Why We Need to Raise the Minimum Wage

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When the federal minimum wage law was signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938, it was meant to keep America’s workers out of poverty and increase consumer spending in order to stimulate the economy. Since then the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times with its current value at $7.25 an hour. However, it is a poverty wage which doesn’t keep people from being poor nor has it kept up with the US cost of living. In fact, it’s said a full time job on $7.25 an hour can’t even support even the basic living essentials in all 50 states. Nevertheless, campaigns to raise the minimum wage have recently been gaining momentum across the country ranging from ballot initiatives to grass organizing to major legislative efforts in states and localities. Many have achieved some degree of success. Yet, at Capitol Hill, proposals to raise the minimum wage have gone nowhere, despite widespread popular support across party lines as well as economists. As for me, I feel that not only should the federal minimum wage be increased, it should also be adjust automatically to keep pace with cost of living that doesn’t exempt tipped workers and the disabled. While I do not believe raising the minimum wage would relieve poverty even at $15 an hour, I feel that it’s good responsible policy as well as the right thing to do.

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This graph from the Department of Labor illustrates how the minimum wage has fallen by a third since 1968. If it was automatically adjusted for inflation from that time on, the minimum wage today would at least be $11 an hour.

  1. The Minimum Wage Is an Arbitrary Value-The only good explanation as to why the minimum wage is a poverty wage is mostly due to increases requiring approval by Congress and it doesn’t keep pace with inflation or rising costs of living. This is why the new minimum wage value usually falls from the moment it’s set. The federal minimum wage today is $7.25 per hour. Does it mean it’s higher than it used to be? In terms of real dollars, yes. But in terms of buying power, no. When adjusted for inflation, the current federal minimum wage would need to be more than $8 per hour to equal its buying power in the early 1980s and nearly more than $11 per hour to equal its buying power of the late 1960s. For tipped workers, it’s $2.13 an hour which has remained unchanged for over 25 years. In other words, why the current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour has nothing to do with inflation adjustments. Because despite minimum wage increases, its buying power has dropped and keeps falling. Though President Obama has argued for the minimum wage to increase automatically with inflation which can eliminate requirements for formal congressional action, reduce time between increases, and better help low-income families keep up with rising prices. There’s even a bill called The Raise the Wage Act proposed by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby C. Scott proposing to do just that along with raising the wage to $12 an hour by 2020 as well as set automatic increases starting in 2021 and eliminate the unfair subminimum tipped wage of $2.13 an hour. It’s a policy that makes far better sense the current one. Some states have also enacted rules to do the same thing. So why is the federal minimum wage a paltry $7.25 per hour? Well, since increasing it requires congressional approval, I think it has more to do with politics and employer preference for cheap labor. In other words, it’s an arbitrary value.

2. Most Minimum Wage Jobs Can’t Be Outsourced – While conservatives often argue that raising the minimum wage will lead many people to lose their jobs, we need to understand that most minimum wage jobs are in the service industry. Unlike jobs in manufacturing, it’s unlikely most of them could ever be outsourced overseas with globalization. Besides, when we’re talking about minimum wage employees, their pay has nothing to do with international competition. Because they’re not engaged in the export sector. Competition in the service industry is mostly domestic and localized as well as staffed by local workers and serving a local customer base. In other words, service jobs be in a specific location. The biggest threats to pay in service sectors aren’t foreign countries known for human rights violations but large multinational corporate chains who treat their employees like shit.

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Recent trends show that most job creation has taken place in low wage industries. So it’s no surprise that a higher share of millennials work in low wage industries while lower shares work in mid or higher wage industries.

3. New Job Growth Has Been Concentrated in Disproportionately Low Wage Industries– Today more families than ever rely on low wage and minimum wage jobs to make ends meet especially since job losses during the Great Recession have hit higher wage sectors like construction, manufacturing, and finance hard. And according to a 2012 report by the National Employment Law Project, 58% of all jobs created post-recession were low wage occupations. This isn’t a short term trend either since 6 of the top ten growth occupations projected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the next decade are low wage jobs, such as home health aides, customer service representatives, food preparation and service workers, personal and home care aides, retail salespersons, and office clerks. Raising the minimum wage would boost pay scales in these jobs where millions of Americans spend their careers today. And for many it’s getting harder for many workers to move beyond a low wage job. Thus, raising the minimum wage right now is more important than ever.

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Here’s a picture on the hazards of domestic labor. Now people in these jobs usually earn minimum wage or less. Some of them earn more. But what this chart tells you that it’s anything but easy. In fact, it’s hard and thankless work. The same can go for many low wage jobs.

4. Most Minimum Wage Jobs Aren’t Easy– Those opposed to minimum wage increases argue that anyone could do a minimum wage job which doesn’t require a lot of responsibility. But that has no bearing on reality whatsoever. Service industry workers often have stressful work days as well as unpredictable work schedules. A lot of them don’t have nice work environments either. Not to mention, a lot of these jobs lack health benefits, paid leave, opportunities for advancement, and job security. Many minimum wage employees work on weekends and holidays. A lot of them work 8-hour days while some can work even more. Some even have more than one job if they work part-time. Some may even experience workplace injury or illness. A lot require constant human interaction, time management, and multitasking. Let’s just say there’s a very good reason why a lot of minimum wage jobs have high turnover rates. These aren’t easy jobs anyone can do. They’re thankless, stressful, and grueling jobs while these workers receive little respect for all the crap they put up with on a regular basis. I spent a Christmas season working at Macy’s which paid $8 an hour. I spent hours on my feet that I had a lot of aches and pains. I also had to deal with hours of Christmas music in the background. By the end of my shift I was exhausted. I have often seen ads for many of these jobs which have a long list of duties and responsibilities as well as skills like patience, knowledge, care, and communication. There are plenty of caregiving jobs with educational requirements that pay minimum wage like home healthcare and childcare. Hell, even hairdressers and manicurists can earn low wages and they have to go through cosmetology school. Some low wage jobs can require at least an associate’s degree or even a 4-year college education. Building services may also require special skills. For instance, janitors may have a wide range of duties besides indoor cleaning like maintenance, security, and yard work. The cleaning industry is known for hiring 17-23% of undocumented immigrants as well as posts a median pay of $10.68 an hour (though many school janitors get paid more than the teachers so it’s not always a low wage job). Bank tellers, data entry keyers, cooks, pharmacy assistants, clerks, hotel receptionists, and security guards can also be paid minimum wage. In many ways, I think the terms “low-skilled” or “unskilled labor” just refers to jobs with shitty pay.

