I’ve had a couple of experiences with friends and family the last few days that reminded me how exploitative work practices have just become accepted, commonplace facts of life.
First, shrinkage: A friend’s teenage son working a summer fast food job who wanted to switch shifts with another kid was unable to do so because the other kid would then have to work more than 30 hours a week. In this state, allowing your low paid workers to work more than 30 hours a week at their shitty fast food job means that they will be considered a real employee who might have to be paid benefits, and we can’t have that. So my friend’s kid couldn’t switch shifts. I know there are lots of adults working the same $8/hour job at the place this kid is working who are helping to support families on their less than 30 hour a week job.
Second, metastasis: I was helping another friend who is occasionally on call install work-related security software on his personal computer. This software not only required a laptop supplied by my friend, it also required a smart phone to run an app that provides a security code for logging in to the work network. Of course, the smartphone and the laptop, as well as the time it took to install it all, was provided by my friend so he could take unpaid on-call time as a condition of the barely middle-class wage the job paid.
Both of these people work for profitable companies — there’s no reason that we should be paying for food stamps and Medicaid for employees of either company, though I’m sure we do, simply because those companies are able to get away with having a mostly part-time work force that has to bring their own equipment to the job.