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WA PO: Wage Growth Is Eroding as Firms Rush To Slim Down, U.S. Workers Facing Furloughs, Pay Cuts

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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:06 PM
Original message
WA PO: Wage Growth Is Eroding as Firms Rush To Slim Down, U.S. Workers Facing Furloughs, Pay Cuts
Wage Growth Is Eroding as Firms Rush To Slim Down
U.S. Workers Facing Furloughs, Pay Cuts

Sunday, May 3, 2009

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

In December, Timothy Owner, a trombone player with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, called his landlord to tell her he might have trouble paying rent around May. He and the orchestra's 53 other full-time members, many of whom are paid less than $30,000 a year, had agreed to a month-long furlough.

The furlough, which ended yesterday, was rough, Owner said. But he and other musicians acknowledged that the alternative could have been worse. "We're less unhappy if this means the orchestra will survive," he said.

Across the country, workers' earnings are stagnating or, in some cases, declining. For many Americans, the setbacks are all the more troubling because they have lost so much wealth in recent months, with the value of their homes and retirement packages plummeting.

Employers big and small have resorted to slashing hours and once-unthinkable wage cuts. In March, staffing agencies that work for Microsoft agreed to a 10 percent reduction in their bill rate. In April, hotel operators in New York City asked unionized waiters, housekeepers and bellhops to reopen their contract and accept wage cuts. State governments such as Indiana's have frozen pay, while others, including Maryland and California, have furloughed employees.
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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yet more proof that it is only the pain that trickles down.
Edited on Sat May-02-09 10:17 PM by anonymous171
We never get their wealth, only their costs. Tax the rich, spread their wealth and arrest them if they try to avoid paying.
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Elwood P Dowd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
2. We are toast.
Edited on Sat May-02-09 10:15 PM by Elwood P Dowd
70% of GDP is from consumer demand for goods and services, and 95% of that demand comes from the middle class and the poor. We have spent 3 decades taking care of the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor. The republican party, with a little help from DINOS, have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Adding insult to injury, Obama's new trade rep wants more trade deals that ship even more jobs out of the country and protects tax shelters for the rich. Just how bad does it have to get before these fools fucking get it?
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. The University of California is doing this
Edited on Sat May-02-09 10:19 PM by lunatica
No new hires and they're thinking of furloughs. Right now they trying to get people to retire now and to take up to 10% reduction in time on a voluntary basis. They're also eliminating their entire campus shuttle and bus services starting in August. Some departments are being cut by 10%.

And this is one of those institutions that can't be outsourced. UC is a state university, not a private one.
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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
4. This is happening big time with the forced Chrysler bankruptcy
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. Exactly the WRONG thing to happen ....
The economy is in the tank because families do not spend ...

Give them less ? .... They spend even less .... Business activity DECREASES ..... Profits DECREASE ....

Capitalists seem to trip on their own petards, every time ....

We need BALANCE between profit and wage if the system is to benefit anybody ...
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
6. we get no raises this year....
...and other bennies are cut or removed. Meanwhile, home values plummet, retirement nest egg values plummet and costs (food, fuel, etc) go UP UP UP....

The state's governor has cut state salaries by some percentage - can't remember now.

Yea. Beats the alternative...
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. This is why the unemployment rate is deceptive...
There are so many people who are taking pay cuts, furloughs and also cuts in their weekly hours.

These people are hurting--and they spend less--but they are not recorded as official unemployed. Someone should
keep track of this stuff though--because a pay cut or a furlough can impact the economy as much as someone who is
unemployed.

My husband took a 1,000 per month paycut in January that will last until the end of June. We are spending next
to NOTHING. We have extra money, but we are terrified--so we sock away every extra penny. I'm not going to complain,
because my husband is still employed and we have good healthcare. However, when something like this happens, it
affects your entire life and definitely your spending habits.

All of these furloughs, pay cuts and weekly-hour cuts----are hidden statistics that impact the economy--but are not
measured. The powers-that-be can try and hide how bad it is all they want---but at the end of the day, all of this
affects consumer spending, which is 70 percent of the economy.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:57 PM
Response to Original message
8. Wage GROWTH? Wage fucking GROWTH?
What in the ever-lovin', blue-eyed world is that bullshit? WAGE GROWTH? Wages have been stagnant since St. Ronnie repealed the law of supply and demand in the 1980s. Oh yeah, productivity has gone up; hours worked have gone up; revenues and profits went way, way up for a lot of industries. But real wages have been stuck in molasses for the last 20+ years.

Wage growth eroding? Fuck, we'd all have to be making $5,000 more a year before we saw "erosion" of wage growth.
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