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16.4.07 1955
The 7 - Current Events & Politics - Unions
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Whitebacon
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#21 Posted on 21.9.05 0107.30
Reposted on: 21.9.12 0109.00
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
    Yes, because the person manning the one hour photo booth for four hours needs a lunch break much like the 12 year old who worked 14 hours in a coal mine 100 years ago.

    Its not an anecdote that people around St Louis are making a mint if they are in any union. Its beyond rediculous how much people make for what amounts in many cases, unskilled labor.



    (edited by StaggerLee on 20.9.05 1044)


California state law (which is where this takes place at) requires that workers to work a six hour shift get an unpaid half hour lunch break.
Dahak
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#22 Posted on 21.9.05 0819.04
Reposted on: 21.9.12 0820.17
In response to Wal-Mart and all of it's infractions. If I worked at Wallyworld and they told me to work off the clock I would basicly tell them off. Then I would report that particular manager to the store manager. If the store manager did nothing or punished me (firing or fewer shifts) I would contact the state workers bureau.
Wal-Mart and other low paying jobs break the rules a lot. The managers are under a lot of pressure to meet their quotas for labor, sales, and costs. The managers are (a lot of the time) undertrained and underpaid. Because these types of job are not usually careers.
Would Unions help? Almost certainly. So if employees want to form a union they can try as long as they understand the risks they are taking. Striking for reasons that don't always effect you. Supporting political issues that have little to do with your job. A tenure systems that keeps terrible employees around forever.
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#23 Posted on 21.9.05 0932.04
Reposted on: 21.9.12 0932.51
    Originally posted by Dahak
    In response to Wal-Mart and all of it's infractions. If I worked at Wallyworld and they told me to work off the clock I would basicly tell them off. Then I would report that particular manager to the store manager. If the store manager did nothing or punished me (firing or fewer shifts) I would contact the state workers bureau.
    Wal-Mart and other low paying jobs break the rules a lot. The managers are under a lot of pressure to meet their quotas for labor, sales, and costs. The managers are (a lot of the time) undertrained and underpaid. Because these types of job are not usually careers.
    Would Unions help? Almost certainly. So if employees want to form a union they can try as long as they understand the risks they are taking. Striking for reasons that don't always effect you. Supporting political issues that have little to do with your job. A tenure systems that keeps terrible employees around forever.



Add to that being fired or forced to quit for daring to demand to be treated fairly and with respect.
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#24 Posted on 21.9.05 1238.10
Reposted on: 21.9.12 1238.59
    Originally posted by DrDirt
      Originally posted by Dahak
      Would Unions help? Almost certainly. So if employees want to form a union they can try as long as they understand the risks they are taking. Striking for reasons that don't always effect you. Supporting political issues that have little to do with your job. A tenure systems that keeps terrible employees around forever.



    Add to that being fired or forced to quit for daring to demand to be treated fairly and with respect.


I think, Doc, you misunderstood him. The Unions have the problems he listed. Your "add" would be a reason TO have a Union. And I agree, that is a valid reason for workers to collectively bargain. The question is whether it is worth it.

But, time for a funny story. And it goes with the line, "A tenure systems that keeps terrible employees around forever"

We have a fitter (no longer in my organization, but still with the company) who has about 35 years experience.
Fitters, for those who don't know, are industrial plumblers, primarily for air in our business and sometimes for chemically treated liquids. Their main job is to pipe our equipment into existing system stuff.

So this fitter, let's call him Ralph (and that is not his name) is Mr. Union. Sticker on his company truck, bug on his hat, Pipefitter's Union shop Steward last time I worked with him. Ralph is not a good fitter. He did about 650Ft of copper tubing for me as an air line. Every 100Ft or so you're supposed to put in a check valve and a filter. Missed all but one of those. He kinked the copper twice. Two of his fittings leaked and had to be refitted.

Next job, I asked for him to not be the guy I was assigned and found out not of the other PMs wanted him either, so I got his apprentice and him on the jobsite again. The apprentice was better, but a lot of stuff was screwed up again. I was walking the job and came up on him sweating pipe with no gloves and no mask! I wrote him up (and my job) for an OSHA violation. So the Union paid his fine and moved him to another part of our same company. I heard that he's just as much in demand there as he was here.