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Many people argue that low wage work is such because they don’t require a lot of skills, education, and lack social value. If that were true, then explain to me why Cesar Chavez became so famous for organizing farm workers for better conditions. Yeah, that doesn’t hold up.

5. Most Minimum Wage Jobs Don’t Lack Social Value– When most people think of jobs paying minimum wage, they tend to think about people working at fast food restaurants which only consist of 5% of low wage jobs. In fact, most low income jobs pay poor may have little to do with their value in society. Or if they do, then it might be a reason they’re paid so poorly in the first place. At any rate, they’re all around us which include security guards, nurse’s aides and home healthcare aides, child-care workers, educational assistants, maids and porters, janitors, call center workers, bank tellers, data entry keyers, food preparation workers, waiters and waitresses, cooks, pharmacy assistants, hairdressers, manicurists, fish and meat processors, sewing machine operators, laundry and dry cleaning operators, ambulance drivers, parking lot attendants, and farm workers. Sure there may be people in these jobs who make good money like a janitor at a public school or hairdressers. But we’re talking about general trends. We’re not necessarily talking about people who make no contribution to society. In fact, we’re talking about people in jobs that don’t get much respect. If you don’t believe me, then think about how Caesar Chavez became so famous for organizing California farm workers in the 1960s. Or why so many workplaces and corporations in the service industry take major steps to keep their low wage workers from unionizing.

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This is a graph from the Economic Policy Institute illustrating how a minimum wage increase would affect American families. After all, low wage workers are usually responsible for half of their family’s earnings. Not to mention, 1 out of 5 kids has a parent who’d be helped.

6. Raising the Minimum Wage Will Benefit Workers and Their Families– Even if you work full-time at $7.25 an hour, you’re lucky to retain $225 a week or $12,000 a year after taxes and deductions. This is precisely threshold of poverty for a single person. Not enough to pay rent or take care of dependent children. In fact, it’s barely surviving. In no state can a minimum wage worker afford a 2 bedroom unit at a fair market rent, working a standard 40 hour work week. Or at least without paying more than 30% of their income. But a lot of minimum wage workers are trying to pay rent and have dependent children to support sometimes by themselves, which is why many are on welfare and food stamps. In addition to the 1.3 million people working at minimum wage, raising it to $10 per hour would help 1.7 million working below it, and 21 million working above the minimum but below that amount. So you’re talking about a third of the workforce. 17.5 million children will also benefit since at least one of their parents will get a raise. Raising the minimum wage to $12 or $15 an hour could benefit even more. Not to mention since women and minorities are disproportionately represented in low wage jobs, raising the minimum wage could help close significant gender and racial pay gaps.

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Here’s a snapshot on how many hours a person would have to work a week on $7.25 an hour to afford rent in the country. As you see, all the values are above 40 hours.

7. Raising the Minimum Wage Benefits the Economy– When workers are paid more, they’re more likely to spend more, especially when it comes to their own companies or hometowns. This explains why Henry Ford decided to pay his workers high wages to make and later buy his cars. Now Ford wasn’t a nice guy. But even he knew that workers are customers and the better a worker’s ability to participate in the economy as a consumer, the better off businesses and the economy will be as a whole. Though businesses might experience a dip in their profits, they’re able to pay higher wages without reducing employment because the savings can be substantial even if greater productivity and lower turnover may not fully pay for the minimum wage increase. Workers earning low wages are less committed to their jobs and less likely to stay for long. Employee turnover forces businesses to constantly find and train new workers, costing them significant money and time. Most of the time the new recruits may not be as optimally efficient during their training period as the experienced and productive workers they replaced. This can incur indirect costs to businesses from lost sales and imperfect customer service as new workers learn on the job. Add to that the fact a lot large retail companies like QuikTrip, Mercadona, Trader Joe’s, and Costco not only invest heavily in their employees, but also have the lowest prices in their industries, solid financial performance, and better customer service than their competitors. They also have better reputations, more work satisfaction, and less employee theft. 89% of small businesses in the country also pay their employees more than the federal minimum wage. Many small business owners believe higher wages level the playing field by preventing larger and less scrupulous firms from gaining a competitive advantage through very low labor costs. A strategy adopted by large corporations such as retail giants like T.J. Maxx, Walmart, Gap, and Ikea which have enjoyed record profits for years as well as employ 2/3 of all low wage workers. It’s no surprise why most small businesses support increasing the minimum wage to at least $12 an hour, some to even $15. In many ways, this makes a lot of sense since these large retail giants see workers as expendable while small businesses need to hold onto their best employees for as long as they can. Small businesses and large companies have proven that the key to their success is a combination of investment in the workforce and operational practices benefiting employees, customers, and the company.

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This map show the lot of tipped workers many of whom can earn below minimum wage at a rate as low as $2.13 an hour + tips. But the system in paying tipped workers is so complex that these workers are subject to manipulation and abuse. Many have had their tips stolen by their bosses. And many live in poverty.

8. Current Tipped Minimum Wage Laws Are Terrible– According to the National Employment Law Project, an estimated 4.3 million people work in predominantly tipped occupations in the US. Employees classified as tipped workers if they receive at least $30 per month in tips and the current federal tipped worker minimum wage is $2.13 an hour, which is less than a third of the current federal minimum wage and has remained unchanged since the 1990s. While most tipped workers are in the restaurant industry, these include car wash workers, nail salon workers, valets, and airport attendants among others. Two thirds of tipped workers are women which makes the subminimum tipped wage a form of legislated pay inequity. Many tipped workers use these tips to support their families and to pay for higher education like student loans. Labor movements have called to eliminate the tipped minimum wage. 7 states already have and their tipped workers earn full minimum wage + tips which I strongly think is how tipped workers should be paid anyway. New York’s tipped minimum wage is $7.50 which is more than 83% its full minimum wage. And in Hawaii, tipped workers only earn less than half minimum wage if they receive more than generous tips. Other states and D.C. have also increased their tipped minimum wage above $2.13 an hour. But these rates aren’t equal and aren’t always fair. And personally, I find the idea of a subminimum tipped wage as absolutely unfair and ridiculous. Add to that the fact employers are required to make up the difference if a tipped worker’s base wage and tips doesn’t add to the full minimum wage. But this is a complex system that’s both difficult to comply with and largely unenforceable for these reasons:

