The fight to make bad jobs better

When politicians talk about workers, they tend to focus on certain types of jobs. “Bernie Sanders stood American workers.” “It’s.


When politicians talk about workers, they
tend to focus on certain types of jobs. “Bernie Sanders stood American workers.” “It’s American workers that remake this
country” But in the US, retail workers have outnumbered
manufacturing workers since 2002. And food service workers aren’t far behind. These jobs are in every community – they’re
the base of the service economy. So with the recession in the rear-view mirror,
it’s worth asking: can these jobs be good What do we want? Contract! When do we want it? Now! These Kroger workers are rallying outside
a grocery store in West Virginia because their employer wouldn’t meet their demands, stalling
negotiations for a new union contract. “It’s not like we’re asking for the
sun, the moon and the stars. We want a modest living wage and we want the
maintenance of our medical benefits.” Kroger eventually agreed to a new 3-year contract
for over 4,000 workers. It includes pay raises and zero cuts to their
benefits. By negotiating collectively, service workers
can secure an hourly wage that is six dollars higher on average than nonunion wages. But they are a small minority. Private sector union membership in the US
has fallen to 6.4% of all workers. It’s even lower in the retail and food service
industries. The decline of unions in the US was caused
in part by larger trends that have shifted the types of jobs available, especially for
those without a college degree. During the 80s, 90s and 2000s, several occupations
that used to provide a stable middle-class income grew more slowly than both higher-wage
and lower-wage jobs. That’s partly due to new technologies: robots
in factories, computer software in offices. “The decline in the middle has been steep. A lot of that has been growth at the top,
which is good. People have moved out of the middle and into
professional, technical and managerial jobs. But, the bottom section of the labor market,
which comprises maybe 17-18 percentage of jobs, is about a third larger than it was
in 1980. And if you look just among people without
a college degree it’s much larger still. And that’s the group we should be concerned
about.” The great recession intensified those longer-term
trends. Since 2010, the economy has added millions
of jobs, but not evenly. The biggest area of growth was in high-skill
occupations, mostly for people with 4-year college degrees. Meanwhile workers with a high school diploma
were pushed out of middle-skill occupations. And in low-skill jobs, they’re increasingly
competing with those who have some college. “We’re adding lots of jobs. The concern is that, many of the jobs that
are being added are not good jobs, in terms of offering a reasonable standard of living
and job security. And many of the good jobs that are being added
are not accessible to typical workers.” “Thank you for joining us today to discuss
the importance of predictable schedules and incomes for workers.” “Hello my name is Kingia Phillips. I am a former worker at South Philadelphia
Walmart.” “The juice pallets were the most hard to
do. And when you’re pregnant, you’re not supposed
to lift above your head, but I had to.” Kingia came to DC to speak in favor of a federal
bill that would regulate work schedules for retail, with the aim of increasing stability
in hours and income. “After I had the baby I asked them could
I have my schedule adjusted, a tiny bit. And they told me that we all have kids and
they have a job to do, a company to run. And it turned out that they cut my schedule
down to 8 hours a week.” “I was doing 32 hours.” It’s a common complaint among part time
retail workers: that to get enough hours you have to be available to work at any time the
store is open, which is especially hard for parents, students, and people with a second
job. So after a month, Kingia quit. “I knew they were just going to tell me
to re-open my availability, and that would be the only way for me to make more money
and be able to sustain myself and my child.” The federal proposal faces an uphill battle
in a Republican congress, but since 2014, six cities and the state of Oregon have passed
scheduling policies. The details vary from place to place but most
of them apply to fast food and retail workers, they require two weeks advance notice of work
schedules, with extra pay for subsequent changes that are initiated by the company. Most of the measures also require employers
to offer hours to existing employees before hiring more people. “So what it does is, a lot of these policies
start to balance out the burden of doing business, so that the people who are getting who are
getting paid the lowest aren’t the only ones bearing the cost.” Policymakers have also moved to increase the
minimum wage and require paid sick leave in certain cities and states. It’s a response to the fact that not only
are middle-class jobs moving out of reach for non-college workers, but a lot the remaining
jobs have also gotten worse since the recession hit. “In 2005, you could walk into a JC Penney,
and it was a stable workforce. People had full-time hours, and health insurance,
and even commission. It was a workforce that knew each other, and
felt like they could make their job better. By 2008, that workforce was completely contingent. People’s hours were changing from one week
to the next. Nobody knew each other.” The number of involuntary part time workers
— those are people working part time who would prefer full-time work — that jumped
up during the recession. And the increase was greater for both the
retail sector and for leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants and hotels. This is part of a much broader trend. A 2016 study found a significant rise in “alternative
work arrangements” across the economy. That includes temp workers, contract firm
workers and freelancers. And it makes sense: Salaried and full-time
workers are fixed costs for employers. Whether revenue is up or down, you have to
pay them and fund their benefits. But if you have a pool of more flexible workers
whose hours you can dial up and down to match your sales, you can save money, at least in
the short term. Those cost-cutting strategies have been enabled
by new technologies. “Today, a lot of big employers are using
workforce scheduling technologies, and so it’s an algorithm that’s setting the schedule. And when you do an analysis of when the peak
hours are, it’s easier to slot people in for four hour shifts and then rotate it out. But there’s very few companies have systems
that basically say, ‘My goal is to try to give people some stability in their hours
from one week to the next, and I’m gonna try to match people’s schedules from one week
to the next.’” What this has meant for some workers is schedules
and paychecks that change from week to week. A gallup poll of hourly workers with varying
hours found that one out of three said their schedules cause them financial hardship. “Instead of giving me two 8 hour shifts
and a 4 hour shift, they would give me 5 4-hour shifts. So I would have to go to school and go to
work 5 times a week, instead of working 3 days a week.” “The amount of hours they give out is based
on sales, which I believe is horrible. One week I’ll have 13 hours, the next i’ll
have 25, the next I’ll have 30, then back down to 15. And that — that shows on my paycheck.” Target and Walmart already post schedules
at least a week and a half in advance. Both companies have also raised their minimum
wages in recent years. And several retailers have announced an end
to the  controversial practice of on-call scheduling. “On-call shifts require employees to call
employers the day before or the day of the potential shift to find out if they’ll be
needed to work. If employees aren’t needed, they don’t
get paid.” But they’re a long way from a model like
Costco’s which guarantees a minimum amount of weekly hours for both full and part- time
workers. The union model for including workers’ input
in business decisions has not really moved with the economy into these low-wage service
jobs. And it hasn’t been replaced with something
else. So if workers feel like they can’t find
a voice at their jobs, they’ll likely keep looking for one in the law.

