Labor and employment roundup

by Walter Olson on December 21, 2012

{ 6 comments }

1 Jack Olson 12.21.12 at 9:21 am

Isn’t it illegal to hire an illegal alien? If so, then the EEOC is abetting crime. I’m scarcely surprised at that, under the Obama administration, but what does the EEOC say about it if they feel any need to justify it at all?

2 Jamie R 12.21.12 at 10:49 am

Jack,

If you can discriminate against illegal aliens, workers have more of an incentive to hire them. Giving illegal aliens the same protections citizens and documented immigrants have removes one of the reasons employers hire illegal immigrants.

3 wfjag 12.21.12 at 12:13 pm

From Henderson’s column:
“I saw a woman on Stossel tonight who works for McDonald’s. She said she was paid $8 an hour, but felt she deserved $15. I thought: Wait a minute, McDonald’s isn’t the only company not paying you $15 an hour: neither you nor I are aware of anyone willing to pay you that much. So why is your problem with McDonald’s?”

I am trying to determine the logic behind the complaint. One line of argument is that if min wage kept up with inflation, the min wage would be $15/hr instead of $7.25/hr. Assuming that the math is correct (it isn’t, see the comments to Henderson’s column, but we’ll make that a simplifying assumption anyway), the amount of work a McD’s cashier requires less skill today. A generation ago the cashier had to calculate the change for the cash received, and credit and debit cards were rarely used. And, since cash registers were counted out at the end of each shift, and the cashier was responsible for any shortages, there was incentive for being able to add and subtract correctly while serving customers quickly. Today, the cashier picks up the food from the food bin and (hopefully) checks against the receipt to ensure that what is being given to the customer matches the order. When the customer uses a debit or credit card, the cashier has no other functions, beyond pushing a buttom for the order item. Even when the customer pays in cash, the register automatically figures the amount to give back to the customer, so the cashier only needs to accurately count out the change (and some cash registers even do that function). Accordingly, even if inflation meant that the min wage should be much higher, the much lesser job skills support the lower pay.

My advice to the person who wants $15/hr or more: Get a degree in a STEM field (which pays more than min wage and usually involves a job with benefits and promotion potential), or become a certified Mercedes mechanic (or even a certified Ford mechanic), or become licensed in some other field in which there is a demand for the skills and service, or earn a degree in a subject which has employment prospects. However, if you choose to only have job skills that can be replaced by automation should the costs of min wage + required benefits go up much, you’ll be lucky to find and keep even a min wage job that has no benefits.

4 wfjag 12.21.12 at 12:24 pm

Just curious Walter, is there a subliminal message in the fact that the first article in this list is an article about a woman complaining because she only makes min wage at McDonald’s, while the last article in the next list (Best of March 2012) is your column “‘Woman Blames McDonald’s for Prostitution’ by Walter Olson on March 30, 2012″ ?

Inquiring minds want to know.

5 Walter Olson 12.21.12 at 12:46 pm

That’s funny, but as with many such ironies of story placement, it’s no more than coincidence.

6 Jack Olson 12.21.12 at 2:03 pm

Jamie R, if the federal government cannot enforce its prohibition on hiring illegal aliens, how will it enforce its prohibition on discrimination against illegal aliens? If, as you say, without EEOC regulation employers would have a greater incentive to hire illegal aliens, why not remove the incentive to hire them at all? Because politicians think they need the Hispanic vote more than they need the rule of law?

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