Saturday, 6 January 2018

New Year, New Wage, New Me

Happy New Year to everyone!

You may be wondering where I have been for the past five months, since The Political Road Map has become quite lonely. I decided that I would try out working in print media and took a position with a local newspaper. The work is hard, the clientele dwindling, but it pays the bills. Oh yea...I also work on the weekends, so in total, working 7 days a week along with sleeping and eating and the holidays meant much less time for The Political Road Map, its sad I know..

Speaking of working, minimum wage has increased to $14.00/Hour in Ontario as of January 1st, 2018. 

At the very moment that this proposed legislation was announced, I heard nothing but non stop chatter about how business will be devastated and it is just so unfair for such a huge hike in the wage! 

Now that it has officially gone into effect, a mere 6 days into the change and I hear nothing but continued banter and complaining along with disgusting examples of how some business is reacting. Lucky for me though, there have also been even more examples of business doing the right thing. 

We live in a Capitalist system, so capital is a crucial element of our daily lives and as such the discussion over a minimum wage hike or living wage is not only important, its perfectly normal. 

The story of the Tim Horton's heirs giving their employees notice of sweeping changes has made headlines all over social media and frankly has been overworked, but I decided to include a partial copy of the letter below for reference purposes. 

Bad Tim Hortons! No Desert for you!
Running a business is not easy and while I have no direct experience in doing so, I do acknowledge that in a world where change is the only constant, one has to be prepared for anything, especially when taking their personal dreams and employing others to make it a reality. One should also realize though that the people allowing them to make their dreams a reality, also have dreams of their own.

With that being said, people need to understand that businesses need to prepare themselves for changes and should always have a rainy day fund, even though this is not the easiest thing to do. 

The reaction from an increased minimum wage not only has shown us how unprepared some "Big" business has been, but also how important the bottom line has become to private industry. While a business is in existence to generate a profit, it is blatantly evident that some businesses make the rest look awful by their reactions to anything that doesn't make them wealthier. The letter above is an example of measures being taken by a traditional Canadian business gone bad. 

Tim Horton's can cry all it wants about a minimum wage hike and may even further increase its prices, but let us all not forget that in August 2017, Tim Hortons already increased all of it's prices and the minimum wage increase was still five months away!

Let us also not forget that the above letter is an excellent example of how not to run a business. I may not own my own business, but I do work in a business and with customers on a daily basis. If you truly care about your customers, you will do anything necessary to ensure that the people who interact with your customers on a daily basis and who perform duties as your physical ambassadors to the customer, will be in a position of comfort in order to complete their work. The letter above indicates that these heirs, while wealthy, are not taking this into consideration and are only focused on the shareholders profiting from their franchise. 

If your employees are too busy worrying about paying the bills, while working over 40 hours a week and in many cases, such as myself, working multiple jobs, how can they be focused on A. Performing their duties and B. Providing an experience that makes customers want to return.

If a business is having problems justifying paying someone $14.00/Hour in order to ensure they can at the very least survive, that business needs to evaluate what performance markers are bringing on these questions? I can understand if you have underperforming employees that create more problems than they solve, but to punish all employees working in a minimum wage job as a result, is just bad business.

To allow your employees, both good and bad, to work while struggling monthly, is to literally say that they are not worth the investment. I can only ask...if your employees are not worth the investment, then how can your business be worth the investment, when your greatest allies cannot even survive on their own? 

Another strike against businesses that will now cut hours in order to compensate is the performance and efficiency of their daily operations. If you are sacrificing service due to employee wage, then your management requires better training. If you cut hours, it isn't due to payroll, it is due to performance and doing so only hurts your bottom line more as customers may think twice due to poor service or a staff suffering with low morale. You cannot increase performance in this scenario with less staff, you may get lucky for some time, but eventually this will catch up to you. Think Sears Canada and then read the last sentence again, it makes sense. 

Many Baby Boomers are currently arguing that Millennials are lazy and that if someone is working a minimum wage job, it is some how their own fault. This is not only ignorant, it is blatantly false and I will prove it right now!

See graphs below with numbers and figures:
A Comparison between Boomers and Millennials based on Race

The information above was conducted by the Young Invincibles think tank in Washington DC, that aims to educate young professionals on ways of not only investing their resources more efficiently, but also traversing a job market that is becoming one for the history books.

Millennials are now the most educated group of individuals in Canada and the United States that has the most amount of debt and the bleakest employment prospects as they graduate. 

Boomers on the other hand were not only more likely to work in a unionized environment, but also have more access to stable employment with little to no experience/education required and an economy that was not as inflated. 

If you are a young professional in need of employment, especially while attending more schooling to advance yourself, you join new immigrants and other groups classified as unskilled labour, who also have limited prospects for employment in this economy.

The issue is so detrimental that I even argue the resistance to a minimum wage hike is not only cruel, but further evidence of business asking for government welfare in their daily affairs. 

I understand that the issue is not one sided and has to be explained by perspective, but nothing ever introduced to humanity has transitioned flawlessly. While business that is big and small may be feeling uncomfortable now, we are currently experiencing short term pain for long term gain. 

Empowering workers to be able to sustain themselves and their families easier, allows them to reinvest back into the economy via consumerism. Sometimes people forget that while capital is crucial to Capitalism, Consumerism is the engine that keeps our system going. If we continue to incentivize business and forget about consumers/the general work force, we invite chaos as our system continues down a path of income inequality, that if left unchecked not only hurts your citizens, but also opens the door for someone like Donald Trump (Eek!). 

A word of wisdom to business of all sizes, if the minimum wage hike did not occur, you would still be looking for ways to optimize your services and increase your prices to keep up with rate increases for supplies from vendors. No business has ever decreased their prices in the event of a cheaper supply/cost to them, maybe more sales, but they always sell items at prices they can get away with. 

You may have created the company that employs people, but and this is a big BUT, your employees keep you in the position of employer. There is no better support than employment that allows people to live and become financially independent. 

So please...stop all the bitching and do your thing to keep people buying your stuff. If your employees live better lives, they can continue improving themselves and as a result reinvest in the places they work for. If you use the minimum wage as an excuse to further push your employees down, not only are going to increase your turn over, your going to decrease the satisfaction of your customers and lose out even more. 

In closing, lets review what the Political Road Map stands for, with a twist. 

Where are you? Where are you going? Is your government/employer heading in the same direction?

-The Political Road Map-

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