  1. It requires extensive tracking and accounting tip flows which even law-abiding employers find burdensome and difficult. This also allows less ethical employers to take advantage of this notorious complex system to illegally keep a portion of tips for themselves. Thus, this results in many tipped employees failing to receive the tips which they’re entitled to as well as have their income prone to manipulation and abuse.
  2. Employers are allowed to average tips over the course of the work week and required to “top up” only if an employee’s average hourly earnings are less than the full minimum wage. They’re also allowed to estimate their workers’ tips in order to determine how much tax to withhold. Though this estimation approach isn’t sufficient for federal minimum wage compliance, many employers use this anyway though they don’t actually verify that their workers really do receive enough tips to bring them up to the full minimum wage. One southern New Jersey waitress told NELP, “They just take our total sales for the day—say it’s [a couple] hundred dollars—and they just [estimate] 15% of that.” Under the federal minimum wage law, this is illegal as well as overstates tips since many customers tip less than 15% and “a few times a week” a customer leaves no tip at all.
  3. Tips are allowed to be pooled among various types of restaurant employees, giving a portion of those tips a server receives to legitimately be reallocated to other workers. This is a frequent and sometimes legally dubious practice at many businesses across the country as well as creates other opportunities for unethical employers to illegally skin off a portion of these tips for themselves or use to pay other employees whether they’re tipped or not.
  4. Tipped workers who’ve experienced tip-stealing or other forms of wage theft are often reluctant to demand what they’re owed in fear of reprisal. Many of rely on their supervisors to schedule their shifts and make more or less in tips depending on what shifts they’re given. So complaining about being ripped off might lead to being scheduled on a less profitable shift or simply fired.
  5. Tip stealing is rampant in industries that employ tipped workers who are often victims. Tip violations can take various forms but ultimately, they all result in tipped workers losing some of their tips to improve the employer’s bottom line. Some employers simply pocket a portion for tip pools while others can be less direct such as including non-tipped workers in the tip pool so they can be paid the lower minimum wage for tipped workers. Sometimes restaurants can take advantage of communication barriers among workers. The National Employment Law Project mentioned a waitress setting aside 15% of her tips for bussers but was expected to pay upfront and didn’t know whether they got it. They also discuss how waiters and waitresses in an upstate New York town exposed that managers had simply pocketed a portion of their tips they deducted, supposedly to share with the bussers. Additionally, they also talked about a Maryland waitress who already shared her tips with a captain, bussers, and host who finally contacted a union for help when the restaurant’s managers tried to take a portion of her tips for themselves as well. Several high profile lawsuits have recently been filed in response to these practices.
  6. According to a 2014 report by the White House Economic Council and the Department of Labor, 1 in 10 surveyed tipped workers reported hourly wages below the federal minimum wage, tips included. This compared to 4% of all workers reporting earnings below minimum wage.
  7. Compliance and enforcement challenges aside, despite requiring employers to make up the difference between tips and statutory minimum wage, it remains the case that customers are directly responsible for paying a portion of workers’ wages under this system. Thus, instead of being a gratuity for good service, having a subminimum tipped wage renders tips a customer-funded wage replacement and lowers labor costs for employers in a few select industries.
  8. Work for tipped employees is inherently uneven and often unpredictable with most making substantial amounts on Friday and Saturday nights and much less other days of the week. In addition, bad weather, a bad economy, seasonal change, and a host of other factors can cause sudden drops in tipped income and economic insecurity. Also, tips can fluctuate widely and are often paid in cash.
  9. Nationwide, the median tipped wage for servers is $10.11 per hour and $9.89 for waitresses. This despite claims from the restaurant industry that servers make a median between $16 and $22 per hour. The median wage for all workers nationwide is $16.48 per hour. Median wages for tipped workers in general are nearly 40% lower than overall median hourly wages.
  10. 46% of tipped workers depend on public assistance from the federal government which is well over the rate of 35.9% for all workers. 12.8% of tipped workers in the US live in poverty, including 15% of restaurant servers. In fact, servers experience poverty at well over twice the rate of the overall US workforce. They’re also only a quarter as likely as the workforce as a whole to receive employer-provided health insurance and are twice as likely to be uninsured. In states the federal tipped minimum of $2.13 per hour is implemented, 14% of tipped workers and 18% of servers live in poverty. In states where tipped workers are paid full minimum wage + tips, the poverty rate for them is 10.8% and 10.2% for servers.
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Despite fierce contention in the media and in Congress, raising minimum wage has wide support among Americans. This NELP graph illustrates this.

9. Raising the Minimum Wage Has Wide Support– Most Americans feel the minimum wage is too low and are concerned about rising inequality. A 2014 Public Policy Polling shows that 80% of respondents don’t believe they could support themselves or their families on minimum wage. Other polls show that 7 in 10 Americans believe that income inequality is getting worse and nearly as many believe the government has a role to play in reducing the gap between rich and poor. A 2013 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 57% of Americans want lawmakers to address income inequality. The Hart Research Associates shows that 75% of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $12.50 or more by 2020, including 92% of Democrats, 53% of Republicans, 73% of Independents, 80% of women, and 72% of non-college whites. On the small business front, support for increasing the minimum wage is 61% or 3 in 5. 63% of Americans support a $15.00 minimum wage. 71% of Americans favor eliminating the subminimum tipped waged to ensure tipped employees the same minimum wage as other workers. 82% support automatic annual minimum wage increases to ensure it keeps up with the annual costs of living. There is no reason why Congress should be unable to pass The Raise the Wage law right now, even with a Republican majority. At least as far as the American people are concerned.

10. Minimum Wage Laws Unfairly Exempt Disabled People– Under the current federal law, the Secretary of Labor can issue special wage certificates to employers allowing them to pay disabled workers a subminimum wage, sometimes just a few cents per hour and in segregated work environments where they often perform mundane tasks that don’t use their existing skills, interests, and talents. Yet, this exemption is based on an antiquated notion that encourages disabled workers to rely on Social Security Income, Medicaid, food stamps, or other government programs in order to get by. There are also current training and employment strategies to assist those with even the most significant disabilities to obtain integrated and meaningful work. And when paired with the right rehabilitative tools, training, and expectations, employees with disabilities can be as productive as their nondisabled peers. It’s also discriminatory since nobody should be paid below the minimum wage, disabled or not. And I say that even if the minimum wage is too low.

