Labor Day has long been known as the day to take off work and get in that last picnic of the summer before the seasons change. For many, this first Monday in September provides little remembrance of the holiday’s origin. While most companies in the United States provide time off for Labor Day, thanks in part to government efforts, this benefit is a mere token compared to the benefits that top executives receive.
1) Employee Benefits And Wages Still Shrinking
As recently reported in Forbes, the average employer does not have to provide their employees with certain benefits, including vacation time. In addition to fewer vacation days, many employers provide less than adequate health insurance, sick time and other benefits. And wages? As the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate, the stagnation in wage growth over the last 10 years has no indications of changing any time soon.
2) Average to Low Wages Normal
The average American may earn about $50,000 per year (and still have little left over for savings), but more than 2 million Americans earn less than minimum wage. That means they take home less than $15,080 per year, assuming they are working 40 hours a week. Even more astounding is that 16 million people earn the Federal Minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which amounts to $15,080 per year. At only $3,135 above the poverty line, it is no wonder a record amount of people are receiving government assistance for food and other necessities.
3) Promised Jobs Brought More Low Wages
One of the reasons wages are so low is simple. There are many jobs that only pay minimum wage, and there are enough people who will take these jobs. For some, unemployment benefits may have run out, and a minimum wage job is better than no job. For others, they may lack the skill-set or experience to earn better-paying employment. Even those with college degrees, 284,000 in 2012 according to the Wall Street Journal, simply have no other options. So what are the jobs that are being created and filled?
The worst paying jobs revolve around customer service, typically in the fast food industry. These include food preparation, averaging $9 per hour, to hosts and hostesses, who average $9.41 per hour. Those in the back washing dishes can expect an average of $9.10 per hour, less than the fast food cooks who earn an average of $9.03 per hour. However, attendants, ushers and others who directly face customers earn between $9.34 to $9.77 per hour. Right in the middle of these numbers are laborers and farm workers, earning an average of $9.61 per hour. And the lowest paid? Hair salon shampooers, who are often learning the trade can expect $8.94 per hour.
4) Executive Pay 354 Times Higher Than Employees
All the new is not bad, especially for the few who are fortunate enough to be in executive leadership positions. According to the AFL-CIO, the chief executive officer’s (CEO) pay was 354 times higher than the average employee of the company they ran. Other reports show that CEO pay increased 1,000 percent since 1950, while employee wages grew at a much slower pace. This astounding growth in CEO pay is not limited to just the United States, even though the second place CEO-to-worker pay ratio is a lower 206:1 in Canada. The Swiss and Germans have similar ratios of 148:1 and 147:1, while France is 104:1, Australia, 93:1 and the United Kingdom 84:1. Toward the lower end are Japan, at 67:1, Norway at 58:1 and Austria at 36:1.
5) The Top Three CEO’s Earn Millions While Employees Scrape By
Looking at three of the top companies in the United States, it is easy to see why people are upset and movements such as the now defunct Occupy Wall Street began. Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), and McDonalds (MCD), in addition to being highly profitable, have CEO to worker pay ratios far above the 354:1 average. Michael Duke, Wal-Mart’s CEO, earns about $20.07 million a year, while the average employee takes home $22,400. That’s a 1,034:1 ratio! Next is Wal-Mart’s competitor Target. Gregg Steinhafel, president and CEO, earns $20.65 million, while Target’s employee’s take home an average $29,900. That’s a 597:1 ratio. And the Big Mac? With a pay ratio of 434:1, Don Thompson of McDonald’s earns $13.8 million per year while the workers average $22,000.
These discrepancies have not gone unnoticed. There is currently a push toward a higher minimum wage, and many good reasons for it, but the reality of the current dan.wesleyistration successfully passing this proposal is dim at best. So this Labor Day, relax, enjoy the day off, and remember that no matter what your pay, millions of American workers are toiling for minimum wage.
Take a look at the full infographic for yourself and let your friends know that they need to celebrate Labor Day with you!