But I bet he stays on the job 5 or 6 more years (I think he's like 60) until he has to go.

For many things, I am pro union. But here's a place I am not.
DrDirt
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#25 Posted on 21.9.05 1300.55
Reposted on: 21.9.12 1300.55
AWA, I agree with Dahak's post. My wife was in a union in Ohio and it was a joke. The problem is that as the unions grow their leadership becomes what they are spposed to be protecting their members from and stiffs find a way to work the system.

Personally, I wish we didn't need unions but it's like wishing we didn't need a military. It's a nice thought but impossible in the real world.

What we tend to forget is that originally most things we have grown to have a distaste for had a purpose originally. Contrary to what many pundits say, things don't just happen.
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#26 Posted on 21.9.05 1337.49
Reposted on: 21.9.12 1338.42
Do you all think that an ombudsman position in the union and company management would help call "Bullshit!" on stuff like what AWA describes?
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#27 Posted on 21.9.05 1520.07
Reposted on: 21.9.12 1520.18
    Originally posted by Zeruel
    Do you all think that an ombudsman position in the union and company management would help call "Bullshit!" on stuff like what AWA describes?[/quote


    Not unless the person actually had the authority to force the union leadership or management to get it right. The trouble workers have today is that management doesn't care and neither does much of the union leadership.
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#28 Posted on 21.9.05 1544.47
Reposted on: 21.9.12 1546.31
    Originally posted by drjayphd
      Originally posted by StaggerLee
      Yes, because the person manning the one hour photo booth for four hours needs a lunch break much like the 12 year old who worked 14 hours in a coal mine 100 years ago.


    It's not what's needed. It's what's required. And, as I understand it, you work eight hours, you get half an hour off for lunch.

    DrDirt: Is this (lieffcabraser.com) what you were referring to?

      Originally posted by the lawsuit
      Managers subsequently under-staff projects and Wal-Mart stores in general. These efforts force employees to work off-the-clock and through lunch and rest breaks. Managers pressure employees to complete assignments, while refusing to permit employees to stay on-the-clock for the full amount of time it takes to accomplish their duties.


    (Hrm, pressure to complete assignments while not allowing employees to stay on the clock the whole time? Sounds familiar...)


I'm just going to jump in here because I deal first hand with this kind of thing all the time. While we don't have the number of problems that a company like Walmart does, me and a friend own a few restaurants, employing mainly people age 16-24. Putting pressure on them to complete tasks is MANDATORY for us, because people now a days just don't want to work. In the ten years we've been doing it, we've gone from 80% of the staff willing to come in and put out an effort, to 60%, to 40%, to the point where we're happy if we can have one responsible person on at a time. Despite that minimum wage has gone up 50% in that time, people are finding it easier to say "fuck this, I'm not doing this for minimum wage" and look for a job where they stand in place and ring in people who filled up their tank of gas. They can't figure out how other people got raises and are making (sometimes) twice as much as them because the concept of "honest work" has become an absolutely foreign idea to many people.

I'm getting side-tracked though. The problem is that if goals aren't given, even if they don't get done, you end up with unproductive staff. One guy gets away with standing around, and the good workers get pissed while the marginal ones say "Hey, why should I work if he's not?" Now, I can't speak firsthand about whether or not managers at Walmart understaff or not, but keep in mind that you are only hearing from the disgruntled workers who didn't get the job done, and it's very likely that they didn't because they simply lacked any motivation. I can't remember too many times that I've been to Walmart and said "Wow, there goes a worker trying to impress his boss" and I'm at the point now where I can't walk into a business without instantly judging staff and store cleanliness. You wouldn't believe how many people can turn a 5 minute job into a 30 minute one. Maybe the job only needed one person to do it, but if the kid is half-assing it and the work doesn't get done, he's got two options. Either he admits to himself that he was half-assing it and should put out more of an effort, or else he just blames the boss for not getting someone else to do it for him. Guess which one is easier for people to pick? The only advantage I have over other people in my position is that I bought into the restaurants after 3 years of working fulltime, and 5 years of managing, so I've done it all and been on all sides of the spectrum. I know exactly how many people prefer to screw around (thereby screwing the good workers over) and I know exactly how many of them actually take responsibility for jobs not getting done (10%). A lot of people are lazy, and need to be pushed. If you expect 100% from someone you might only get 70%, but it's better than expecting 70% and only getting 40%. Of course, it's something that can and I'm sure is abused in all sorts of places, but I don't want anyone to just read about the employees one side and not know that the option does exist that maybe unmotivated people work at Walmart and didn't like people trying to force motivation on them.