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During the Gilded Age, those in blue collar professions worked in terrible working conditions with long hours and shitty pay. Many of these workers were children, some of them as old as kindergartners, mostly because their parents worked in the same place and didn’t earn enough to support a family. Still, we should also acknowledge that once workplace regulations and protections were in place, these large companies still earned money and lost nothing.

11. Blue Collar Jobs Used to Have Shitty Pay– Yes, I’m well aware that a lot of jobs in the service industry pay minimum wage or even less than that. And yes, I know many argue low wages are a cost-driven necessity for these jobs. On the other hand, you have a lot of blue collar jobs in mining and manufacturing which many people see as good paying jobs that many working class people lament leaving their hometowns or being outsourced. However, we should also acknowledge that blue collar jobs were the shit jobs of 19th and early 20th century industrialization with dangerous conditions, long hours, and very low pay. And I mean like working in the mine for 14 hour days on a wage that can’t support your family. So now your eight year old has to drop out of school and go to work with you. It wasn’t unusual for whole families to work in a factory, including the kids who could be as young as four years old. Now we’re talking about a time when there were no workplace safety protections, no minimum wage, no workers’ rights, and institutionalized child labor. So what changed? Well, these workers organized into unions and went on strike for their rights, not just risking getting fired but also getting killed. And they faced staunch opposition from their robber baron bosses. Yet, once they got what they wanted, these blue-collar jobs were no longer seen as shit jobs by later generations. In fact, they were seen as jobs that could support a family and local economies benefitted just the same. But this shows us that the existence of shit jobs has more to do with an employer’s desire for cheap and expendable labor than what the job entails. Also, keeping workers dependent on them that they’ll put up with any abuse they give them. Not to mention, it supports the argument that low wages are a choice and not a cost-driven necessity. This is why a lot of corporations don’t want to raise the minimum wage or have their workers unionize. Not only that, but also that the shit jobs of today don’t have to be the shit jobs of tomorrow if we invest more in our workers. Raising the minimum wage is a good place to start.

12. Raising the Minimum Wage Saves Taxpayer Money– With wages being what they are, many low income workers have relied on public assistance because their paycheck can’t cover basic expenses. Even if they work for companies that could certainly afford to pay them a raise and benefits. American taxpayers spend an annual $153 billion in taxpayer money helping low wage earning families get by. This includes food stamps, Medicaid, CHIP, TANF as well as childcare subsidies and reduced-free school lunch programs. These programs help Americans meet a basic standard of living despite being targets for cuts and reductions. But having workers rely on public assistance has more to do with their employers paying them nothing more than poverty wages. Therefore, the government is indirectly subsidizing these companies that refuse to pay more. In fact, some companies like McDonald’s doesn’t even hide that half their workforce is on welfare and even encourage their employees to seek public assistance. Higher wages at work save taxpayer money since they lift more people out of poverty and produce more tax revenue. Sorry, libertarians, but cheap labor doesn’t come cheap.

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This is a graph from the Economic Policy Institute that shows what the average minimum wage worker. Despite the stereotype of a teenage working after school, most minimum wage earners are adults who work full time as well as earn more than half of their family’s total income.

13. Low Wages Don’t Relieve Poverty– Contrary to what conservatives said about minimum wage jobs being for teens trying to earn extra money and experience, 89% of minimum wage workers are 20 years old or over while many are women and people of color. 37% of them have at least some college education. A third of them are over 30. Not to mention, 57% of minimum wage jobs are full-time and are unlikely filled by teens anyway. Some low wage industries don’t hire teens at all. That being said, statistics show a lot of low wage workers make nearly to over half their family’s income and 28% of them are parents. Sometimes they could be the family’s chief breadwinner, especially in single parent households. In every state working the minimum wage leaves a full-time worker with two kids below the poverty line. Not to mention, low-income wage earners may work multiple jobs which gives them even less time to spend with their kids as well as take care of themselves. At worst this could lead to a case like Maria Fernandes who worked so hard to make ends meet that she died from gas fumes in her car while napping between shifts. Fernandes was said to work 4 jobs and sometimes didn’t sleep for nearly a week. There were a couple occasions when single mothers were busted for leaving their kids unsupervised due to working 3 jobs and lack of available childcare options. Many low income workers have also experienced a considerable toll on their health while their children suffer in school and in life. No one who works for a living should have to live in or near poverty, especially full-time.

14. Raising the Minimum Wage Has Expert Support– In January 2014, over 600 economists across the country sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders arguing for a minimum wage raise to $10.10 by 2016 and then indexed to protect it against inflation. 7 of these were Nobel Prize winners. Even the Department of Labor supports this measure and think it’s a better idea than the current minimum wage laws we have now.

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Here’s a map from the Wall Street Journal showing the minimum wage increases within each state. Of course, some pay below or have no minimum wage laws at all.

15. The Minimum Wage Has Been Raised in Localities and States– As of 2016, 29 states, D. C., as well as countless localities have raised the minimum wage, many in recent years. Some have even enacted measures to increase the minimum wage automatically with inflation and the costs of living. Not only that, but despite congressional Republican opposition, raising the wage in these states, D.C., and other jurisdictions weren’t just mere liberals pushing for it. Sure Washington State, Oregon, California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts voted for minimum wage increases. But so have red states like West Virginia, Arkansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska, Missouri, and Montana. Swing states like Florida, Michigan, Arizona, and Ohio have also raised their minimum wage. The fact minimum wage increases have passed in states of various political leanings should emphasize its widespread support among party lines.

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Despite that many opponents of minimum wage increases argue that raising it would kill jobs or raise prices, keep in mind that none of them bring up this argument when it comes to skyrocketing CEO pay while regular wages remain stagnant. Seriously if your company can afford to give a CEO a generous severance package of a few million bucks, they can raise wages on their lowest paying workers. It’s not hard to see.

