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Why Wages Are Stagnant

. . . most middle-class workers aren't even aware that they're being ripped off. But I know. And a lot of other business owners know. We just don't talk about it. You see, we capitalists will never actually ask you to work overtime. I don't even track your hours. I just make it clear that I trust you to get your job done in the time allotted. And then I hand you twice as much work as you can reasonably do in a 40-hour week. But this downward pressure on wages doesn't end there.
Interesting article on wages from a frequent contributor to Politico. The thrust of the article, is toward hourly, rather than professional workers, but it provides a good explanation of wage stagnation in general. It also goes a long way toward explaining why the velocity of money (M2) is at a historic low.

Whatever Happened to Overtime?

Link to full article: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/11/overtime-pay-obama-congress-112954.html?ml=m_t1_2h#.VGt0oGOGpps

Another thing that is happening for most workers. Workers pay was cut and many layed off to save the company. Pay cuts and cost they seen cost of living increases go away. Now, a pay raise equals to or is less then the cost of living increase. Making pay stagnate or on the decline. The CEO's didn't loose a dime and still received pay raises and bonuses during this time. As things returned to normal, the workers pay still hasn't increased and the CEO's are still getting increases and bonus. Making the gap even wider. People who picked up the slack of work from those departing, just to help out the company for a little while, have found it's a permanent exception of their job duties.

A major employer decreased pay because medicaid reimbursements were being cut back. That never happened, but the employer left the wages lowered, until one of their employees talked to a representative of the state medicaid agency. For some strange reason once that person got involved, the employer found it necessary or convenient to restore the wages back to where they were before. Of course, there was no payment of all the wages that had not been paid to the workers.

This goes to show that an employer will take advantage of a workforce that does not remain awake or alert.

wannabecnl

Specializes in PACU, presurgical testing.

The scuttlebutt at my hospital is that we will no longer be paid time and a half for critical overtime (i.e., I stay to provide direct patient care, not to finish documentation or fulfill other duties). This makes me crazy. We work in an unpredictable field where patient care has to be provided safely and in a timely manner. Some days we just get the wild post-op--after hours, of course--who takes an RN and our LNA to hold him down and another RN to administer meds and other interventions (not to mention a third to page the surgeon/anesthesia, answer the phone, and take care of other pts, too!), and we have to stay longer. As long as I'm there because I am needed to provide care (again, not because I was slow that day and didn't get finished with everything), I think the hospital needs to recognize that staying after my shift is a burden by paying me more for my time.

We do get time and a half for worked call hours; if that ever goes away, I doubt there will be any staff left.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

Stagnation of wages can also be the result of an oversupply of workers in certain sectors. For instance, an oversupply of nurses exists in the metro area where I live.

The new grad starting pay rate was $23 hourly at most hospital systems in my city of residence back in '07 and '08. Now we're heading into 2015, and the new grad starting pay rate is still hovering in the $23 to $24 hourly range.

Since 300+ candidates are applying for each new grad position, the hospital systems have no incentive to raise the pay. After all, more than enough new nurses will willingly work for the scraps they're currently being thrown.

Pervasive through the article is the fundamental and dramatic shift in power from the working class to the executive class, which correlates very well with the systematic and deliberate gutting of the unions.

In the absence of solidarity and collective bargaining, commodity labor, such as nurses, will see an ever-smaller piece of the revenue pie.

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN.

What's a pay raise? What are benefits?

Ours are down the toilet.

Permanent retrograde.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

My employer eliminated overtime back in July. Now we are finally getting a pay raise, but they're eliminating shift differentials. We're already significantly underpaid, and staff are stretched very thin. I don't think this will help staff retention.

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN.

My employer eliminated overtime back in July. Now we are finally getting a pay raise, but they're eliminating shift differentials. We're already significantly underpaid, and staff are stretched very thin. I don't think this will help staff retention.

All smoke and mirrors, ain't it?! Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Giving a raise and taking away shift differentials is ridiculous; like, they think that you might think this is a step up or forward? HA!

If you end up with a situation that might require overtime, can you just punch out and go home without hearing any grief about it? Double HA!

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

Interesting article on wages from a frequent contributor to Politico. The thrust of the article, is toward hourly, rather than professional workers, but it provides a good explanation of wage stagnation in general. It also goes a long way toward explaining why the velocity of money (M2) is at a historic low.

Link to full article: Whatever Happened to Overtime? - Nick Hanauer - POLITICO Magazine

The problem is both democrats and republicans are in bed with big business, but democrats pretend to care about the working and middle class yet they don't do anything to raise the minimum wage or bring back overtime protections. The democrats only claim to care about the poor but instead of raising the minimum wage they want to take from the taxpayers to give handouts for votes if you ask me! Why not improve working conditions for all instead of raising taxes that benefit the few. Besides they are only cooperating with Walmart and big business by subsidizing the sub standard pay with food stamps and T19 allowing the corporations to profit at our expense as well! So the Waltons can be billionaires! I'm disgusted with both parties!

cd365c

Specializes in none.

