade or benefits calculations. Although I work only part-time, I am expected to have a completely free schedule outside of work hours and am expected to work any hours that I’m asked to. As a part-timer, every moment on the job is expected to be spent nose-to-the-grindstone, which would be fine if I also saw my full-time colleagues working so singlemindedly, but they regularly chat with each other, hold small gatherings for birthdays and baby showers, arrive 10 minutes late now and then, and occasionally take a long lunch break, which is all understandable, but if a part-timer did the same, it would be completely unacceptable. It’s even worse when I see full-time employees clearly abusing their privileges and cases (on a regular basis) of outright incompetence, and I can’t help but think, “How does that person have a full-time job and I don’t?!?” I work in Massachusetts, so I get healthcare through the State, but healthcare benefits are just one small piece of the equation. It’s disheartening to be relegated (for several years, now) to an employment ghetto, knowing that I have excellenct qualifications and much, much more to offer. 

    • Yobo2

      Forgot to mention:
      None of the regular full-time employees work outrageous hours — everyone leaves at quitting time except the very highest level of managers. (I know because we all walk out together.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

        The petit bourgeousie always think they have the edge over designated underlings who are far more competent than they could ever be. Managers tend to be workaholics without a clue of what it is like to feel anything. They live to work long hours, like marathoners train to run. No empathy will be found there, either.

    • crhodes142

      I live in Michigan, yet could’ve posted your letter as my exact same experience.

  • Dab200

    I grew up in Poland under totalitarian Russian dominance. As ordered by law there was no unemployment, everyone had to work. But pay and conditions were very miserable for all workers. We had a saying ‘jak płaca taka praca’, which translates into: ‘you pretend to pay us and we pretend to work’. I see this attitude almost everywhere nowadays in the USA, when shopping and at work. It was not like that before when we came in 1989. Now unfortunately the work conditions, pay and attitudes remind me of my old country. The country we left to leave this behind, for a better world.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      Believe me, this country has become a whole lot worse, incrementally, since I was born here in 1956. Friend & foe alike ask: “If you are unhappy here why don’t you leave?” “Because I can’t.” Is not an acceptable answer. They have convinced me that my time & efforts are useless anywhere.
      Why am I still alive? To flee for the freedom of Poland or some other less self-hating place, someday. Not that I’ve ever been offered a “choice”. Trapped & enslaved for a lifetime really sucks. It’s the American way.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    3 Choices:

    1) Free Market Capitalism within Rule of Law Guidelines

    2) Crony Capitalism with Technocratic Discretion and hopes that Insiders do the “right thing” with the Favors. (i.e. Fed>Wall St.)

    3) Command and Control Economy.

    We are at 2, which can be hard to discern from 3.

    When we default on our debt, we will be herded into an International Version of 2/3.

    It’s a shame so many people are afraid of, or have forgotten, or have never really appreciated the value of freedom and liberty, and power distributed to the individuals, rather than concentrated.

    Seems the American Revolution and Experiment in Constitutional Republic and Limited Government was a waste.

    We are too distracted by consumerism and sense of entitlement or simply historically ignorant to have any connection to our founding ideals any longer.

    China-style Authoritarian rule and consumer/citizen sleepwalking is our future, thanks to the latter being our recent past.

  • Bruce_NC67

    Paul — True – -this is why we moved here to NC because my wife was an adjunct and could not find FT work where she came from — her boss told her that as much as she would love to offer FT work — there was none to offer nor should she expect that to change.

  • http://4red3s.myopenid.com/ 4red3s

    An aluminum manufacturing plant in our town lays off sections of its employees on a systematic basis. It then hires the employees that it laid off 6 – 12 months ago (if they are available) … at minimum wage. Many will leave the part time job they had in the interim to get back to that full time job at minimum wage. The employers also wait until the end of the day to let you know you are out of a job so that you will work through the day with out the knowledge that you just lost your job. I talked with a German friend not too long ago. Her observation: It is a new form of slavery. 

    • DrewInGeorgia

      The United States Postal Service employs the same tactics you mention (or at least they did about twenty years ago). They call this group of ‘temporary’ employees Casual Carriers. They hold out the carrot of “At the end of your Casual Carrier contract you will become eligible for permanent employment”. Of course this is a lie (to put it politely).

    • http://twitter.com/TongoRad TongoRad

      Your German friend is correct. Do we work for the economy or does the economy work for us? Economic elite-driven propaganda has posited the economy as a force of nature, but it is creation of politics.