100 thoughts on “The fight to make bad jobs better”

  1. Thanks for watching and stay tuned for our next episode, which takes a look at some options for job training and education. Since this video is a bit of a downer, I hope you'll check out the work of Zeynep Ton, an MIT prof who studies retailers that have successfully implemented a "good jobs strategy": https://hbr.org/2012/01/why-good-jobs-are-good-for-retailers -Joss

  2. It amazes me that at no point was anyone surprised that there appears to be no paid Maternity or paternity leave…?

  3. I’ve been watching a lot of vox videos lately and ’ve noticed a pattern: people complaining about their employers’ or companies’ greed, the rise of working hours, the urge to make more. And all that makes me wonder: hasn’t capitalism been worshipped in America for decades?

  4. Trade schools is where it's at. Also don't think college can give you a good wage; a lot of professions don't pay as much as you think and some professions such as management & tech related skills can be built on a job or self taught as long as you have a reliable portfolio then you don't need college. Just remember that, took me a long time to realize that. Back to the trade schools, don't underestimate them either, it's hard & rough work but it's worth it and that's coming from a unionized construction Laborer.

  5. Sorry…. but the free market dictates. Unfortunately, low skilled employees are easily replaceable and their pay/schedule reflects this. It's a sad reality…

  6. These jobs are meant to help kids just getting out of high school and college to give them a helping hand as they transition to more and more professional jobs. These aren't meant to be for the 40-year-old dad with 6 kids who decided to drop out of high school because he was too tired to go. He shouldn't be demanding $20 an hour and healthcare for their whole family. No what he/she should be doing is working at a professional or manufacting job. Not a place to help new kids give them a helping hand to become an independant adult. This is the reason why theres no jobs for the next generation. Because the past generations filled them up

  7. Are you telling me people who can't afford or don't have time for kids have kids, and then we're supposed to pity them and treat them like victims when their company cuts their hours?

    We're in the first world, people can plan when to have children. So tired of the victim culture with these moms.

  8. You guys need to make college free and it’s not that expensive to fund either.Just charge a cent for every wall street transaction.We in India have nearly free education except for business school.

  9. I have little sympathy for people who don't see the practical value of a college degree. Almost everyone has access to college, whether it be 2 year or a less than stellar university. Also, if you can't support a family. Don't have one. Be responsible, for yourself, your spouse, and your future kids.