16. Opposition to Minimum Wage Increases Has More to Do with Self-Interest and Ideology– I know there are people who argue that raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy as well as kill jobs and raise prices. However, we need to understand that despite bipartisan and expert support, raising the minimum wage is still seen as a mainly liberal issue in the halls of Congress. Why? Because a lot of Republican politicians are bankrolled by big corporate lobbies who would rather use cheap labor, many of whom boast record profits and very much can afford to pay their workers more. There are a lot of libertarian and conservative economists and think tanks to back them up, some of whom want to abolish minimum wage which just makes workers even more prone to further exploitation. Believers in free market and trickle down economics usually see low wage jobs as a cost-driven necessity for economic prosperity. But employers often use this argument to justify not giving their impoverished employees a raise for decades, including your Gilded Age robber barons. Besides, no Fortune 500 CEO uses this argument when it comes to their own pay, which has skyrocketed dramatically. I mean the median CEO to worker pay ratio has risen from 20-to-1 in 1965 to 204-to-1 in 2015. Some of the highest paid CEOs make 300 times more than their typical employees. There are plenty of CEOs with million dollar salaries as well as stock options/grants, bonuses, benefits, and other perks. Hell, even bad CEOs receive generous severance packages whenever they left their companies in worse shape than when they took over. Yet, no libertarian or conservative argues that raising their pay will contribute to higher prices, job loss, or worse economies. Or why people end up paying higher prices and lose their jobs while worker wages remain stagnant. Yes, I know that a CEO’s job may require more skills, education, and talent than a lot of minimum wage occupations and that we’ve been through a recession. But it doesn’t convince me why conservatives and libertarians think raising the minimum wage will lead to economic ruin while raising CEO compensation won’t. Surely a company that can generously compensate its own CEO can pay its lowest earning workers $15 an hour, which is just small potatoes. So I think it’s more of a matter of corporate greed and self-interest.

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This quote by Chris Rock perfectly explains why we need the federal government should raise the minimum wage. Most companies will not give their employees a raise by themselves. They need to be mandated to do it.

17. Large Employers Are Unlikely to Increase Wages on Their Own– While many conservatives and libertarians might tell us that workers would be better paid if it weren’t for all those pesky taxes regulations, it is not the case. The robber barons during the Gilded Age didn’t pay federal income taxes until the 16th Amendment passed in 1916 and none of their tax dollars went to benefit their impoverished, overworked, and underpaid employees. Not to mention, their workplace policies are the reason why we have so many regulations and agencies to protect workers today. Besides, there are plenty of large corporations exploit federal tax loopholes so they don’t have to pay at all. And yet, conservatives and libertarians claim that if we get rid of the tax burden with social welfare programs and regulations, the “free market” will provide and take care of workers. Uh, excuse me but during the Gilded Age, those tax supported social programs didn’t exist and I’m pretty sure the free market didn’t take care of those low wage workers. Unions and the government policies they lobbied for while facing staunch opposition from these large companies. Besides, corporations lobby at all levels of government like crazy for direct and indirect public assistance like bailouts, subsidies, special tax breaks, deductions, tax and policy loopholes specifically designed for them, so-called “right to work” laws, and more. Say what you want about welfare, but I’d rather have my tax dollars go to assisting poor people than to a $3 billion a year corporate jet subsidy, a $200 billion Wall Street bailout, special tax breaks to hedge fund managers allowing them to pay a 15% tax rate, or a $70 billion a year home mortgage deduction with 77% going to people earning over $100,000. Sure corporations may like lower taxes and less regulations but even if they get what they want from their political lackeys, they will not give workers a raise unless they’re pressured to either by unions, government policy, or both. But wait, what about companies that pay workers better wages like Costco? Yes, there are big businesses that treat their workers generously like Costco but the Costcos in this world are the exception to the rule, especially in sectors that hire low wage workers. Therefore, federal government action to raise the minimum wage is necessary.

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By raising the federal minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour, corporations will only have to spend just 1/3 cent of every dollar spent on wages, according the the Congressional Budget office. So I’m confident these large companies with minimum wage labor can totally afford it.

18. Raising the Minimum Wage Is the Right Thing to Do– Economics aside, we should consider the fact that as earnings from corporations and the top 1% increased to dramatic new high, wages have stagnated or lost value even as productivity also rose. This could never be more true for low income workers. Raising the minimum wage will protect the most powerless in our workforce. Now could anyone say whether it’s fair for businesses to boast big profits while paying their employees poverty wages? Of course not. Is it fair for someone to live in poverty despite working a full-time job? Hell no. And if raising the minimum wage hurts their profits, why should I care? I mean a big company like McDonald’s is unlikely to lose business if they pay their workers $15 an hour since they’ll usually make a big profit anyway. Besides, most small businesses pay their staff more than minimum wage anyway since they can’t afford replacing them while retaining a competitive edge against their larger counterparts. As for price increases, well, they usually rise whether wages increase or not. And studies show that the increases won’t be much. What about jobs? If raising the wage results in reduced hiring and hours and more job loss by big companies, it won’t be due to economics. It would be more or less because of greedy executives who’d use just about any excuse to cut their workforces. Small businesses, on the other hand, are more worried about poor sales than being trounced by their big business counterparts than anything. Even if raising the minimum wage does hurt the economy like its critics have predicted, what about the concept of economic justice? I think that should matter. After all, labor is critical to a business’s success and workers who dedicate their time and effort into that company should get a bigger cut in that. Look, from how I see it, there’s no good reason to not raise the minimum wage. And above all, no one working a full time job should live in poverty. Even though I know that raising the wage won’t cure poverty any time soon, at least it can show a good example by making businesses invest more in their workforce. It’s about time.

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As FDR said himself, nobody should work a full time job and still live in poverty. Workers have a right for a decent living wage which has been denied to many in the name of profit. So raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do. Besides, what’s wrong with economic justice for God’s sake?

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Stolen Pay: Why We Need to Know About Wage Theft

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump often likes to cast himself as a protector of workers and jobs as well as a great businessman. However, recently he’s come under considerable scrutiny as it’s been recently revealed that he’s been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past 3 decades. A large number of these pertain to ordinary Americans who say that Trump and his companies have refused to pay them for their work. According to USA Today, these include a Florida dishwasher, a New Jersey glass company, a plumber, a carpet company, painters, 48 waiters, dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs all over the country, real estate brokers who sold his properties, and even several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others. Trump and co. have also been cited for 24 violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to the US Department of Labor data. In addition to the lawsuits, there were more than 200 mechanic’s liens filed by contractors and employees against Trump, claiming that they were owed money for their work since the 1980s. These range from a $75,000 from a Plainview, NY, heating and air conditioning company to a $1 million claim from a New York City real estate banking firm. On his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, the New Jersey Casino Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, included workers who installed chandeliers, walls, and plumbing.