  • Bruce_NC67

    I remember hearing about this — but I dont think I saw this specific article.  I just a quick chart (two axis) – I might have did it wrong — I took the Corporate Profits  and adjustment them for their corresponding CPI #”s (Using the Excel FRED add-in) surprisingly it shows the red line where the corporate profits were the highest compared to actual back in the late part of the 70′s.  It is hard to look at only one or two economic variable and read too much into it– yet it is also hard to put together many variables  and decided what is causing what etc….not sure if graph wil be readable

  • John_in_Amherst

    Although I missed some of today’s show, I was surprised that no correlation was made between the rise in part time, non-benefited positions and the absurd levels of pay and dividends for people at the top of the corporate heap and their investors.  Corporations squeeze people at the bottom of the work force to maximize the returns for their executives and stock holders.  Shameful, really.  And almost suspicious when a show that is examining the plight of part timers fails to connect the dots.  Tom, you are slipping.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      I don’t know, I thought that Tom was more on the ball today than he has been most of the time lately. That’s just my perspective though. As to the correlation being drawn, if people don’t make the connection it is only because they choose to ignore the nose on their face. There’s no point trying to explain anything to those that absolutely refuse to listen to anything they find disagreeable.

      Also, check out the opening remark below the show title:
      “A soaring number of Americans are stuck with part-time jobs. It’s keeping costs down for companies, but it’s crippling the Middle Class. We’ll dig in.”

      That really pretty much says it all, everyone should already realize that decreased costs translate into higher administrative pay and increased dividend payouts to shareholders.

      • StilllHere

        No it doesn’t, administrators are getting paid less also and whole levels of management are being gutted and replaced by technology.  Moreover, payout ratios are not even close to historic highs. Try to keep up.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Sod off Troll. I told you I’m not allowed to play with you anymore.

          • StilllHere

            Gotcha, you can’t play cuz you got no proof just leftwing nutjob talking points.  Obviously, you’re the troll.

    • StilllHere

      Not even couldn’t they talk about correlation, but certainly not causation.  Can you cite any peer-reviewed studies for your crazy view of the world?  

      • John_in_Amherst

         you see no connection between rising income inequity and people at the bottom being stuck in progressively more and more dire work conditions?  Just an inconsequential coincidence.  Right.  The right yammers endlessly about the rhetoric of “class warfare” being used by progressives.  The right worries about words.  The under-employed worry making ends meet and staying sane in the process.  They are not waging, let alone winning any class war.

        • StilllHere

          Left yammers yammer without data.  Show me the connection.  That would be convincing.  The right’s not going to take your word for it.

          • Bill_GKD


            Higher profits and lower benefits


            “The share of involuntary part-time workers more than doubled to 6.2
            percent of the U.S. workforce in September, compared with 3 percent
            three years earlier.”from 2010.

          • Massman2

            That’s all we ever hear from this idiot StillHere, “show me the data”. Sure wasn’t hard to find for Bill_GKD. Why can’t you find it? Because you eyes are closed, because you don’t care because your a 1%er?
            Or perhaps an idiot like I stated above. 

          • Bill_GKD

            The comment also made me think of the pre-election polls and all of the TOP doubters and their “unskewed polls”.  It doesn’t matter if you show them data, they’ll just deny it.  Just look at stuff like that and the creationists.  They’re a party based on faith.

  • Guest

    Wrong place Disqus, should have been reply to earlier comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512892971 Lynda Blair Vernalia

    I work 2 part time jobs, as an acting teacher a few evenings a month and a principal aide at the local school 2 days a week.  I am fortunate enough that my husband makes “just enough” f/t with our expenses that I can do part-time and we can afford to take care of our kids and pay bills. I did seek full time work, but child care, commutes and taking low pay because I’ve been home taking care of my young family made part-time more realistic and accessible for me.    How I will eventually move into f-t work when the kids are older is a long process…Part-time employees also spend more on gas unless they took the job for local commutes, so part-timers spend more on gas and car needs juggling going from one place to another.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      “I am fortunate enough that my husband makes “just enough”- Lynda

      Dear Lynda, You are a lucky woman. Enjoy it while you’ve got it. Learn to be a better teacher in the meantime. Your kids will show you how to do that.

      BTW: Who told you that teaching was ever going to be a lucrative ocupation for mothers? Stay married to an employed husband! Best bet.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512892971 Lynda Blair Vernalia

        I actually have an EdM from Harvard in Higher Ed Administration,(which is more lucrative than teaching) but being home with the kids for years have killed my credentials and made it almost impossible to transition back into higher ed (who want current and progressive experience and have thrown my resume away).  This was the best I could do for now.  I never expected to make a lot teaching acting, (but do have an undergrad degree in performance) but hope the “education” aspect will work in my favor later. Wish hubby could make more money? You bet! Of course, with 3 years on and off employment for him, he had to take what he could get and I had to find something. :)  Thank heaven we’re getting back on track. :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

          Much encouragement & love to you & your family! The whole world can benefit when we stand by our highest callings. <3  

  • sjw81

    I am a HR Mgr at FedEx. We have one third of our workforce as perm part time;so thats 700 people in Boston, and 35000 employees nationwide. THey all get full benefits-health care, vision, dental, a free pension, a 401k, tuition, etc. THey are guarenteed 17 h-30 hours per week. We have no lay offs. Ever. Our turnover is 1%. We are ranked in to 10 company’s to work for, year after year. IF you treat your part time workers with respect and value them, they dont leave and put in 100% for you.  Basic human nature and motivation.