As far as the breaks go, a lot of places also have meal break exemptions. We do. Any gas station or any other job where staff might be on their own for any length of time have them. That's the labour board's way of protecting the employer from staff who wait until they're by themselves and them lock the business up to take their break. The policy in Manitoba says that staff are paid for their entire shift with no unpaid breaks given, and that staff are to take their breaks during any slow period at their discretion. We explain to staff that if the work is done and there's no customers to take care of, go right ahead. They can take one break, or twenty, or none, depending on how many slow periods they have. Again, if they stand around moaning about how much they'd rather by playing Half-Life 2 or something instead of just getting it done things pile up and they fall behind. Whereas the people that work for 45 minutes an hour have the time to make themselves something to eat, grab a free drink, hang out and chat with other staff, whatever.


Tribal Prophet

(edited by Tribal Prophet on 21.9.05 1351)
AWArulz
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#29 Posted on 22.9.05 0523.30
Reposted on: 22.9.12 0524.08
whoa, Prophet!

Yeah, I know what you're talking about. I think stopping employees (especially young ones) from"half-assing" it is the biggest problem for all employers who employ large numbers of that young employee group.

Not so much of a union problem (these employees just want to pay their cell phone bills and car payments and have enough to party a little), but a heck of alabor issue.

Zeruel -

There is supposed to be such an omnibudsman - but in reality he or she often becomes controlled by the Union.

(edited by AWArulz on 22.9.05 0624)
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#30 Posted on 22.9.05 1145.01
Reposted on: 22.9.12 1147.20
Ok, here's the issue with Wal-Mart: There is absolutely no incentive to work harder. Everyone makes minimum wage (you can make more at Taco Bell), raises suck if people get them at all, they switch you to different departments on a whim, so there's no incentive to learn any department well, everyone works part time so there's no inventive to become devoted to your job. I don't even think they give discounts to workers (although I might be wrong about that).

Wal-Mart is the place you go to work because there's nothing else. They give workers the bare minimum required by law, so why should the workers give them more than the bare minimum? To a certain extent, workers have been trained not to care by the endless minimum wage, brain dead jobs they've been forced to endure since high school (well, and by high school itself). Workers know they are expendable, so they know not to become attached to any job.

Loyalty to a job was something my grandparents had, because unions instilled that sense of loyalty, and my grandparents knew that job was theirs. Now, bottom line economics means a worker can be let go if stock aren't doing well enough, or if the job needs to be shipped overseas. Why should any worker care about their job when the job doesn't care about them?
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#31 Posted on 22.9.05 1239.02
Reposted on: 22.9.12 1239.08
    Originally posted by messenoir
    Ok, here's the issue with Wal-Mart: There is absolutely no incentive to work harder. Everyone makes minimum wage (you can make more at Taco Bell), raises suck if people get them at all, they switch you to different departments on a whim, so there's no incentive to learn any department well, everyone works part time so there's no inventive to become devoted to your job. I don't even think they give discounts to workers (although I might be wrong about that).


Knowing people that work at Wal-Mart and have worked at Wal-Mart in the past, I can say that everything you said here is an exaggeration (not to say it doesn't ever occur, but it's not been the norm). The raises do suck, but people work full-time for a salary above minimum wage and there is not arbitrary shifting of positions every few weeks. And yes, there are discounts. Again, I have no doubt that this occurs sometimes at Wal-Mart, but this simply doesn't hold up as a blanket description.


