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Why Does Essential Work Pay So Little...

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/23/why-does-essential-work-pay-so-little


Because you lack what it takes to pass a Citizens Dividend. Receiving it, some would retire comfortably at any age. Then jobs would chase workers instead of vice versa. Finally, those willing to do essential manual labor could negotiate respectable wages. So blame yourselves. Then get busy winning economic justice.


Thank you for writing this about the subject of work. Work needs to be redefined to include so many more human activities that add to improving life for everyone & which leads us to a better society—the common good. I think it was Juliet Schorr who may have written on the subject 20 or 30 years ago. In addition to being redefined, the new definitions of
work need to be refined to the extent that it is understood what we mean when we say “work.”

Many people (usually women) work very long and hard in their homes for the good of their families, but are uncompensated for that “work” even though feeding, cleaning, laundry, etc. are essential activities. Do they work in those homes? Yes. So, why not call it work in the same way we refer to the work people do outside their homes.

My mother of 5 who was born in 1928 worked in our home while Dad was an elevator maintenance & repair man. The work she did inside our home on behalf of five kids & husband, was, in my opinion, what led to her early death at age 59. I sensed through much of my childhood that she was always tired from the never-ending washing, cleaning, and endless meal preparations for all of us. I am well past that age now, but often wonder why it has taken me so long to appreciate how hard things were for her.


"Depending on the size of the home, family, pets and numerous other conditions, a stay-at-home parent may work upwards of 98 hours a week. … According to 2019 data from [Salary dot com], if you are a stay-at-home mom (or dad), and paid for your services, you would be looking at a median annual salary of $178,201.

“An analysis from Oxfam in 2020 reported that unpaid work by women (and even in 2020, women stay at home doing unpaid labor more than men, according to the organization) in the U.S. would be worth $1.5 trillion in 2019, using minimum wage per hour for its calculations.”

Healthcare and health “insurance”, unemployment benefits, social security savings could be calculated and put into savings by the US government for all these workers. Instead, let’s distract and socially distance them all with a virus we made in our lab 50 miles from DC.