    • StilllHere

      That’s impossible, corporations hate people, especially the small ones.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/6RSHQ57ITLNXCSECW3ABYVEAUE Kevin

        Corporations are people…

        • notafeminista

          Not according to the Left…

    • Bruce_NC67

      FedEx is rated very high — I also remember watching an Undercover boss episode on FedEx.  Many retailers have very high turnover and low wages.  I recall reading/hearing that 98 % of Walmart make wages less than poverty level (although some of those are by choice )
      Productivity and great customer are important — but when there are people in the labor force — they just replace you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.harriss.7 Mary Harriss

    I’ve only had temp jobs for two years since graduating from college. Recently, I worked for a company for 6 months as a temp-to-hire employee. After months of promising to finally hire me, I was fired within 2 weeks after completing their major annual project.

    I temped elsewhere for a few weeks and was turned down for a several more full-time jobs. For the last 3 months I have been too discouraged and depressed to bring myself to apply for more work. Luckily, my fiance has a good job and we can scape by on just his income.

    I just feel used and abused by employers. It seems like I care more about providing good service to their customers than they do… and a heck of a lot more than they care about their employees!

  • andrwstrm

    everything that was discussed this hour is the result of the ruling class’ tendency to squeeze as much profit out of the working class as possible.  If the working class is not organized and fighting for their basic rights and necessities, what incentive does the ruling class have to give them what they need?

  • Gregg Smith

    We have a part time employee who feeds horses for us 4 mornings a week. She works 3rd shift at a factory as well. She works overtime every other week and under 40 hours on the others. Don’t ask me how the math works but it’s all mathematically calculated for profit. I don’t have a problem with that. The problem is all the regulations that impose these artificial parameters. Factory work is hard enough.

    Before she got that job (she was a 99 weeker) she worked nights stocking shelves at Walmart. At the time they were hiring only part time workers to avoid all the implications imposed by government for full-time employees. It all amounted to jerking her around mercilessly. The hiring process included drug test, sensitivity training, safety training and all kinds of tolerance stuff. How much does all that cost? 

    The point being it’s costly, risky and not profitable to hire full time workers.

    • 1Brett1

      “…they were hiring only part time workers to avoid all the implications imposed by government for full-time employees.
      The hiring process included drug test, sensitivity training, safety training and all kinds of tolerance stuff. How much does all that cost?”

      There aren’t any government regulations that impose these as requirements for full-time employees. Any private or governmental organization that requires these from a candidate for employment/an already hired employee, does so because of liability concerns, i.e., to guard against potential future lawsuits and not because of any regulation.  

      • Gregg Smith

        I get your point but there are OSHA standards, there are overtime rules, minimum wage and more that are government regulations. Tort reform is a huge need but I blame the government there too, you know how I am. 

        • 1Brett1

          OSHA standards, minimum wage, overtime rules, and more apply to both part time and full time employees. Are you saying companies shouldn’t be made to observe  safety standards, minimum wage, or overtime pay? What labor laws, if any, do you think employers should be made to observe? None? They should decide for themselves?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688295092 Carolina Holt


  • Outside_of_the_Box

    I would like to know the percentage of Americans working part-time, and those part-timers who are actively seeking full-time work, or have stopped seeking full-time work? Anyone have current stats on this?

    • hennorama

      According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are: (Seasonally adjusted figures for Oct. 2012)

      18,923,000 working part-time for “non-economic reasons,” an increase of 187,000.  This figure represents 13.2% of all employed workers, and 12.1% of the total Civilian Labor Force.

      (This “Refers to persons who usually work part time for noneconomic reasons such as childcare problems, family or personal obligations, school or training, retirement or Social Security limits on earnings, and other reasons. This excludes persons who usually work full time but worked only 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for reasons such as vacations, holidays, illness, and bad weather.”)

      8,344,000 working “Part time for economic reasons,” down by 269,000.  This figure represents 5.8% of all employed workers, and 5.4% of the total Civilian Labor Force.

      (This “Refers to those who worked 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for an economic reason such as slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, or seasonal declines in demand.”)

      The Civilian Labor Force rose to 155,641,000 in October.

      Total Employment was 143,384,000


      • Bruce_NC67

        It hard to digest some of these #’s at times
        For example the Employment to Population ratio is the lowest it has been since the mid 80′s (the October 2012 # was 58.9%).  At first I thouight retirees and Babyboomers might be the caugse — but I have located this # yet.  While it is likely that had an effect — that does  NOT appear to be most of the cause. With each of the past recession there has been  decline  and a rise shortly after until the next recession .  The rate although fluxating has been essentially flat since July 2008. Further this decline was twice the # of points  of anything we have seen in the past 30 years. About 400 basis points vs 200 basis points

        Source FRED –


        • hennorama

          The issue here is that the Great Recession (GR) is virtually unprecedented.

          Five years later, economists are still trying to work out the various causes, and continuing to study the effects. It is not yet clearly understood why either the Civilian Employment to Population Ratio (EMRATIO) or the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate (CIVPART) have declined so rapidly and have not recovered as much as expected.

