Listeners Respond: The Two-Tier Wage System

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yesterday, we talked about the two-tier wage system implemented by three Detroit automakers. In the two-tier system, new employees make half the salary of workers already on the job. We talked with a few tier-two workers yesterday, and we asked our listeners if they would be willing to do their job for half the salary.

Listener Steve Planas responded. Planas, who is a firefighter in Miami, explains why he would take a pay cut.

Comments [4]

Julian from Teaneck, NJ

Good comment from Steve. It is very disturbing to have universities using increasingly part-time adjunct faculty workforce. Several years ago it was said that the adjuncts cover more than 50 % of teaching assignments in US universities. Now, because of uncertain economic climate, I am sure that universities have more 50% of assignments given to adjuncts than full-time professors. It is a two-tier system with a middle class of full time professors and underclass of adjunct professors. Adjunct professors are a disposable and cheap workforce. Adjunct professors should have at least MA (many have PhD) and are paid by credit/semester and with no benefits. Adjunct professors have no job security and are forced to accept, by the capitalist logic of US academic market, to work for $20.000-$25.000/year. They are supposed to take courses at several universities to make a poor living (most universities do not accept to have more than two courses per semester). Poor paying, no job benefits and long stressing commuting for highly educated people should be very disturbing for a society. It could be a good idea to dedicate a discussion to adjunct faculties on “The Takeway”. Let’s talk about educated people living in poverty. I am pretty sure that the students and their parents do not know that most of their professors are poorly paid, stressed and very frustrated professors.

Sep. 16 2011 09:55 AM
Steve from NYC

Take a look at academic labor. Colleges and universities are totally dependent on adjunct professors who work for much less than half the pay of their full time counterparts. This growing trend makes the two tier wage system look good by comparison.

Sep. 15 2011 09:42 AM
Jeremy Pearson from Miami

I worked for Eastern Airlines in the mid 1980's, they had a two-tier wage system for non-union workers. I did exactly the same job as somebody making twice as much and no matter how long I was going to work there I would never make up the difference. In the end, that didn't save the co. from bankruptcy.

Sep. 15 2011 09:33 AM
Joe Keselman from Miami Beach

We have short memories. The same thing happened in the early 1980s. I remember watching a tv documentary where two workers doing the same work were being paid differently. This is the way to lower wages PERMANENTLY.

Sep. 15 2011 09:29 AM

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