All of these actions described above paint Trump and his sprawling organization frequently failing to pay small businesses and individuals, then sometimes tying them up in court and other negotiations for years. In some cases, Trump’s team financially overpowers and outlasts much smaller opponents, sometimes draining their resources. Some just give up the fight, settle for less, end up in bankruptcy, or out of business altogether. Such actions described above are well-known cases of wage theft. Donald Trump has been a long practitioner of this but he’s hardly the only one. In recent years, workers ranging from NFL cheerleaders, Senate cafeteria workers, fast food workers, retail workers, high tech engineers, nail salon workers, and computer animators have found themselves victimized by this very real and very heinous act by their employers. Often, employees find themselves powerless to do anything about it. And if they do, they often have to act through the court system and risk losing almost everything. But since people rely on their job so much to make a living, this is a very important issue with it becoming the fastest growing crime wave in the United States. But it’s not often reported and it’s tough to see how widespread this problem is. However, at any rate, wage theft is a problem we need to discuss and need to demand action on because it affects so many people’s lives. And here I have this handy FAQ guide to show you.

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Yes, this is what wage theft actually is. Unfortunately, Mr. Orange Nuclear Meltdown doesn’t understand this. Because he’s been a constant violator according to the lawsuits former employees subject him to.

What Is Wage Theft?

Wage theft is when an employer denies pay and/or benefits that are rightfully owed to an employee. Wage theft can be conducted through various means such as failure to pay overtime, minimum wage violations, employee misclassification, illegal deductions in pay, working off the clock, having tips stolen, or not being paid at all. In short, the boss is not paying workers for all of their work. Or not paying for the work at the rate they said they would or what the employees are entitled to by law.

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If you experience any of these at work, you might be a victim of wage theft. Because these are common signs like being paid under the table, kept working despite clocking out early, having tips stolen, and not receiving meal or rest breaks.

Types of Wage Theft:

Overtime– This is the most common form of wage theft. The US Fair Labor Standards Act dictates that employees are entitled to receive overtime pay calculated at least 1.5 the regular rate for all time worked past 40 hours a week. Some exemptions only apply to public service agencies or employees who meet certain requirements in accordance to their job duties along with no less than a $455 weekly salary (or $23,660 a year). So unless employees meet the exemption criteria, they’re usually entitled to overtime if they work over 40 hours a week period. Employers can’t change overtime laws and can’t avoid paying overtime by enacting a no-overtime policy or getting employees to agree on special deals. Unfortunately, it’s common for employers to treat overtime as a personal choice when it’s not. And despite regulations, many employees aren’t being paid overtime due to them. Common overtime violations include:

  • Improperly Calculated Overtime Pay– Employers must calculate overtime on the actual 40-hour workweek regardless of pay period whether it be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Many employers are said to average hours over 2 or more weeks, not including all payments in calculating overtime pay rate, not paying employees for all hours worked over a 40 hour work week, not including time spent preparing for work (donning and doffing), and requiring employees to wort through unpaid meal breaks. Such errors may not always be accidental.
  • Comp Time Instead of Overtime Pay– Compensatory time is paid time off for extra hours worked that’s generally granted to hourly employees instead of overtime wages. It can sometimes be legal (though it’s often not due to fear of employer abuse) but employers must pay it at 150%, the same rate as overtime wages. To give employees to take compensatory time or extra paid time off in lieu of overtime pay is illegal under federal law. Furthermore, those who do take the compensatory time option aren’t always guaranteed time off whether they want it or need it.
  • Employees Not Allowed to Report Work over 40 Hours Per Week– Many employers have rules that no overtime work will be permitted or paid for unless authorized in advance. Some employers choose to ignore when hourly employees work overtime or don’t allow employees to work overtime hours. This violates overtime rules.
  • Misclassification of Employees as Exempt Workers– Exempt employees are by law workers not entitled to receive overtime pay. Whether an employee is exempt or not can be confusing. However, it has nothing to do with one’s job or job description or whether one is paid a salary or hourly. It depends on what an employee actually does on their job on a daily basis that determines whether or not they’re legally entitled to overtime pay.

Not Paying for Meals and Rest Period Pay – Meals need not be counted as work time if they are at least 30 minutes long and the employee is relieved from active duty during the meal period even if they must remain available. An employee who works through lunch is working and that time must be counted. An employee who eats a sandwich at the desk or is required to monitor a machine is working through lunch. However, many employers who have their employees work through lunch are guilty of this.

Not Paying for Off the Clock Work– Many FLSA lawsuits involve employers failing to include time spent by employees performing work activities outside their normal shifts. Some may come early and start working before the official start time of their shifts. Such time is work time and must be included in FLSA pay computations, provided only that the employer knew or should’ve known that the employee was beginning work early (and to the extent that the employee spent pre-shift time performing work activities). Pre-shift roll calls are work time. Time spent setting up equipment before the official start of a shift is work time. Some employees may similarly stay late after shifts performing works which should be counted as work time as well. Travel time and on-call time is work time. Time spent by an employee cleaning equipment after the close of a shift is work time. Post shift work time can also include time spent by an employee performing job related activities on the way home like a secretary dropping off the day’s mail at the post office or delivering some paperwork to a customer or supplier. Some employees take work home. That time may well be work time. Similarly if an employee is contacted at home by phone for work related reasons, the time spent is work time (as well as when an employee is called back to work, the time counts as work time). This is a very common wage violation by employers.

Minimum Wage– The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It’s a poverty wage that’s not able to support a family but that’s beside the point. For tipped workers, it’s $2.13 an hour as long as it’s fixed and the tips add up to be at the federal or above the federal minimum wage which I think is stupid. Some states also have legislation that sets a state minimum wage as well. Depending on the state, the employee is always entitled to the higher standard of compensation. A common form of wage theft for tipped employees is to receive no standard pay and stealing tips. The Wage and Hour Division is said to be generally contacted by 25,000 people a year in regards to concerns and violations of minimum wage pay. Paying employees less than minimum wage is a very common wage theft practice.

