So, I’ve already commented on the fact that a union decided that a 100% pay cut was better than an 8% pay cut.
I don’t get it, but hey, maybe the principle behind the whole thing mattered.
Then I hear of the story of Walmart workers who are mad at the prospect of making more money:
Along with Target and Sears, Wal-Mart has plans to open retail stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Employees said they weren’t given a choice as to whether they would work on Thanksgiving and were told to do so with little warning. “They don’t care about family,” said Charlene Fletcher, a Wal-Mart associate in Duarte, Calif. She said she is expected to report for work at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The workers said that when they complain about scheduling and other problems, management cuts their hours or fires people.
I make a decent living. In fact, I suspect I’m in the top 10% of Americans in terms of salary. I enjoy the benefits of this condition. However, there are sacrifices I have to make:
- When I got married, my wife and I stayed at a beach house. I brought my laptop and was working everyday during my honeymoon.
- No matter where I go or what time it is, I have my cell phone and am available night and day. I often get called.
- Never, EVER, in my career have I let my management ever get the slightest inclination that I was a guy who would turn down work or responsibility.
- I remember a time when I worked 47 days straight, right through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Every. Single. Day.
- If all goes well, I’m on a plane right now to Puerto Rico for a weeks vacation with family over the Thanksgiving holiday. My laptop is in my luggage; I’ll work every day.
I don’t get it. I don’t get the concept that says that hard work doesn’t pay off. That sacrifice doesn’t lead to rewards. I don’t understand how people who want money are resistant to working to earn more money.
Or at least I didn’t understand.
I saw a Facebook post recently regarding the strike at Hostess and the totally shocking result of the closing of the business. One of the comments went something like this:
If they strike and get released, at least they’ll get 100 weeks of unemployment.
I added that they would also now get free healthcare.
And that reminded me of this:
More and more these people don’t need jobs. If they lose their job they’ll get unemployment for nearly 2 years. Plenty of time to work something out. Further, with the election of Obama, they are sure to get free healthcare as well.
Literally, what is it that would incent these people to work? If they lose their jobs, what really is the downside? How much would they net lose?
What kind of perverse incentives are we building into our society?