Workers Rights – We Need Them!

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Growing up I’ve often heard those around me lament about their terrible work places. I’ve heard of incredibly unsafe working conditions. I’ve seen unfair wage distribution. I’ve watched as my government passes law after law to protect the corporations over the people. 

Perhaps you have heard of these bad policies?

“Right to work”

“At will”

These sounds like they should help the common worker don’t they? Clever really. They name these rules in the most misleading of ways. 

Let me tell you a story. A true story.

We all have cars. They break down and we take them to a dealership or a mechanic shop. Do you ever stop to wonder about the people working in those shops? What about when it’s 110 degrees outside? Did you know that it’s most likely 130 degrees or more inside that shop? They have fans, sure. But, no air conditioning. They pour sweat all day long. Their job is physical. Constant movement while you wait in the air conditioned lobby flipping through the magazine selection. I know you console yourself by thinking that they are well paid. I know you look at the thousand dollar bill your paying and you scoff at the high cost. I know you probably think the tech gets a big cut of that.

They don’t. They get paid more than minimum wage sure. But they aren’t getting a very big cut of what you pay. On top of that, every single person in that shop gets a cut off what that tech worked on.

This is why we need real regulations for workers. We need laws that will protect the worker and not the company. 

Working conditions should be safe. 130 degrees is not safe. 

workers rights human rights

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2 thoughts on “Workers Rights – We Need Them!

  1. Allie, I agree about worker’s rights, but find it interesting that you chose auto mechanics as an example of people that may be underpaid and overworked. Perhaps in your area it is true. FYI, dealer mechanics in my area are adequately paid. The pay for workers in independent shops varies greatly, as does their expertise. Dealership shops, to me, are outrageously over-priced, indifferent, and often not as knowledgeable as an independent that’s been working on different makes for decades. I would never take my car to a dealer except for warranty work. In the end, computers rule, and none of the “experts” may be able to analyze what’s wrong with your car, even with an expensive scope. “Right to work,” and “At will” are laws written solely to give an employer all the advantage. In that case the only protection a worker has are L&I laws and choosing a company where the boss has a soul.

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    • Hi John,

      I chose Auto Mechanics because my husband is one and I am very knowledgeable about this trade. There are many things you have stated that are incorrect. Let me clarify some things for you.
      Auto Mechanics at dealerships make between $18 a flag hour to $40 a flag hour. The typical tech makes less than $30 an hour. Most shops have a top out pay of $30 a flag hour. This means that no matter how much education or experience they gain….they will never make more than that.
      Let’s talk about your claim that independent shop techs are more knowledgeable.
      Dealership technicians typically have college degrees. Your vehicle is a very complex machine. Technicians at dealerships are constantly continuing their education. They have to keep up with the new tech that comes out every single year.
      Independent shop techs don’t have to keep up with new technology and they don’t even have the ability to work on new vehicles. They require no degree nor do they continue their education (if any).
      The standard is much different.

      Let’s talk about cost.

      That’s dealership tech has years of experience and education. He/She works in the freezing cold of winter or the scorching hot of summer. Service writers get paid a portion of what the technician makes. As does the parts department and the service / foreman managers. The one doing all the actual work (technician) is constantly being leached on by everyone else.

      Additionally, dealership techs deal with the horrors of warranties. They fight a constant battle to just get paid for their work as warranty constantly lowers the amount paid on each job or completely removes pay altogether.
      Often, technicians do hours of work they never see a dollar of pay for.

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