    There has be a culture shift, where responsibility and accountability is at the forefront.

  10. Kingia – You have no clue how difficult life can be. Have fun soaking up tax money on welfare.

  11. They are forgeting that companies shift the extra costs on emploees and customers therefore cutting the jobs and future jobs. Also when you buy their goods it will cost more and that will increase cost of living even more.

  12. the funny thing about this video is it doesn't matter if they have a degree. even if I have lower "educational" standards then maybe someone applying for the same position, what I have is SKILL and experience of functional knowledge, so yes they might have gone to college but while they were doing that, I was actually WORKING something that companies want more then a useless degree.

  13. This is so immoral big box retailers and chain restaurants think of their employees as nothing but machines. It's a shame we have to propose laws to regulate schedule and yet republicans shoot them down as being anti-business. I'm so disappointed in America.

  14. Food service problem is the cultural accepted bad attitude of owners /management.
    2 years experience required to be a server?!
    Being a swim instructor as a side hustle I cant respect the wannabe cut throat attitude of hiring a server. Yes you want things to flow perfectly, but when owners.start out with a high horse attitude and hyper focus on petty criticism of something as common sense as serving food, I just cant respect as a true establishment.
    I provide a life saving skill to those yearning to be empowered in the water. Commit and believe in others will gauruntee results.

  15. So you change your availability and then are surprised when you don't get shifts… Think about it, they already have people working in the shifts you're trying to change too, why should that person be forced out of their shift because you want to change.

    They're not going to uproot another employees schedule to deal with someone not willing to work for the times they were hired for.

  16. yes i seen co doing the unstable hours and i also seen ones who when they get good employees they get the hours have to have some balance i am very Leary of citys making labor laws which should be the power of states because in many situations many co can move a few miles away and have less rules and eventually backfire . .remember what a city does today has longer term repercussions and while many businesses need to be in that local most do not
    and if theres no office or mfg jobs theres then no customers for the service business

  17. The funny thing is, pharmacy is affected by this. That’s dangerous because you’re messing with people’s medication. People can die

  18. So this is not illegal in the usa? Thats just sad m8. The more you know about America the more you se how the dream is a big lie.
    You guys are like africa is to you to most of Europe.
    (Bad medical care, you can go to prison for drugs, you need to pay ALOT to go to school, working conditions like this, the electoral thing took away your democracy, you cant say what you want to, you guys get corrupted media,..)

  19. This is why when the president says jobs are up. I want politicians to tell what jobs are growing because you could say we have job growth but we find out there greeter jobs at Walmart making minimum salary

  20. I feel like this job shift (@2:40) is because as we as humans are moving "into the 21st century" and becoming more technologically advanced, we will need more skilled and advanced workers. Eventually I feel like it should be an expectation for most people to go to a tertiary school (this includes technical and schools that teach welding / masonry / etc). The problem with this though is there will be a high discrepancy between low-skilled workers and high-skilled (or middle-skilled) workers in the sense that someone will HAVE to do those low skill jobs. And now we hit a cycle of increasing minimum wage so people can live off their job and an increasing cost of living because more money is going into the system.

    Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

  21. Thank you for making this video series, but this video especially. The content really resonated with my experiences. Earning a living wage in retail was impossible for me while being a student. I was forced to drop out of college and go to work full time. I currently work 60-80 hours a week.

  22. Looking for a voice in the law how about just looking for a new job it's the service industry it's not skilled it's for part time work kids in school not to plan a retirement

  23. How can you talk about this and ignore decades of union busting and anti-union laws? The US literally assassinated union leaders.

  24. I know this is a little scary to you Americans, but how about subsidizing your colleges a bit more. I'm sure there have been studies, but it seems to me that paying $10k towards someone's education enabling them to make $10k+ more per year than they otherwise would have is a pretty good investment.

  25. Automation will get rid of all those jobs soon anyway. Go ahead pass laws with minimal wages, require medical insurance coverage etc…. This will only speed up the process and will make automation more economically sound. Regulations, unions, minimal wages will not solve the problem.

  26. Dear God! Just move to Quebec and get a decent retail job with stable hours, livable min wage ($12), minimum 2 weeks vacation, and right to maternity leave. The province is facing a HUGE worker shortage. Some stores are even closing earlier because there unable to find new employees! Pretty sure the US and Canada have visa agreements that would allow even low skills workers to work in our country.

