How do we place values on jobs? Necessity – is it really necessary? Importance – are they important? Skill – does it take skill? Knowledge – does it take an education, practice, ability to read, write and arithmetic?
All of these apply to any job. We aren’t just talking about doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs, but everyday jobs that are necessary and important to everyday living. Most of these are treated as menial jobs not worth more than minimum wage.
Today most available jobs fall into this category. Why can’t we adjust our system of wage scales? We have over the years created a wider gap within our wage structure by using the percentile method of wage increases. A 4 percent cost of living increase for a wage of $10 per hour will be 40 cents, and for a wage of $100 per hour it will be $4. If you continue this method, the gap between the low wage earner and high wage earner will continue to increase and over time create more poverty-level jobs. The cost of bread is the same for both wage earners, so both wage earners should receive the same amount of wage increase.
Why do we think a laborer holding a stop sign is worth more per hour than the janitor cleaning the operating room in a hospital, or the young lady who takes care of your mother in a nursing home, or the aid on a school bus who protects your child?
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James E. Saffel, Mascoutah