    They give workers the bare minimum required by law, so why should the workers give them more than the bare minimum?


I'd like to think that workers should do their job to the best of their ability because that's what they agree to do in exchange for drawing a salary from the company tat employs them. I know that the wage isn't much in terms of raw dollars, but the fact that they work there tells me that it's unlikely that there are any other employers willing to pay them a more competitive salary.
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#32 Posted on 22.9.05 1240.41
Reposted on: 22.9.12 1241.59
messenoir...wow...that's bleak...and not entirely true.

My mother-in-law got a job at the new Wal-Mart in town, yes because it happened to be the only thing available. However, she didn't start at minimum wage...did get a decent raise, and because she works hard was given control of a department. All within 3 months of starting there.
Plus she has benefits for the first time in years.

That's anecdotal and doesn't speak for all Wal-Mart employee experiences, but it does prove that they are not ALL bad.

As for unions. I've been at my job (non-union) for ten + years. I work very hard and have been rewarded for it. Thus I have loyalty to my job & company, because they've shown faith in me and recognized my efforts.

I don't think that you (not you in particular...you meaning everyone) can categorize all unions as "bad", nor can it be said that all non-union employees won't have any security or loyalty from their companies.
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#33 Posted on 22.9.05 1305.40
Reposted on: 22.9.12 1306.28
This really is an interesting thread and I hope it continues but one thing sticks out to me, a question really. Wouldn't you think that it is in the long-term best interests for employers to reward hard work, treat employees fairly , etc.? Over time shouldn't it increase profits and decrease turnover? I know I may be sounding a bit simplistic but really, shouldn't enlightened self-interest win the day for both sides if they stopped and thought about it. AFter all, a real union boss would work to eliminate the deadwood not protect it.

(edited by DrDirt on 22.9.05 1306)
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#34 Posted on 22.9.05 1457.37
Reposted on: 22.9.12 1457.41
    Originally posted by messenoir
    Why should any worker care about their job when the job doesn't care about them?


Let's see. Because a person has pride in themself? I have worked at some absolute crap jobs, my friend. After my time in the army and in the PD, I had two choices for work: Random walmart-esq jobs and being a copper. So I decided to work the crap jobs, wait for my wife to get to residency, then go to school myself.

So I worked in a warehouse, a theatre and (against my better judgement) as a security guard.

I tell you, there was no incentive at Follett's bookstore to move the books any faster or better. I had no bennies, min wage, a 10% (whohoo!) discount and no overtime. But, by God, I was the best warehouse helper they ever had. Three months into the job, I knew the whole stock, how to do returns, how to set up a buyback, how to do our overstock sales. Because I was going to advance? No. It was a dead end job that I was doing for a couple years, tops. It was MY job, dammit, and I have pride. I may end up life as a pissboy, but I will be there with the bucket and a smile and in a hurry.

My job at the theatre was similarly agonizing (but paid 75 cents an hour more than Follett's, so I went). I made popcorn and flipped burgers and other food. I walked around and made sure there were no fights in progress (Drive in). I closed up and delivered the money to the manager. I was the best little bigger flipper you could imagine.

A person (I want to say "a man", but don't want the PC police to kick my butt) has pride, so that should be in a job well done.

The problem is crappy employers so much as it is crappy employees. Admittedly, there are crappy employers, but I have trouble believing that Wal-Mart is universally one. I have a couple friends who work at one (mother and a slightly slow adult son that go to our church), and they always speak positively of it. There are crappy supervisors, but having been one of those (and in all liklihood, crappy), I can tell you there are more crappy employees who want to be productive 20% of the time.

my 2Cents
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#35 Posted on 22.9.05 1637.03
Reposted on: 22.9.12 1637.16
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    This really is an interesting thread and I hope it continues but one thing sticks out to me, a question really. Wouldn't you think that it is in the long-term best interests for employers to reward hard work, treat employees fairly , etc.? Over time shouldn't it increase profits and decrease turnover? I know I may be sounding a bit simplistic but really, shouldn't enlightened self-interest win the day for both sides if they stopped and thought about it.