          BTW, you can chart both of these on the same graph on the FRED site. Using the EMRATIO graph, just click [Edit Graph]. On the next screen, click [Add Data Series], then enter CIVPART in the Search box, then hit [Enter]. The graph of both will then appear.

          There’s an interesting paper from the KC FED titled “Interpreting the Recent Decline in Labor Force Participation” by Willem Van Zandweghe. Mr. Van Zandweghe concludes:

          “The sharp decline of the LFPR since the onset of the recent recession is due to long-term shifts related to demographic trends and to the cyclical downturn in the labor market. A variety of evidence indicates that, on balance, trend factors account for about half of the decline in labor force participation from 2007 to 2011, with cyclical factors accounting for the other half.”

          He defines “trend factors” as demographic, cultural, and institutional trends.

          It’s quite an interesting paper. You can download it here:


          • Bruce_NC67


            thanks for
            the tip on the graph – I was aware of various ways to graph but I dont think I
            have graphed those two specific Series on the same graph. I Have the FRED Excel
            Add-in and that is how I graph them normally (as I can customize the graph more
            easily etc). I will have to check out the link/paper thanks for the info.

            Profit (after Tax) has risen but receipts have fallen which I don’t quite
            understand the proportion in the change between the two — interestingly it
            seems whenever FCTAX rises above the trendline a recession almost immediately
            follows. While there may be a correlation – I am not saying there is a direct
            cause/effect and suspect there is something else.

          • hennorama

            This one is easy to understand – the US EFFECTIVE Corporate tax rate has been declining like crazy and is now under 20%. Henry Blodget wrote all about this 6 months ago, when he was analyzing the corporat tax part of Mr. Romney’s plans:


            BTW, the FRED site allows all sorts of charting. You can “Create Your Own Data Transformation,” and produce the same chart in Mr. Blodget’s article – FCTAX/(FCTAX+CP). Here’s the tutorial:


          • Bruce_NC67

            Thanks again for the links and the article.  I was going go look into if the rates (corp tax had changed) —
            As I mentioned I use the Fred Excel Add-in that does a quite nice job — although the web site may allow for some things that can not be directly done by the Add-in — but any chart can be customized in Excel.

          • hennorama

            YW and TY for the Excel add-in tip.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      The ‘official’ BLS number for underemployed (U-6) is currently at 14.7%.

      However, I’ve seen the number 26M workers ‘underemployed’ which leads to about an 18% rate. I believe the difference is in how the BLS accounts for the underemployed.

      Either way, it is much too high.

      • Bruce_NC67

        According to the # I just pulled its 14.6% for October 2012 but I am not qoing to quibble over 10th’s of points.  Another way to look at it is that is about a 450 basis increase over where we were at the beginning of 2008. The good news is that it was over 17% during the peak and had delcined about 240 basis points to the 14.7% you mention –as you said  either way its too high

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacobp.cady Jake Cady

    There is one thing that would put a huge dent in the “part-time” work problem.  That thing is single payer health care.  If companies weren’t burdened by high healthcare costs for full time employees, they would be more apt to keep more full time staff.  

  • Ashiglar

    I’m a new mother who quit my good-paying w/benefits job to be with my baby more.  I was surprised at the total lack of professional part-time work–even in so-called progressive institutions such as universities and the government.  I did find a mediocre part-time job (no benefits, salary slightly better than minimum wage) but had to become a student to do so…..I think if mothers are valued in this country it would be good to truly push job shares and other options for those of us who want to work professionally, and still be with our children while they are small, nursing, etc.

    • agavegirl

      I went part-time after the birth of my daughter by choice, after working full-time 9 years.  I worked part-time for 4 years.  Even though I never left the company, now that I am trying to get full-time work, whenever I apply for internal postings, I get treated like an external applicant.  I am told repeatedly they don’t know if I can handle a full-time work day!  What a bunch of malarkey.  The reality is, they know they can hire a new college grad or even an MBA, for much less than my full-time pay.  

    • missioli

      In the 1970′s and early ’80′s, professional part-time  positions or job sharing was offered by employers nationwide. Even as late as 1985 I had a very successfull career  as a professional part-timer in pharmaceutical sales. Today, part-time jobs or job shares are few and far between. If you find one, as I did this past spring, the extra work assigned made the job neary equivilent in hours to full time at part-time wages. When  I mentioned to my hiring manager that my part-time job had evolved into full time hours, the response was ” just because you work part-time doesn’t mean you work part-time.” !!!???

