At least in the United States of America people have rights. For those at the lower end of the equity scale, however, the sole purpose of allegedly having rights is so you can feel bad when they are taken away.
Be born. Grow up. Get a job. It’s the American way. And what do you expect in return, besides being subservient to a douchebag, I mean? You expect to be paid. Minimum wage, yo.
We all know the elitists at the top of the equity teeter totter hate minimum wage. People like Michele Bachmann wanted to be a lap dog for these folks. She famously said, “If we took away minimum wage – if conceivably it was gone – we could potentially wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
Yeah, if only we could get that minimum wage down life would be better for us all. At $1/hour there would be virtually no unemployment. Hell, at a penny an hour every American could have 10 or more jobs and still not enough money to buy enough food to survive.
My conservative friends have gone to great pains to convince me that a job is a supreme example of the legendary and so-call free market win-win. It’s a “win-win” because both parties voluntarily agree to it and it’s a miraculous micro-transaction of the free market that gives them such a super-sized boner.
I always wondered, though, how voluntary is it when your only other viable choice is to go eat rocks and dirt? Seem like that kind of reality tips the teeter-totter power balance just a wee bit more.
And how “win-win” is it after that voluntary agreement on employment terms has been reached? In the very next nanosecond the boss uses the small amount of power gained to fuck with the employee in just about every way imaginable. They say power corrupts? I say employers like McDonalds and Walgreens are the supreme example of this concept because with just a wee iota of power they somehow are able to come up with giant abuses of power.
From my personal history I reach into the file and find this: As a 16-year-old pimple face working at McDonalds, our manager would make us clock out at the end of our shift then keep working so he wouldn’t have to pay overtime. (Or pay for it at all.) The message was simple: Complain and you’re fired. I can pee on your face. I alone am best.
So you took the job. Fool. But what then? At least you still get a paycheck, after all of the bullshit and pain and suffering and diminishment of your basic human dignities and rights. Small as it is.
But wait. There’s more. Now employers like McDonalds and Walgreens have reportedly found a new way to fuck you even more. The Payroll ATM Card.
What will they think of next?
The Chicago Tribune reported recently that employers like McDonalds and Walgreens are being investigated for their use of “ATM-style” cards used to pay employees. You know, instead of paycheck. The cards reportedly include fees for things like balance inquiries (50 cents) and $2.25 for use at a non-network ATM. There are also fees for lost or stolen cards and reportedly, get this: An “inactivity” fee. One employee said that when they asked about another method of being paid, they were told that the payroll card was “the only option.” (Source: Change.org email.)
Now we see that the “fee market” is the inherent result of the free market system.
How does this all work out? When fees are calculated into the equation, actual wages can now theoretically dip below minimum wage. Bachmann would be so proud.
Times are tough. Places like McDonald and Walgreens are seemingly out to make them just a wee bit tougher. I guess now we need a law that says employees have the right to be paid with actual money. Not Mayor McCheese’s debit card.
I forgot to source a story for this piece. This isn’t where I originally heard about the issue, but here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune about the investigation into the two companies by the New York attorney general.
Chicago Tribune: McDonald’s, Walgreens payroll ATM cards investigated
It is the policy of the Abyss to correct factual errors in reporting. This post originally misidentified the second company as Walmart. I sincerely regret this error. (It wouldn’t surprise me if Walmart decides to get in on this action, though. -Ed.)