What you said is incredibly simplistic, but it's also absolutely dead on accurate. Even a small raise (and a few over a few months at even a "bad" job like Walmart can add up) can help put people in better moods and help them feel like their added effort is appreciated.

Staff training is incredibly expensive for us because we have to add a person on that wouldn't be getting a wage in the first place, plus put an additional person on to do the training. Staff turnover in any job is a huge profit killer if it's left to go on for a while.

I also agree with what AWArulz says about "pride in themselves". I've always said that no matter how bad your starting job is, if you keep working hard and don't settle that "this is the best it's going to get for me I guess" you can always move up. Most of what people consider lower-end jobs from garbage men to walmart cashiers and other types always prefer to advance from within. Office type jobs need degrees to have the intellectual background to know what's going on, but service jobs need hardworking people who have a good head on their shoulders. If your job is easy, ask someone if there's something else you can do that would set you aside. Make yourself stand-out so that if something opens up they consider "Jim's been helping out a lot with the paperwork, ask him if he wants to help us out a bit more". Killing time inbetween paychecks is exactly the type of motivation they expect, and so of course you'll get looked over.

I absolutely believe that any boss in the service industry that knows what he's doing knows that he can't do it without good staff helping out. If you walk into a Blockbuster that's run poorly, it's probably because the manager didn't appreciate any good staff they got, and so those staff left to go work at the Blockbuster down the street where their respect for their job has gotten them respect back, and it shows in the store.

Unfortunately, "My boss's an asshole" is a cooler story to tell your buddies when they ask about your job. Me and a few of the people that have worked for me always joke about the people that come in and believe that every boss is evil no matter how much everyone bends over backwards to be nice to them. We always talk about that Simpson's episode where Homer goes back to college and is convinced that the Dean is an asshole because he grew up watching tv that told him nothing else was possible.


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#36 Posted on 22.9.05 1946.54
Reposted on: 22.9.12 1946.54
I second the 'workers don't give a shit anymore' sentiment. A few months ago a new grocery store opened up in my area and I applied. I've got over six years worth of experience working grocery and they seemed thrilled to have me.

I go in my first day and everyone there was useless at best. One of the full-timers had some kind of advanced degree but he wasted it by getting stoned/high almost all the time and admitted to me he stole from the last three jobs he was fired from (including over $3000 in cigarettes when he was a vendor.) The part-timers would do in four hours what I was used to doing in one, and the manager of the department was the ex-manager of another grocery down the street. A department my old store used to laugh at because it was filthy, never stocked, and regularly had spoiled food on display.

My second day there I had to work nine and a half hours on an eight hour shift because nobody bothered to help me with the incoming stock. The 'gold star' employees (employees from other stores brought up to help open the store) were all outside smoking. Multiple times half the department, manager included, would go for a 20+ minute smoke break at the same time. Asking for 40% from these guys was obviously too much.

At the end of my second week, after working 11 straight days, I came in after my first day off and the store manager was waiting for me at the time clock. He takes me into his office and says they have to let me go. His explanation ended up being something like this:

"We hired you at too high of a pay rate, we haven't done enough business to afford you permanently, the manager is concerned about how you're showing her up and we're willing to take the drop in worker quality to pay them $4-5 less an hour."

Well, not exactly that, but that was the general tone of the talk. He said multiple times that if he could, he'd keep me and hire 50 more of me to staff the store, but he was told by corporate to get rid of anyone making more than $X an hour.

I actually applied to a Wal-Mart that was opening this month - half of their application asks you about how OK it is to do drugs while you're working. Seriously, they hire anyone who doesn't shoot heroin on the sales floor.