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Missclassification is a common method of wage theft in which employers try to pass their workers off as independent contractors. The difference between employee and independent contractor is in this infographic.

Misclassification– One of the more extensive and insidious forms of wage theft which leaves workers especially vulnerable. Under the FLSA, independent contractors aren’t covered by tax and wage laws that apply to regular employees. Nor do they receive the same protection as employees for certain benefits. Thus, independent contractors aren’t entitled to a minimum wage, overtime, insurance, protection, or other employee rights. Nor do employers pay Social Security, Medicare, payroll taxes, or federal unemployment insurance on contract employees. Independent contractors also have to pay payroll taxes to the IRS. The difference between the two classifications depends on the permanency of employment, opportunity for profit and loss, as well as the worker’s level of self-employment along with their degree of control. Nevertheless, employers are strongly motivated to classify regular employees as contract workers to save costs, a practice known as pay roll fraud. A 2007 study in New York state found that 704,785 workers or 10.3% of the state’s private sector workforce was misclassified each year. For industries covered in this study, average unemployment insurance taxable wages underreported due to misclassification was on average $4.3 billion for the year while the unemployment insurance tax underreported in these industries was $176 million.

Illegal Deductions– Employees are subject to forms of wage theft through this method. Trivial to sometimes fabricated workplace violations are used to validate deductions. Any deduction that brings an employee to a level of compensation less than the minimum wage is also illegal. In many states, employers are required to issue employees documentation of deductions along with earnings. Failure to issue such documentation is generally prevalent in workplaces subject to wage theft.

Full Wage Theft– Employers are legally obligated to pay employees. However, this doesn’t always happen and is the most blatant and extreme form of wage theft.

Other– These may include putting pressure on injured workers not to file for workers’ compensation, being denied time off or vacation time they have required, being denied pay for sick leave or vacation time, not paying final paycheck to workers who’ve left, delaying payments (not paying on scheduled paydays or on a timely basis), bounced paychecks, stealing and pooling tips, unpaid internships, not reimbursing expenses, not keeping or fabricating records of hours worked, not paying for training, and under staffing. These could depend on state and local jurisdictions.

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According to the FBI, more money is lost to wage theft than in any other property crimes including robbery, auto theft, burglary, and larceny. And money number is only from the reported cases.

How Common Is Wage Theft?

Wage theft is widespread in the United States existing in all professions and affecting all workers regardless of race, gender, or legal status. When it comes to ripping employees off, employers don’t discriminate. But low-income workers and immigrants tend to be the most vulnerable. Yet, this could happen to higher income employees as well such as in high tech companies. So don’t think you can’t become a victim of wage theft because you can. While no one knows exactly how big this problem is, federal and state agencies have recovered $933 million for wage theft victims in 2012 while property taken in all thefts and robberies amounted to under $341 million. Research suggests that American workers are getting screwed out of $20 billion to $50 billion annually. The odds of you becoming a victim of wage theft are likely but some workers are more vulnerable than others.

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Undocumented immigrants are the most vulnerable to wage theft due to their precarious legal status that leaves them unable to speak up without risking deportation. Many employers take full advantage of this by paying them under the table and threatening to call immigration on them if they get out of line.

Who Are Most Vulnerable to Wage Theft?

Low income workers are the most vulnerable to wage theft, particularly in fields that employ women, people of color, and foreign born populations. Foreign-born women are at a much greater risk for wage violations than their male counterparts. Undocumented immigrants stood at the highest risk levels. Education, longer tenured employment, union membership, and English proficiency proved to be influential factors in reducing wage theft for the aforementioned demographics. Wage theft is more common in small businesses with less than 100 employees than larger companies. Workplaces with flat rate compensation or cash under the table payments also reported a higher instance in wage theft. We should also take into account that while low income workers are most vulnerable to wage theft, they’re the least likely to report it as well as suffer the most devastating consequences. When a worker only earns a minimum wage ($290 for a 40 hour workweek), shaving a mere half hour of the day from the paycheck could mean a loss of more than $1,400 a year, including overtime premiums. That could be nearly 10% of a minimum wage employee’s earnings which could be the difference between paying the rent and utilities or risking eviction and the loss of gas, water, or electric service.

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This infographic illustrates the real costs of wage theft which consist of less income, time poverty, and a poor workplace environment. Wage theft is wrong, it hurts families, it hurts people’s well being, and leads to further worker abuse.

Why Is Wage Theft Bad?

Think of it this way, if you spend several hours working your ass off and your boss doesn’t pay you the money or benefits you should be receiving, you would surely feel very upset about it. After all, you worked for it, you earned it. Therefore, your employer is required to pay you for all the work you did for them. This is how the employer-employee relationship is supposed to work. If your boss doesn’t pay what you deserve, then it’s obviously unfair. Your boss is ripping you off. Wage theft costs workers billions of dollars a year, a transfer from low income employees to business owners that worsens income inequality, hurts workers and their families, and damages the sense of fairness and justice that a democracy needs to survive. And when low wage workers are underpaid, taxpayers face the burden of supporting workers whose employers haven’t paid into Social Security taxes and other funds. Plus the millions of dollars lost in tax revenue. Not only that, but the money your average low income worker loses in unpaid wages is not reinvested in the economy. Meanwhile businesses who do pay their employees without resorting to wage theft find it hard to compete in a market with their additional employee-related expenses.

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Employers resort to wage theft because it keeps their costs down, saves them money, and easily get away with it. In other words, when it comes to profit margins, wage theft is good business despite being illegal.

Why Would Employers Commit Wage Theft?