  • crhodes142

    I didn’t hear about the immense numbers of “temps” who work for a service like Manpower or one of the local employment group organizations. These workers are the desperate ones who fill manufacturing jobs in Michigan at auto-parts companies and industries that are non-union. Working alongside the regular employees who are paid decent wages, have insurance and benefits  and who have a measure of job security, the temporary worker is the closest thing to a slave or servant that we have in the midwest. This is the only path allowed for those who would try to land a permanent job in the factory. We only get whatever hours the company assigns us and we better be glad for it. If we are asked to go home at noon because the orders are down, we do it. If we are asked to work 12 hour shifts, seven days a week, we jump at the chance. We are not given time off for doctor’s appts., funerals, or family emergencies. Should we ask and express any disappointment, we are let go. If we are injured on the job and take the option to go to a factory-sponsored clinic for immediate care, we will be laid off within the week. If any parts go through a line with defects, the temporary workers ALWAYS are blamed and let go. If the team leader doesn’t like our looks, we are gone. If we are smarter or more educated than our bosses, we are let go. The “reasons” we are let go are always the same: the quality on the line we worked on has been compromised since temp # whatever started working there”. This is always a fabricated charge, but impossible to disprove. In the factory where I work, we must ask permission to go to the bathroom, or to get a drink in 100+ degree temperatures in the plant. There is no heat in the winter in below freezing weather, and there is no air-conditioning for any but the office workers. We are not allowed to talk to our bosses unless we have an emergency, and  anyone who complains is laid off. There is a steady stream of temporary workers, supplying fresh meat into the plant at all times. Most of us will work for 4-8 years as a temporary [part-time] worker, until a team leader “recommends” one of us to replace a retiring worker. The brightest and best workers are often let go by the team leader who doesn’t want any of his/her workers to outshine him/her for possible future promotion. There are so many wasteful and unethical practices that go on to the detriment of the quality of the product, but temporary workers are never allowed to make suggestions or offer input to diagnose problems. Working a a temp is like being a professional whipping boy/girl. A third of our factory are temps. It saves the company a boatload of cash daily. Low wages, no benefits, no liability. It is impossible to get the temporary agencies to pay out unemployment, because they will ALWAYS blame any lay-off of the worker on the worker himself. You then get the status of being “fired” because of the poor quality of your work. There is no way to win at this arrangement. You just pray you can kiss up to your immediate boss [sub leader] and hope you can bribe him/her by any means to want you to stay and serve them. You give them your life, soul and dignity, and most likely you will be rejected, because eventually there will be a faulty part that is discovered on your line, and it is never the fault of the permanent employee, the boss, the machine. It is ALWAYS the fault of the temp that is liked the least. Whenever a long-time temp is getting the ax, he or she is assigned to work in another building for a week and then in that week they are let go. No one is allowed to ask what happened to so-and-so. They just disappear like mist and your feel like a haulocaust survivor waiting for the day your number will be up and you head rolls…

    • lpvgv

      Glad you wrote this. Have worked for temp agencies but at a “higher” level than factory. Some companies use temp-to-perm route for many of their hires now. But your story is horrible. What can we do to counteract this?

      • Steve__T

         Temp to perm is a hook, to make you think you will get hired w/benefits and a 40hr, work week including a raise because you no longer have to split your check with the temp agency. It very rarely happens. If you do contract work they make you sign a no compete agreement, it means that even if after the contract has expired you can’t work for that company even if they want to hire you on as an employee. It can last for up to two years depending what state your in.

      • crhodes142

        I don’t have an answer, because in our area [Battle Creek], all the auto-related factories and industries have gone non-union. [Cereal factories are scaling down and reducing their workforce by 75%.] Business is booming in the auto-parts sector, but you can’t get in the door unless you go through a temp. agency. Co-workers with families sometimes go 8 years and are still not hired in permanently. A large portion of the workers are Burmese immigrants or minorities. The factory floor is truly a sweatshop in every way. There are no checks and balances. If a person wants to work in this economy, the only thing available are these jobs at non-union companies. [Even for college graduates like me who are in their '60's]. It gives a person an idea of what the future will be when the unions no longer have any power to negotiate fair working conditions for the blue-collar worker. I am truly thankful for State regulations that require some basic guidelines like no child workers, overtime for those who are lucky ? enough to work 7-day, 12 hour shifts, etc. The companies wouldn’t give the worker days off for health crises or appointments, accidents, nor funerals if they didn’t have to. As it is, a person will be fired if they take their rights to medical care after work-related accidents, etc. The company owns you and is always “right”. No one questions how they treat their employees. No one really cares.

  • http://sevenlies.net Karen L.