I wonder, in general, if nurses make more in the private care setting/ home health versus the actual hospital.

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN.

Speaking from personal experience, over the years there have been fewer PDN cases willing/able to pay for nurses 24/7. More PDN cases go to CNA's with the nurse coming in just to fill medisets, change catheters, do treatments not within CNA's scope of practice.

It also depends on the agency whether or not the nurse's pay is better than at hospitals/LTC's. But then you have a problem if the case census is down, and it DOES fluctuate. Some nurses are signed up with several agencies for that very reason.

I wish my pay was stagnant at this point!

It has actually decreased!

It was not like we ever got a raise to begin with.

Whoa hoo!

Ffffffun times ahead in PDN!

OC_An Khe

Specializes in Critical Care,Recovery, ED.

Chuckster

thanks for the link, excellent article that should be read by all

OC_An Khe

Specializes in Critical Care,Recovery, ED.

Everyones compensation has been shrinking for decades. Not only in direct wages/salaries but also your indirect compensation with regard to pensions healthcare costs etc. Yes I would take stagnant.

My question is this: If they raise the minimum wage to $14 an hr, are all positions going to get an increase? Cause if fry cooks make that much and I make $22 an hr as a nurse(with a degree and all the responsibility), I'm quitting to go work at Burger King

Everyones compensation has been shrinking for decades. Not only in direct wages/salaries but also your indirect compensation with regard to pensions healthcare costs etc. Yes I would take stagnant.
This is not quite true. In relative (rather than absolute) terms, total compensation for the broad middle and upper-lower classes, which had been increasing since the end of WWII, began a precipitous decline during the Reagan years. The decline flattened somewhat under later administrations, notably Clinton's, but continues to this day. On the other hand, those on the upper end of the income spectrum saw both significant compensation increases and substantial income tax decreases, over the same period. Those gains accelerated under the most recent Bush administration and have increased even more under Obama. The article that's referenced provides some insight into this phenomenon, and no one should expect that this situation will change any time soon, regardless of which political party is in power. Once begun, the drift toward plutocracy is extremely difficult to slow, much less stop.

My question is this: If they raise the minimum wage to $14 an hr, are all positions going to get an increase? Cause if fry cooks make that much and I make $22 an hr as a nurse(with a degree and all the responsibility), I'm quitting to go work at Burger King
Short answer: No. In fact, with respect to RN's, given the significant oversupply of nursing labor, you should expect just the opposite, namely that that nursing wages and benefits will experience continued downward pressure.

Edited by chuckster

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

My question is this: If they raise the minimum wage to $14 an hr, are all positions going to get an increase? Cause if fry cooks make that much and I make $22 an hr as a nurse(with a degree and all the responsibility), I'm quitting to go work at Burger King

If the federal minimum wage had kept pace with inflation over the years, minimum-wage workers across the country would be earning more than $11 per hour today.

In addition, I find it troubling that a college-educated RN could earn $22/hourly or less in 2014, even in geographic areas with low costs of living. The bleak reality is that nursing wages have not kept up with inflation.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education.

In addition, I find it troubling that a college-educated RN could earn $22/hourly or less in 2014, even in geographic areas with low costs of living. The bleak reality is that nursing wages have not kept up with inflation.

Reality is that nursing wages haven't kept up with the mounting responsibilities either.

As for not keeping up with inflation, call pay (wages just to carry the pager) in my OR has been at $2/hour for at least the last 10 years. In my opinion, being tied to that pager with the possibility of being called in at any moment, with a maximum response time (dressed and in the OR itself) of 30 minutes, is worth far more than $2/hour when taking into concerns the limits of where I can go and what I can do. And let's not get started on the so-called merit raises- this year (the first that instead of a hospital wide percentage based on review points, each supervisor got so much and distributed accordingly) was the first that I've seen more than a quarter (yes, I do indeed mean $0.25) for a stellar, far above average expectations, annual review. Haven't had a cost of living increase since 2008, and goodness knows that costs of living have escalated exponentially. Even 5 years ago, I never would have had to touch a credit card, regardless of what I was purchasing (airline tickets, laptop, etc.). Now, I'm using the credit card frequently.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

In addition, I find it troubling that a college-educated RN could earn $22/hourly or less in 2014, even in geographic areas with low costs of living. The bleak reality is that nursing wages have not kept up with inflation.

It's even worse when a college-educated RN makes $22 or less per hour in an area with a high cost of living.

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