The 4 day week was tested on a large scale in the UK

WASHINGTON: Fast-food workers in Manhattan protest demanding $ 20-an-hour wages: Unimaginable demand before the pandemic has not been curbed, with companies adding dramatic increases that have not reduced equality, however.

The lack of labor, associated with Covid contamination, child care problems and the boredom of underpaid employees who decided not to return to their jobs under conditions before the health crisis, the pushed companies to guarantee higher minimum wages, with benefits such as improved health insurance and bonuses.

“There has been a realization among the country’s major employers of the need to speed up wages if they want to attract reliable workers who can help them navigate this time of great uncertainty,” he said. Gregory Daco, chief economist at Ernst & Young Parthenon.

“Supporting and retaining the best people in the world allows us to offer the best products and the most innovative services to our customers,” Apple told AFP after announcing a minimum hourly wage 22. dollars.

The tech giant says it leads the industry in terms of lowest hourly rates and prides itself on expanding “a solid range of benefits” for its full-time and part-time employees. By raising wages, he can hope, like Amazon, to curb the union’s ambitions.

The move to $ 22 represents a 45% increase from the 2018 low, the group said.

Retain employees

In the summer of 2021, faced with severe labor shortages, many companies including Amazon, Target and Chipotle crossed the $ 15 per hour mark, more than double the federal minimum wage (7.25 dollars) that has not changed since in 2009.

This week, Bank of America, like Apple, announced a $ 22 minimum wage that would increase it to $ 25 by 2025.

In the United States, the highest wage increases are granted to the lowest able employees who do not hesitate to show up for these enhancements.

All income strata rose, but it was the lowest bracket that made enough gains to offset inflation, said Mahir Rasheed, economist at Oxford Economics.

In other words, “even with higher incomes, most consumers see their wages dropping in real terms,” he said.

Optical illusion

In addition, while these increases seem significant, especially in the hotel and restaurant sector, they remain below the median salary throughout the year.

“The increases seem to be huge, because some salaries went from 7 to 10 dollars, from 10 to 12 dollars, from 12 to 15 and even from 15 to 20”, Gregory Daco continued.

However, “15 dollars an hour is 30,000 dollars a year, less than 50,000 to 60,000 dollars for the median salary”, he explains.

Moreover, this catch-up effect can be temporary.

It is “likely” that increases will continue at this rate although we may see further increases here and there, as companies want to remain attractive, believes Mahir Rasheed.

Those benefits will be lost as workers re -enter the workforce, he says.

Employers’ demand for labor is especially slowing. “The bargaining power of employees will therefore be lost,” Gregory Daco added.

“Unfortunately, I don’t expect these gains to be sustainable in the long run because we haven’t seen an increase in the federal minimum wage,” said Elise Gould, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), an American think tank. It still expects “marked slowdown in wage earnings”.

In a study published last month, it was noted that the average salary rose 4.4% in the first year of the pandemic in the United States but fell 1.7% in the second year.

“Despite faster wage growth among the lowest wage workers in the past year, wage levels remain highly uneven in the U.S. labor market,” with differences by gender but also by ethnicity. .

In April, the hourly rate rose 0.3% compared to March. Within a year, it jumped another 5.5%, according to data from the Labor Department.

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