    As a long time retail worker off and on for the past 20 years, I can tell you that all of these problems for part-time workers are nothing new.  Abercrombie and Fitch employees petitioning to end on-call schedules?  I worked pretty much entire weeks on-call at The Limited in 1995.  There were some weeks I didn’t even work.  People working 10 hour weeks and not making squat?  I worked 8-9 hour work weeks at Brookstone in 2001.  When I asked for more hours, I was promised more, but they never came.  I worked one six-hour shift a week at Lane Bryant in 2000 because my sales were low.  The only way to get hours was to sell the most – and of course, the full-time employees would sell more than anyone else.  How can I get the same amount of sales in one six-hour shift as the other woman with five eight-hour shifts?  The problems for part-time employees have nothing to do with the economy – and everything to do with these companies trying to save money.
    And yes, if I even breathed the words “going back to school” or “second job”, either my hours were cut or I received a stern talking-to from the store manager, telling me that I wasn’t “giving the company my all”.  Large retail companies want utter and total devotion from their employees.  If they call you in, you better darn well show up – or else you’re not a “team player”.  Your life, your family, your children – nothing matters to them.  You are expendable.  If you get angry at how you’re being treated, so what?  They don’t care.  They have a pile of applications ready and waiting – all they have to do is pick up a phone and make a phone call and your replacement will be there the next morning.As for the retail employees that have to work on Thanksgiving…these companies spent major moolah (all that money they saved from not having to pay benefits to part-timers) to these research companies to give polls and surveys and such to consumers.  Consumers pretty much told these big box companies that they would be more than happy to how up and spend their money on Thanksgiving if they can save an extra $20 on that TV or Wii U or whatever they purchase.  It’s been proven time and time again that if a store is open, people will shop.  If you’re outraged that companies like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or any other big box company is open on Thanksgiving Day, then show your outrage by STAYING HOME.  Tell your friends and family to stay home.  If they don’t make money this year, they won’t open next year.  It’s as simple as that.  If you are one of those people who absolutely HAVE to save the money on that TV – hold off until Cyber Monday and shop from home.  I guarantee you’ll find a better deal there anyway.

    • 1Brett1

      It’s all so ridiculously sad, or is that sadly ridiculous? …Those kinds of companies do seem to want such devotion with no commitment or investment in the employee. It all seems so absurd when one thinks it is all so some schlub can get a pocket T or a pair of pants.  

    • Bruce_NC67

      much of what you  point out is true.
      Several years back I worked for a company that used a new scheduling system.  Some people where scheduled only 8 to 10 years some got up to 15 to 20. Basically no one received over 20 hrs (unless they were full time — which only management position were FT and the other FT were eliminated unless grandfathered)  — The system for that company did not assign names but position and deptartment.  Later with another company it schedule the person — this was determined by department/position and skill level.

  • Matt Hoostal

    Let the market decide and it’ll decide to squash the vulnerable. It was true when my grandfather acquired emphysema as an industrial blacksmith making next to nothing himself, while his employers lived in mansions. And, as this show demonstrated, its true today. Fight for unions; they are not perfect, but they bring progress to the middle class.

  • http://twitter.com/style64 Lisa Ann Schraffa

    This is a shame and a crisis of epic proportions. I was displaced from a high-tech career in 2001 and went to work part-time in retail, lucky for me my company is a very ethical, customer/employee focused retailer. But I see this happening industry wide and hear horror stories from people that you network with now that I have been in this industry for 11 years. Is union the answer? Not sure… 
    Employers have all the cards right now. There is an enormous amount of fear among those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs, to have full time jobs (40 hrs), to have a job with benefits, to have a job with a socially conscience company. However employers are in a position to exploit the fear of the worker. The problem has to be addressed. So many people are under employeed. 
    Thank you for this program, very interesting. 

  • lpvgv

    I am glad to see this discussion. There are many parts to it. Hope it continues.
    I live/work in a region of the country where there are many biotech companies. I am highly educated and have some experience “in the lab” in biotech but ended up doing too much of that temp work people h ave discussed. I have seen H1-B’s get permanent jobs before I do. I think they may get paid less. Then what happens is, that once a few people from a particular nationality get hired, that can become the nationality of preference in that lab/company.  I have heard engineers talk about this but not others. However, the biotech industry in this area has many foreign-born workers. These are not illegal immigrants. Many of them are interesting and hard-working people, but why do we have so many immigrants in these jobs? Why aren’t native-born Americans being hired?
    I was out of work for a couple of years and ended up getting a job in a related industry of sorts. I have been treated very poorly. I know what it is like to be out of work, but it is also difficult to be abused at work and not really be able to do much about it. One thing I notice is how many workers are immigrants. 50%? more? What’s going on here? (the abusive bosses are American-born and one abusive co-worker is not). It is hard to know what to do.
    Maybe capitalism as a model is on its way out. I have long felt that the best manifestation of capitalism is manifest in the plantation system. I’m not a socialist. Why can’t we invent something new? Was it here (at On Point) I heard someone discuss Republicanism (different from Republican!), something that has a concept of responsibility to the whole. Capitalism had this problem of trickle-up wealth long ago.

    • http://twitter.com/NSegar Nichelle Segar

      So when companies can’t offshore jobs, they import cheap labor. The government needs to do more to protect the American middle class. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    • hennorama

      In 2011, 24.4 million foreign-born people were in the U.S. Labor Force, and 22.2 million were employed.  Just under one-sixth (15.9%) of all US workers were born in another country.  Of these foreign-born workers, about half (49%) are Hispanic, about a quarter (22.3%) are Asian, with the remainder spread among a variety of ethnicities and nationalities.
      As to the occupations of foreign-born workers:
      28.6% were in Management, Professional, and related occupations
      24.6% were in Service occupations
      17.5% were in Sales and Office occupations
      15.8% were in Production, Transportation, and Material Moving occupations
      13.5% were in Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance occupations


  • Massman2

    No one is talking about the long term impact of this.
    This is all about GREED. CEO who get millions of dollars and bonuses to make profits, and meet Wall Street’s numbers.
    They will evenually have no companies since no one will be able to afford to buy there products. Down the road we will have
    a large population that has no retirement (401K) etc and we will see a lot of people living under our bridges.