  27. We can keep manufacturing, if we become engineering professionals like the Nazis overseas. “Si se puede, people”.

    Vox also failed to mention the role of globalization and overseas cheap labor that contributed to the decay of Detroit and the decay of what is now the American rustbelt and the loss of union power.

    Immigration also contributes to low wages and worker disenfranchisement.

  28. This is too much of "blame the employer".
    It is up to each person to "earn a living wage".

    Yes,
    I agree that corporations are focused on making a profit
    but pissing people off is NEVER a long term successful strategy.

    Was hoping this would be a good discussion on how work changes in the future.
    It starts that way but then veers off course.

  29. The service sector is fundamentally bullshit. Most of the jobs in it will never be good and the US should stop focusing on it.

  30. While in college I worked at Home Depot in the winter months, there would be weeks when I got 8 hours a week for multiple weeks in a row. So happy to be past that chapter in my life.

  31. See what happens when you try and unionize in the restaurant industry. The location will either be shutdown immediately, or in the loss of profitably over time. This is coming from a restaurant industry worker of over 7 years. Tips are what push your wage higher, don't ruin that.

  32. Look I all for paid family leave and giving people raises but I am completely against this bill where the Government tells a business what to put on the schedule!

    I was a manager before don't you tell me how to run my shift!

    The girl saying "They only gave me hours when sales are high which I think is horrible" Um DUH! A manager puts you on the schedule when he they need you IE when sales are high!!

  33. More and more good jobs are becoming bad jobs and when a employer turns a good job into a bad one your treated like you have done something wrong and you deserve it.

  34. The Moran complains that her hours are based “on sales”, Well, yeah why would the boss schedule you to stand around, if the job is causing hardship go get another job. Here is a clue, the boss schedules according to business, not your schedule.

  35. Degrees are overrated, trade school is where a future and higher pay is located,
    There are a lot of useless degrees, Ex. Lesbian dance theory, clue, no one will hire you for a six figure job, with this degree.

  36. I know it well. Aside from getting 2 weeks, to 1 week notice, to notice of work in less than 72 hours, then 48, then 24 hours, or on the spot during a shift for hte next day, pay dropped, but workloads and danger in the workplace increased hundreds of percent. Coupledwith a super inflexible schedule that could have almost a months worth of work, all of which would disappear a day before starting and thus not having work fora month, I have seen it all; including living like an indentured servant, going as little as 6 months without pay, to over 3 years without the full pay of 15 thousand dollars, receiving only about a quarter of that at most. Slavery still exists in our world, and the banks are responsible, as are the pawns of the banks whichare the coutrs, the cops, and the governments of the world. *smfh *. Once 2020, we are screwed. Either buddha or somebody else comes back or an asteroid or meteor strikes the earth to cleanse us all, cause the planet doesnt need us.

  37. The nonesense of 20 hours on schedule, required open availability scheduling is just immoral, and it is EVERYWHERE. Working an a.m. shift, then a p.m., then a midshift, different days every week, forever? How do you plan a life? There is no way to get that 2nd job you need, secure childcare, or have stability of life if they sabotage your survival like that. It is so hard to have a day job, then an evening job. I have tried, and every employer said they only make exceptions for college students and military. Dude, I do not know a single person that can survive on their own like that. No wonder so many California households have 3 generations stacked on top of eachother. Between the new business model, the rising cost of housing, gas, and taxes, there is a lot of hopeless and trapped people. If they could organize a part timer in 2-3 days as opposed to spreading it out into 5, they would increse the quality of life for a lot of people, and enable people to hold down that 2nd job they need with no conflicts. It is the #1 reason for high turnover, so why not just fix it already? It is needless, makes things worse, harder to organize, and is really kind of disrespectful to employees and managers as well.

  38. We need jobs like super market clerks and other things to not pay as good because they don't require as much education. The more education and skills a person has the better their job will be. I'm not saying that all people should go to college, I'm just saying that not all jobs should be perfect.

  39. a good work ethic often shines more than a degree on a reference sheet .
    SO many bosses end up regretting hiring someone who feels their degree should speak for them and not their work efficiency . When it's time for lay off's they wonder why they are 1st

  40. Yea get a college degree. Even though it is no guarantee of a good paying job but is a guarantee of being in debt for the rest of your life. And most employers dont give a damn about employees anymore because it's cheaper to just replace those who complain or try to change the way they are paid and treated.

  41. Lower the working hours and make 30 hours ft. Would reduce commuting and emissions as well.

    I worked an on call job. You cannot plan your life.

