Wage Work Frustrations

Fall 2016

The county is changing whether we agree it is, like it, hate it or want to revolt – it’s changing.  It’s changing more and more everyday to be a tourism destination. With that brings more temporary seasonal work, especially in the hospitality industry, which means a lot of us working for minimum wage or lower end jobs for small business owners. One counts themselves lucky if they’re fortunate enough to not have to work under the table. It would seem a lot of us are in the same situation, if not the same boat.  

We are all floating, paddling on our own in the turbulent waters. We count ourselves lucky if we receive the gratuities that are entitled to us and our employer remembers our names.  An end of work day ends with a sigh – we made it through one more day without giving up or losing our job. As a result, few are prepared to speak up, fight for higher wages and band together or all jump into one boat together.  

We can share stories, throw life jackets to our friends as we try to weather the season, however, regardless of where we are employed it is without a doubt that we all carry a heavy anchor or feeling to paddle carefully as we feel we can so easily be replaced.  Don’t rock your own boat too much or a hole will surely occur.  

What would break this cycle because surely it needs to be broken!  What if collective and cooperative businesses existed in that every single person’s contribution is equally valued?  Why does the maker of food have more monetary value that those serving it? Why is the winemaker held in higher regard than those doing tastings and selling the product?  The goodness and strong work ethic of people will shine through when we feel like a respected part of a collective team.  

Regarding wages increases, what do we do? Wait for the government to institute reasonable minimum wage that is reflected on the costs of living in our society?  It isn’t going to happen anytime soon that we see a $20/hr wage implemented.  As of October 1st the Ontario minimum wage is rising to $11.40….  What if workers demanded at least $20/hr for their time?  A lot of business owners would say that they couldn’t afford that, but if workers rallied together, could they really afford not to?

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