    • StilllHere

      Please show any evidence that part-timers only work for companies with greedy CEOs.

      • Massman2

        I never said part-timers only work at greedy companies, read the post on Fedex seems to treat there part-timers well?
        Stick around for 30 more years and you will see the evidence you want mass poverty.
        But you sound more like one of those greedy CEO’s
        “show me the fact sheet”
        Try to think outside the box ir do you need you computer to tell you everything.

        • Steve__T

           Nah it don’t need nothing, just make it up as it goes along.

        • 1Brett1

          Why, yes, Massman2, defend the straw man that StillHere has built out of your comment so he/she can easily knock it down while sleeping or at least by a one word quip. It’s the only way you can defend yourself (in his/her mind). Make sure you spend hours researching his/her ridiculous claim that you said no company ever treated any part time employee well, ever, too, like he/she wants so you’ll be discouraged from even replying back. Or, if you do, he/she can then easily cite the one company that treated a part timer well, thus toppling not only yours but all other claims that any company treated an employee badly ever…thereby proving his/her point (well, actually, he/she doesn’t have a point, just wants to pretend he/she is a good debater).

        • StilllHere

          I’d prefer to know the truth.  
          Glad to hear that you don’t believe that part-time workers is a function of CEO pay because it doesn’t make sense.  Millions of small businesses use part-timers and often their CEOs are barely getting minimum wage. But that’s why they call it sweat equity.

    • Steve__T

       Hostess closes down putting thousands out of work. But it seems they did it to themselves, they gave 85% raises to the top just before trying to go bankrupt because of a nationwide strike(they got caught) and tried to do a reversal. Who gets an 85% raise, and tries to tell the workers they need to take a cut on wages and retirement? This is a link to Wall street Journal article.


      • 1Brett1

        Their executives also ran the company into the ground by never updating their products or engaging in modern marketing techniques; they essentially ran the company the same as when it was founded back in the 1930s. 

        Also, Hostess filed for bankruptcy back in 2004. They had also filed for bankruptcy back in January. They hired a new CEO recently, this after firing the previous one just after giving him a huge bonus. He was canned because he recommended they give in to some of the unions’ demands and work harder to innovate a little more to bring the company into the 21st century. 

        The new CEO was a “restructuring” veteran who was brought in specifically to help with the bankruptcy and to buck the unions. His task is basically to help them liquidate and sell off the company. It looks as though they had no intentions of negotiating anything but to sell the company’s branding/products. This isn’t the workers’ fault or even the unions’ fault. It’s the executives and owners’ faults.

        • Steve__T

           Just can’t get greedy enough, I am so tired of the greed of the rich. And then they have the nerve, to tell me to work harder to get what I want, while they steal everything I make.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1674408616 Steven Williamson

          this is what Bain capital did. It is what Mitt Romney did when he was there. This whole Hostess thing is a perfect example of how this happens. the onloy thing the venture capitalists didn’t do in the case of Hostess was send the baking job over seas. (But I’ll bet the thought about it)

  • Massman2

    These practices should be against the law.
    The Temp Co. makes more money then the worker and should be forced by law to give some kind of benefits,
    medical, insurance etc.
    If we don’t find a way to stop this, it will be the downfall
    of our society. The rich can’t see though there greed what kind of a life they are creating for there children and generations to come.
    Before there is nothing left but slavery & poverty in the streets. Then what disease, killings, mass graves.
    Future sure looks ugly.

  • BoboGo

    I am eager to support “ethical” employers and encourage them to hire more employees away from “abusive” ones.  If I had the time and skills, I would make an app for that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Animestar Jennifer Duran

    This is an extremely on point topic for me. I graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree and after 6 months of looking and applying to every sort of job possible, all I could get managed to be hired at was a part time job at a movie theater. I barely make ends meet with this, I owe money to family and friends and soon the government is going to be knocking on my door for student loans. I picked up a second job at a retail business, but they aren’t working with the hours of my other job, so I’m going to have to quit. Did I mention I’m only getting minimum wage; $7.25/hr?

    • Bruce_NC67


      I can
      relate — I went back to school because retail was headed downhill — I am a few
      classes away from completing my degree – I am afraid I will not be able to find
      work because of  I do not have experience
      in my new degree plus I am over 40.

    • rkm0

      What was your degree in?