I would have worked there, but they offered me only slightly above minimum wage. I laughed right in the interviewer's face (this was in a hotel lobby, multiple people were interviewing simultaneously. One thing I overheard: "Well, that felony doesn't immediately disqualify you.") and I gave him a counter-offer. When he said they couldn't pay me that much, I grabbed my application from him, tore it up, said the interview was over and walked out. Now I'm at a teacher supply/toy store and I couldn't be happier. Small store, hard-working staff, nice managers. The pay may not be the most I've ever earned, but it's also much less intense and stressful and it's a nice break considering my classes this year.
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#37 Posted on 23.9.05 0855.39
Reposted on: 23.9.12 0856.32
Sounds like the moral of the above story is that you get what you pay for. While it's nice that some people are willing to work for "pride", pride doesn't put any food on the table, nor does it buy you any time to be with your family. For many people, I don't think "pride" alone is enough incentive to bust your hump. And I'm not sure it is reasonable to expect it to be.
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#38 Posted on 23.9.05 0921.26
Reposted on: 23.9.12 0921.28
Of course

    Originally posted by Dr. Dirt
    it is in the long-term best interests for employers to reward hard work, treat employees fairly , etc.?


this is true. But the question for employers, and to a great extent, employees, is whether it is worth it to have that sort of pride. I think ges7184 has it right on track with younger employees when he said that
    Originally posted by ges7184

    For many people, I don't think "pride" alone is enough incentive to bust your hump. And I'm not sure it is reasonable to expect it to be.


That attitude goes both ways. I had a couple jobs in highschool. I worked, most notably, corn detassling for three summers and made some serious coin. There was six weeks of work. About two weeks enough for everyone that showed up. Pay was good for a kid in the 70s. (I think we got 4 or 5 bucks an hour - like double Min wage or more - and lots of overtime). But if you wanted to work the last four weeks, you better be a pusher and a hard worker. If you want to make the last two, you had better be a champ. I made all six weeks all three years.

But now, they hire all the kids, just like always, pay everyone less. (Min Wage) and keep everyone til all the work is done. Why? They are slackers, dude.

What's the incentive for Pioneer to reward hard work? There's lots, but mostly, if they can reduce their work force as the season progresses, they can rent less buses, expend less gas and be more flexible with rainstorms and the like.

Only they can't. Becuase they can't get enough hard workers to do that.

But it's out there. Bust your hump and occasionally, you make it. The story of the guy or girl who started out in the mailroom is still part of the American Dream.

But I agree with Tribal Prophet. For too many workers, the American Dream (or how about the North American Dream) is slacking.
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#39 Posted on 23.9.05 0922.51
Reposted on: 23.9.12 0923.07
    Originally posted by ges7184
    Sounds like the moral of the above story is that you get what you pay for. While it's nice that some people are willing to work for "pride", pride doesn't put any food on the table, nor does it buy you any time to be with your family. For many people, I don't think "pride" alone is enough incentive to bust your hump. And I'm not sure it is reasonable to expect it to be.


True...but the companion moral to that might be as follows:

If you don't show any pride in your work it follows that you probably won't get recognition/raises either.

The two go somewhat hand in hand, and it doesn't happen in all workplaces. Some folks, like some of AWA's anecdotes, put forth their best effort no matter what. And it sometimes isn't recognized.

Other times, those that aren't the best workers inexplicably get the raises.

Point being, union or non-union, if you are "busting your hump" with no compensation or recognition...what are you still doing there? Life's too short to be working a job that you hate AND don't get recognized/rewarded for. The related stress may even become a factor in making that life shorter.

I took a significant pay cut to come to my current job, but it worked out in the end. I'm both happy with my work, and my efforts (workday internet posting not withstanding ) have been rewarded over the years.
BigSteve
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#40 Posted on 23.9.05 1532.44
Reposted on: 23.9.12 1533.58
    Originally posted by ges7184
    While it's nice that some people are willing to work for "pride", pride doesn't put any food on the table,


But the job that they are employed to do does put food on the table. They aren't just working for pride, they're also working to make a living. We can argue over whether or not the wages are good or not, but that's a separate issue. If you willingly enter into an agreement (in this case providing your services for a certain amount of money), and the other party does what they promised to do, how is it right to not hold up your end of the agreement? (Of course it's a different scenario if the employer abuses the agreement on his end in other ways).
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