So, I was shot a link to this NYT article via email.
Let’s see if I get this…2,100 janitors were each paid about $3.50 per hour with no overtime pay, vacation pay, sick pay, or benefits of any sort. They usually worked 7 days a week, during the middle of the night, and often put in 70+ hours per week. Not a one of them was smart enough to know they could have gotten a much better deal at any number of places that pay the federal minimum wage of $5.50 per hour and time-and-a-half for OT (and often with other modest benefits, like vacation time and holidays).
That’s quite a lot of clueless janitors in one place, isn’t it?
Or, is it perhaps just a little bit more plausible that these 2,100 janitors knew their options, and for whatever their reasons, exercised their freedom to stay with the arrangements they had bargained for? Of course, you’ll get no clue as to what it was that caused them to opt the way they did in an NYT article, that’s for sure.
But here’s the sad part about this. You know, there’s almost nothing in the world that I admire or respect more than the immigrant to America (and I could give a rat’s ass about whether it’s "legal" or "illegal," so long as they’re here to see to a dream; honestly). But, I see crap like this, below, and I just shake my head about how someone with the character to make the journey to America in the first place could be turned into such a sniveling excuse for a man.
"I had only three days off in my whole five years there, and that was because I was very sick," Mr. Lopez, 29, an immigrant from Mexico, said. "I really couldn’t do anything, because if I told my boss he was paying me too little, he would just fire me. It’s hard to find another job, and I have to support my mother and younger brothers."
Like other janitors, Mr. Lopez said he was paid in cash, never had taxes withheld and was not given health insurance or vacation days. He said the contractor gave him orders about washing and waxing the floors, but Vons managers often ordered him to clean storage areas and remove empty cartons.
"I felt very bad about how little they paid me," he said. "One comes to this country with dreams, and when you see the reality of things, you see it’s very different from what you expected."
Now that the class-action lawyers, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Service Employees International Union have turned this man and his co-workers into a group of wretched victims with the earned respect of no one anymore, they can turn their attentions to whatever their next task may be.