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dVerse — Haibun — American Worker

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American Worker

The labor market for the unskilled and for those who don’t have a piece of paper to open doors to full-time living wages is something I’m still getting used to observing. OK, let me take a step back and say, even if you are a skilled worker with a piece of paper, there are no guarantees you will be hired into a position that offers a full-time living wage.

What I see available are part-time jobs with a decent wage or working a full-time job with a wage that’s half or less of a living wage. Forget about paid holidays or accrued vacation time. If there is any insurance coverage, the cost is prohibitive and may or may not be available for family members. Other types of workers are “gig workers” who driver Uber, Lyft, do food delivery, or host home parties for goods and earn commission. Any of these pay very little money.

The numbers of “masses marginal” are growing. A recent premium channel produced a show comparing American workers to Chinese workers and concluded American workers have a bad attitude. “Help Wanted” signs go ignored at joints paying $7.25 per hour.


Autumn approaches
quality of life degrades
as unions bleed out.

Frank T is the host of dVerse today.  Frank says:
Let’s celebrate Labor by writing a haibun that alludes to workers, Labor Day, the former and current struggles of Workers, or anything else labor related.

20 thoughts on “dVerse — Haibun — American Worker

  1. One of my friends moonlights for Shipt and she makes $4-$7 per trip and says she rarely gets a tip. That’s barely breaking even. There’s a lot of exploitation going on 😦

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  2. It’s a desperate situation, Jade, that’s been around throughout history. Those with take advantage of and exploit those without. We have something called a zero-hour contract in the UK, where the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours, while the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered. It means that the workers’ rights are regularly disregarded and very often there is no work at all, no minimum or full-time loving wage, and no paid or accrued holidays.As a retired teacher working as a volunteer in two schools, I am not paid, but I am aware of the low pay of teaching assistants and other support staff in schools, as well as in other professions.

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  3. Kim it sounds bad with the zero-hour! They went after our teachers unions first because they were the strongest. Most of the unions now are government workers, and for many years the unions served the workers well. Now though, the spines of the unions are gone. What I have seen at both my old job and where my son works (in a hospital) is union climbs into cahoots with management and/or someone chooses a complete incompetent to be chief steward. Where I worked the clerical and other entry level jobs did not pay a living wage, but the workers take it because most of them have husbands making good money. But when all of the people who are making good money retire…

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  4. The situation for the unskilled laborerer is just getting worse and worse. To find jobs for everyone when most qualified jobs requires a college degree they can’t afford there is basically no future…
    We have to invent jobs, and I’m afraid no union can save them…

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  5. Along with food, clothing, and shelter, a living wage is a basic human right in my opinion. If these things were accepted as essential by all there wouldn’t be any need for a union. That’s a big if. Automation is taking away so many jobs. I say put people to work growing healthy food and retire monoculture mega-farms and factory farms.

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