There are many people who are against raising the minimum wage. Unfortunately, none are against it for reasons which protect or even consider the interests of the average worker. Instead, they are against it for reasons only concerned with the wealth and prosperity of the business owners; “how will the owners afford to pay their workers such livable wages?” “How will owners be able to employ anybody at all if they are forced to adequately compensate their workers?” “They’ll be forced to move their entire operation overseas, or automate their business entirely!”
These are all questions and concerns which are motivated by fear, and constrained by the interests of heartless elites. What we forget to realize is that, as a community, as a collective, as a county, we can do anything. We can shape our societies in any and all ways we wish. And from our antitrust, environmental, and workers rights laws, we have already determined that, given free reign, factory owners and corporate managers will exploit the environment, their resources, their workers, and our laws to the best of their abilities, without restraint. Thus, it is upon us to create legislature and enforce balances which do not allow those at the top to virtually and relatively enslave those of us at the bottom.
That is why Unism calls for a universal overhaul of the wage and earning system in all countries. Whereas currently, employers seek and will forever be encouraged to pay their workers – WITHOUT WHOM they would have no profits, no productivity, no production, nor any business whatsoever – the very least amount of money they are legally allowed to, Unism means to restructure wages and earnings in such a way so they are:
1) proportioned by ratio from top to bottom, and 2) are accordingly increased for All workers as profits increase.
This should sound radical, yet not at all unreasonable.
Instead of begging to raise the minimum amount of money a boss can pay a worker, why not transform the entire way by which employment is rewarded? Why not abandon this Industrial-Revolution-era dynamic of factory and business owners exploiting the labor of the masses at the lowest possible wage, with the constant threat of termination looming over all who dare question or confront this obvious imbalance? Does this not seem wholly unfair to everyone but the man at the top?
Have you ever asked yourself why it is that, when a restaurant becomes popular and serves twice as many customers as they did the month before, only the owner receives any of that dramatic influx of wealth, when they themselves have done the very least to serve and service those new customers? While the staff is accommodating double what they once had, besides any “trickle down” improvements (perhaps a new high-tech time clock to better monitor staff break times, or cameras to observe employees for “safety reasons”) none of those workers are given any of the profits they directly facilitated. You may say that the owner has made the entire operation possible by opening the restaurant at its genesis, yet at each step beyond that opening, along the way to its current and future success, it is clearly due to the competence and hard work of each member of staff, from busboy to head chef, each and every day since opening that the business has functioned and not ground to a halt, and thus can amass wealth. But amass wealth for whom? Surely not for themselves, as the staff earn the same barest minimum they would were they to serve 7 customers or 700 in a day.
Is this not the manner and mode of labor compensation which was utterly despised when alleged of Communism? That workers being paid a set wage regardless of output, attitude, aptitude or ability would result in a feckless, substandard society where no one is happy to work and all service is terrible? And yet here, in the bastion of capitalist wealth and success, we have taken the worst of that dystopian vision and made it the inescapable standard of our reality. The only difference between the USSR-nightmare and the US recreation of it is the small, impossible chance that, one day, an American wage worker may rise to the level of CEO, and could then afford to pay himself whatever he wish! Is this perhaps why we see the almost vengeance-like “golden parachutes” of egregious millions upon millions in severance pay, or even regular pay, doled out to the higher and highest-ups on an almost inevitable basis? Whatever the motivation, there is not doubting or escaping the fact that all CEO’s, and anyone in or around such positions, will continue to AWARD themselves disgustingly inflated paychecks, at the cost and direct expense of the thousands, if not millions of their regular salaried workers.
Currently, CEO’s award themselves between approximately 204 times, 319 times, and 354 TIMES the amount of money that their average workers earn. And make no mistake, when profits are high, it will not be the average workers wages that notice it – despite them being responsible, at least more so responsible than their CEO’s, for that increase – it will only be the CEO’s who benefit.
This nightmare must end. In a culture and society that pays only lip service and nothing else to the idea of equity and equality, Unism calls for an end to this rampant form of exploitation, seemingly both acceptable and unquestionable thus far to our modern world.
Unism aims to cap CEO pay ratios at 20 times their average worker. This is many times more than the average CEO-worker-ratio in Japan, which sits at salaries approximately 16 times that of their average worker. This means that, when an average worker makes $70,000 a year, a currently decent amount which will mean less and less as we move into the inflationary future, their CEO’s would make a cool $1.4 million A YEAR. Is this unreasonably low? Is this an egregious cap which will leave our CEO’s weeping in the streets? They will surely not impose this upon themselves, and would fight tooth and nail to oppose it, yet the solution is obviously clear: if CEO’s want to earn more, they have to pay more. This is only a ratio, not a numerical figure maximum. Pay your workers more, you can earn more. Pay them enough, and you can make as much money as you want. Turns out, the more money your workers are paid, the harder they’ll work, earning you more money in return. Instead of realizing this from an exploitative starting point of zero dollars and zero cents, why not figure things backwards from the CEO’s “reasonable” earnings?
This brings us to the other aim of Unism concerning wage restructuring: that when profits increase, wages increase, for ALL workers. As is, not a penny of profits is ever noticed by the very people who make said profit possible, each and every day, in many many more ways than any owner or CEO does. Therefore, each dollar profit, pure profit, would be split among the employees of a business according to the hierarchy – let’s take the example of a small but chic French restaurant Éxamplè: it has 1 owner, 2 manager, 3 cooks, 4 waiters/waitresses. Each of these personnel are necessary to the earning of that dollar profit, yet as is, only one will ever see even a penny of it. In fact, some of these employees are More necessary to the earning of that dollar than others: without the cooks, there is no food. Without the servers, that food is not served. Without the owner… well, actually… and the manager… ok, not so much. But who will see that dollar at the end of the day? Who is invested in the success of that business the most, yet puts in the least amount of labor, but still enjoys 100% of the profits? With Unist reforms, that dollar would be split so: instead of 100 cents, 20 cents would go to the owner, the remaining 80 being split by 20 cents going between the 2 managers, 30 between the 3 cooks, and 30 between the 4 waiters/waitresses. This is a division which, again, rewards those who are most responsible for the actual earning of that actual dollar. And while the formula as a whole, to be applied to more than just this hypothetical restaurant, but to every industry and business, clearly needs to be elaborated on and improved upon, in general this is a principle which rewards those who make the running of any business, thus any profits thereof, possible in the first place. And if you want to be esoteric and muse that the example restaurant would not exist without the owner, be my guest – but what good is a restaurant existing if NO ONE IS THERE TO WORK IN IT?
As it is, the response to such a reasonable realization – a realization which puts into perspective the importance of each member of staff towards the ultimate goal of increasing the wealth of All those who took and take part in amassing it – has long been, “Fine, you’re fired, we’ll hire someone who doesn’t mind being exploited, because their life or level of existence is already accustomed to exploitation. (see: Immigrant labor) Thank you for playing Capitalism, goodbye.” This has been the state of things since the Industrial Revolution, and without the organization and unionization of labor, we would have never had a chance to rise upon the self-inflicted slavery which had replaced all trades and services across our rapidly industrializing landscape.
But since those days, unions have received a bad rap. Somehow, protecting workers rights became an exploitative service in and of itself. That is why unions are not enough, and are at the same time, too much. We need something less corruptible than a union. Something more universal, and more communally enforceable than a union. We need laws which protect the rights of workers across the board, and allow all of us to actualize the opportunities for wealth and prosperity that were promised but never actually available to us.