  42. my boss is terrible about posting schedules, this week she posted it 12 minutes before the first shift she scheduled started. the whole team chewed her out about it and her response was to post half of next weeks schedule, no apology though. this isnt difficult for her, we have the same availability every week, the amount of work to do is more or less equal, and we have a backlog of about 15 hours of repair work at the shop in case we run out of work to do in the field. just do the same hours as last week and post them a week ahead minimum, preferably 2 or 3.

  43. All institutions inevitably become cult like and that is why I am anti union. Its like aren't there enough cults out there already trying to take my money and invade my privacy?

  44. I hate when people use the "people are too lazy to find better jobs" excuse. They are people who actually go to school and work to pay for school because a lot of them are not eligible for grants or loans. They need better hours and pay in order to fund their goal of getting a degree.

  45. 1. Jobs are requiring higher educational credentials than before
    2. Most newly available jobs are only accessible for those with higher education

    It’s no wonder that students are going into more debt than ever before and the wealth gap in America just keeps growing

  46. Company does whats best for the company. Welcome to the real world. All I hear in this video is people complaining about how a job mistreated them because they had to work to much or lift something to heavy. Ya know what, if you don't want to work or lift something, they should fire you and hire me instead.

  47. Unions are run by crooks and only care about their increasing fee amounts taken from the employees and then donating it to the socialist Democrat party and telling all their members to vote that way. The economy and market sets the value of a product or service, yet unions and socialist politicians want to create a income value for a job arbitrarily which backfires and gets stores that close their doors because the profit is gone, employees fired or new automation systems that eliminate that job. They don't really care about the company's needs, keeping good employees hired and helping the company or government agency in firing bad employees, (like their union rules which protect sex predator school teachers). The Democrat party continues to be against free trade and open markets. But instead want government control over private businesses and jobs. They want all jobs unionized because the Democrats know that union members mainly vote democrat because their jobs are tied to that political party. They don't want companies or government agencies allowed to have open bidding for projects unless they are unions, or private companies hiring who they want to hire. It's the democrat party and unions that are shutting down new start up businesses, mom and pop stores and small independent shop owners who can no longer stay open because of government and union rules and regulations being forced upon them.

  48. This is why jobs go overseas is because people feel massively entitled for the government to give them all these benefits and regulations in them ploys behalf.

    You’re not entitled to anything if you don’t like your job go to school, work harder. I see people in this video complaining about how they can work less and less because of their situation and want more money.

    Also, bringing illegals aliens in this country just brings down the overall lower skilled wages.

  49. It's Monday, dad asked if i work on Thursday, i replied no idea. There's a total of 3 people working there, the manager, me, and a co worker, and I'm not allowed to color my hair which I've wanted to do for 9 years. So any places hiring? Lol

  50. Ok. I’m 17 years old, work 28 hours at a restaurant a week, play club volleyball, completed schoolwork for my senior year, and maintain a social life. I have saved for college, made car payments, and paid car insurance. It is foolish to say that people shouldn’t change their schedules to gain employment. Just manage your effing time and priorities

  51. I really appreciate these short documentary type videos on current social issues because I'm young and trying to figure out what problems I am passionate about using my career to fix and with every new video I feel more motivated to spend some part of my life trying to make a difference in that issue.

  52. I've been stuck in retail for years. Most of the only accessible jobs around me are retail/fast food. I saw this video when they uploaded it, but I find myself coming back to it time and time again. I wish things were better.

  53. I had a fast food job where they just wanted me for the busy lunch hour, how long on a particular day varied but often for like an hour to 1.5 hours time . This is with at least a hours travel time on bus both ways and the cost of taking the bus. But they didn't care.

  54. One summer where I couldn’t get full time work. I worked 4 jobs and as a shift manager for one of them. I almost never slept especially with last minute graveyard shifts at a petrol station where I wasn’t working as the shift manager.

  55. I lived off of fast food for almost 5 years then I realized I cant live like this so I changed jobs. U cant expect to walk to the corner and find a career, a good one atleast.

  56. There’s a horrible hidden reality to increasing minimum wage. Private companies will pay more, but policy changes occur to cancel out any benefit. For example, Walmart in Gilroy CA stopped being 24 – 7 and began placing more items behind glass and to be paid for at one register. A trip to get deodorant and milk required a specific time, a more crowded store, and waiting in two lines. Then there’s collateral damage. Business surrounding Walmart changed hours due to the decrease in traffic. People who served the community began to have less money to spend in the community. Within less than a year, the entire community became a ghost town after 10pm.

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