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Illinois Teamsters/Employers Training Fund
The Changing Workplace
Updated On: May 18, 2009 (15:23:00)
THE CHANGING WORKFORCE
 
1)    THE WORKWEEK:
National statistics show a shrinking average workweek, dropping from 38.5 hours in the mid 1960’s to 34.6 hours today. Thanks to the recession, the average is dipping some more, as employers trim workers hours to reduce labor costs.
 
2)    LUNCH BREAKS:
     Four (4) out of every ten (10) employees do not take a lunch break.
 
3)    VACATIONS AND DAYS OFF:
The U.S. workers spend more time on their job compared to every other developed country and take less time off, 15 days on an average. French workers take an average of 31 days off and Portuguese workers take an average of 35 days off. One (1) out of every four (4) U.S. workers does not receive a vacation.
 
4)    INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS:
When an employer hires an independent contractor, they usually hire them at a lower rate of pay and their labor cost is much lower. Now the employer does not have to pay payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and the costs for a vehicle or benefits for an employee. The independent contractor is liable for these costs. A good example of this is FedEx; they classify about 13,000 drivers as independent contractors and pay them by the delivery. This gives FedEx 30% less in labor costs than it’s competition, UPS’s unionized workforce.
 
In the last few years the United States has lost over 5.5 million jobs. Some to outsourcing, some to companies downsizing and some do to the economy. Many workers have reduced hours, reduced pay and reduced benefits or have no benefits at all. A lot of this has to do with the greed of companies and their CEOs. Prior to President Obama taking office, the theory was to give breaks to big business and they will create more jobs for the working class and will make sure the working class would have chance at the American Dream (the trickle down theory). This did not happen. What did happen is that CEO salaries have skyrocketed and many companies’ profits are greater than ever. Back in 1980 the CEO average salary was 42 times greater than that of the average worker. This ratio was little high but we could live with it because the CEOs ran the companies and financed them and in most cases, the worker received his/her fair share. At the end of 2007 the average CEOs’ salaries were 344 times greater then that of the average worker. That is an increase of over 300 times, which is nothing more than greed. Instead of rewarding the workers that helped build the company they increased their own compensation and benefits. We need to reverse the direction that our workforce is heading. We are in the worse economic crisis since the great depression. We elected President Obama so that he and his cabinet will stabilize our country’s economy and put us back on the right direction. This is not going to be easy or quick and there might be things that they do that we do not agree with, but at least we have a say and a way to monitor their actions. You can monitor them by going to the web site of www.whitehouse.gov, and I highly recommend that you do and that you share this information with your friends, family and co-workers. Everyone needs to be aware of what is happening and what you can do to help.
 
          
 
 

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