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  • traffigal

    I have a bachelor’s degree and was laid off in 2009 from a broadcast job which was my profession. I am now re-training for a whole new career at 50.My only job is a Government job which is part time with no benefits. I am living hand-to-mouth. I’ve applied and applied and can’t seem to get a full-time job! I am thankful to have some type of job but I am just at my wits end.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5903437 Evvie Maeve

    Thank you for talking about this!!!  I graduated with a BA, cum laude, from a seven sisters college in 2009.  I have been working as an involuntary part timer in retail ever since.  It’s been the only paid work I can get.  I just quit my 2nd job at Anthropologie because they outright lied to me when I was hired.  When I asked directly about their scheduling practices, they said they used on-calls as tack-ons to definite shifts and that I’d be getting 10-15 hours per week to start, going up from there.  They actually scheduled me for 4-10 hours per week, and gave me almost all on-calls, none of which I got.  I spent half my paycheck on transportation and coffee, so I quit to give myself more time to look for other work.  These corporate practices are criminal.  How is it legal to flat out lie about your job descriptions, then leave your workers on the hook without following through?  This happens to so many people, and they bank on us being too poor to fight back!  Also, Anthro, like many other clothing chains, relies on its workforce as part of its client base.  They push a really hard sell with their employees, and there are girls who work there who spend most, if not all, of their paychecks back in the store.  When I worked at Victoria’s Secret a few years ago, I saw co-workers buy things to meet our hourly goals, so our shifts would not get cut the next payroll.  Scheduling in these chain stores is seriously, seriously corrupt, and more people need to be vocal about it!  Of course we’re all scared.  If I was still working at either store, and any of my managers found out I’d written this, I could be fired, or just not scheduled.  They don’t even have to say they’re firing you to cut all your hours.  If you really need your job, you have nothing to bargain with.

    • rkm0

      What was your degree in?

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  • nandibee

    The difference between part and full-time is not so much hours worked, as benefits.  So people are either over-worked or under-employed.  I have always thought that if all employers were required (by strictly enforced new labor laws )to pay employees only $ per hour, no benefits – a lot of stuff would be sorted out.  So, for salaried people with benefits, you calculate the $ value of the benefits and hours worked and translate that to dollars per hour (no more paid days off).  For some highly skilled people it might translate to several hundred dollars per hour.  But now those (and all) people are responsible for their own health insurance and for budgeting for those days they are not at work for any reason.   Workers could still organize and unionize, but they could not negotiate for valuable benefits that don’t show up on their paycheck.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.hennings.1 Ryan Hennings

    More of this to come when ObamaCare is implemented.  Some employers will cut full timers to part time and hire more part time employees so that the employer will not be FORCED to provide healthcare if they have more than 50 full time employees.  You guys asked for it, now live with the consequences.

    • TheDailyBuzzherd

      Perhaps for the corporates, but not for the small independents. For those who employ 25 or less persons, health care exchanges will offer more affordable options. Once on board, those owners will also get tax credits or qualify for Medicaid instead of buying individual policies.

  • BDSpin

    Will you please offer an option for listening besides Sound Cloud?  How about the simple download you used to have?  Half the time, Sound Cloud isn’t activated…I just get a blank space where I should be able to access. New methods often aren’t helpful for people whose computer is a couple of years old.

  • Rubyheart

    Thanks to Tom and his team for another great show. This is a very important issue which is finally gaining media attention. I am afraid it is even more widespread than people realize. Most reports cover large companies and retailers. But using part time and independent contractors is also a big problem in the nonprofit world.

    I would also say, as did another commenter, that the larger problem for part-time workers is not so much the lack of hours logged but the lack of benefits. Even if you are able to string together 30-40 hrs a week in multiple part-time jobs you probably won’t get health insurance, sick days, or a single paid vacation day.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/V2Y6IYKS7KMSOMYZFFQVH4D6KI SarahF

    I would love to see a story that addresses the negative impact  of part time work outside of retail.

    I have a master’s degree in Library and Information Science and my mother is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. In both of our professions part time work is increasing, despite the fact that we have advanced and expensive degrees.

    Academia is being imperiled by administrators who think appearances are more important than education. The numbers of administrators is ballooning and the instructors and librarians who actually teach students are all part time and getting paid what instructors made 40 years ago, except now they don’t get benefits. Some kind of legal action is necessary since employers refuse to pay the same hourly rates to part time workers filling hard to fill shifts as they pay to full time workers working banker’s hours.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 19, 2014
Lara Russo, left, Cally Guasti, center, and Reese Werkhoven sit on a couch in their apartment in New Paltz, N.Y. on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  While their roommate story of $40,800 found in a couch made the news, other, weirder stories of unusual roommates are far more common. (AP)

From college dorms and summer camps to RVs and retirement hotels, what it’s like to share a room. True stories of roommates.

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Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

“War zones” in America. Local police departments with military grade equipment – how much is too much, and what it would take to de-militarize America’s police force.

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On Pinterest, Thomas the Tank Engine and surprising population trends from around the country. Also, words on why we respond to your words, tweets and Facebook posts.

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Nickel Creek Plays Three Songs LIVE For On Point
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014

Nickel Creek shares three live (well, mostly) tracks from their interview with On Point Radio.

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