Many businesses violate wage and hour laws for 3 reasons. First, paying employees less gives them a competitive advantage or higher profit and have little fear of getting caught or punished. If a business can get away with illegally pay its employees a salary with no overtime, it will be able to sell its products more cheaply than one who complies with the laws and pays their workers time-and-a-half for overtime work. If a business pays its “interns” nothing while its competitors all pay interns the minimum wage, it will be able to charge clients less and steal business away from its competitors. Second, even if a business doesn’t lower prices to undercut competitors, it still pockets the difference between the wage owed and the wage paid. Thus, the employee’s loss is the owner’s extra point. Third, there’s a very low chance the employer will be caught cheating on wages so most don’t usually think twice about the consequences. After all, employers usually can afford the better legal defense and the fact wage theft laws are typically weak and insufficiently enforced. As of 2014, there are only 1,000 to 1,100 federal Wage and Hour Division investigators for the whole country who are responsible for investigating over 7 million businesses and protecting over 100-135 million employees. In 2012, they only conducted fewer than 35,000 investigations and recovered about $280 million in unpaid wages to 308,000 workers. State labor departments and attorneys general combined recovered even less. Not to mention, many federal wage theft cases are thrown out because the Department of Labor couldn’t resolve them within two years. At the state and local level, it’s often even worse since few local governments have the resources to combat wage theft and several states have cut their labor department’s. Even if businesses do get caught, they’re rarely punished. Consequences for violations found are often no more than an order to pay back the wages owed or even a fraction of the total amount. This despite that the FLSA makes the employer liable for the full amount as well as additional equal amount for liquidated damages. But at any rate, the FLSA’s civil penalties for willful and repeat violations are too small to deter offenders from engaging in similar violations in the future. For instance the maximum penalty for failure to pay overtime and minimum wage being $1,100 whether the culprit be some local ice cream shop or a giant multinational corporation like Walmart. Yet, Wage and Hour failed even to seek a penalty in most of its cases for many years. And despite that the FLSA makes repeated willful pay violations a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, criminal penalties are rarely if ever used. At state and local levels, wage theft laws can be even weaker while enforcement is even more insufficient.

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Wage theft often goes underreported mostly because the party with the power and resources is often the perpetrator or the employer. Victims who decide to take action often face uphill battles, lost savings, lost careers, and possibly very little back pay and justice if they win. It’s a very sad situation.

Why Does No One Talk About Wage Theft?

Because unlike your typical property crimes, wage theft usually happens behind closed doors and is not easily detectable. It’s also conducted by more powerful people typically stealing from those with few resources to do anything about it. In fact, many workers may not realize their employers are stealing from them for years into their job. Or may not know that their boss may be doing anything illegal or violating their rights under the law. But if they do, they may not report the incident anyway if calling out their employer means losing their job or other forms of retaliation like shorter hours, less pay, or increased workloads. Many immigrants are often confronted with threats of calls to immigration services if they complain or seek to redress, especially if they’re undocumented. Some employees in white collar professions are even threatened with criminal prosecution or possibly blackmail to keep them from leaving. Even if they do sue and win, they often end up losing their careers and possibly their life savings to litigation fees. As for settlement, most workers who win their wage theft case usually don’t see a dime. Not to mention, it rarely makes front page news unless the case pertains to a class action lawsuit against a large corporation. So wage theft remains vastly under reported though cases filed in federal court have been on the rise.

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In 2009-2011, warehouse workers sued Walmart for paying them less than minimum wage as well as denying the paid vacations they were promised. Walmart denied this because wage theft is one of the ways the retail giant does to ensure you save more, live better, and contribute to their profits.

What Are Effective Measures to Deter Wage Theft?

The US FSLA requires employers to keep detailed records regarding workers’ identities and hours worked for all who are protected under the minimum wage law. Most states require that employers also provide each worker with documentation every paid period detailing that worker’s hours, wages, and deductions. As of 2011, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia didn’t require such documentation. A 2008 survey of wage theft from workers in Illinois, New York, and California found that 57% of low wage workers didn’t receive this required documentation and that workers who were paid in cash or on a weekly rate were more likely to experience wage theft. So making employer documentation legally mandatory is an effective measure though not so much when it comes to tip theft. As for other enforcement measures, while willful violators can fines up to $10,000 upon their first conviction to jail time resulting from repeat offenses. However, since the WHD is so underfunded and so understaffed (which isn’t an accident), very few wage theft cases are investigated and fewer employers are brought to justice.

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Most of the wage theft awareness campaigns usually tend to be localized and statewide. But wage theft is so widespread that Americans need to have a nationwide conversation about this. Wage theft is a very insidious crime that’s happening everywhere. We need to demand action to deter this behavior. We need to show that wage theft is an unacceptable way of doing business.

What Steps Can Be Done to Prevent and Stop Wage Theft?

First, wage theft needs to be addressed as a national issue in the national spotlight because there are stories that are barely heard on TV unless they pertain to Trump’s business shenanigans or NFL cheerleaders. Second, raise funding for the WHD so they could hire more staff to investigate (which should be doubled) as well as better laws that put stiffer penalties on employers. Third, protect victims filing complaints with government agencies from retaliation and allow them to access the back pay they’ve been so long denied if they decide to sue.There must be ways for wage theft victims to complain and stick up to their employers so they won’t have to worry about losing their jobs or their life savings. Fourth, fix the statute of limitations on wage claims for more than two years. Fifth, mandate that employers give workers pay stubs so they could accurately calculate their hours and have a record to prove they were cheated, which most states do anyway as well has been a proven deterrent. Sixth, have the DOL engage in targeted investigations of industries and employers where wage theft is rampant in partnership with community organizations workers trust and know who the criminal employers are. Seventh, instill stiffer penalties on wage theft violators which includes creating mandatory minimums for employers repeatedly breaking the law as well as make sure that wage theft judgments are enforced so workers could collect what they’ve been denied for years. And finally, provide resources to community organizations with the Department of Labor to eliminate wage theft and win back wages.

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Remember, wage theft can be prevented and stopped. The time is now to make unscrupulous employers pay. And I hope the Burger King goes directly to jail and isn’t allowed to collect $200.

In Defense of Labor Unions

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Though unions have greatly shaped the United States throughout much of the 20th century but have fallen out of favor in recent years. While in the 1950s about 1 in 4 workers were unionized, today only 1 in 10 and that number is declining fast. Unions have lost a lot of their power due to things like outsourcing, right to work laws, negative economic conditions, special interests, companies prohibiting them, or other factors. Not to mention, there isn’t a very favorable attitude toward them either for they’ve been blamed for taking away jobs, hurting the economy, or inconveniencing the populace. Some say that unions have served their purpose and aren’t needed anymore. However, as we all remember Scott Walker’s attempt to strip public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights and fast food worker strikes, many Americans don’t really want to see them go away. In fact, perhaps labor unions are still as relevant as ever today and actually do help this country.

Here's a German painting of a bunch of guys working in a foundry during the 19th century. Notice how there's no attention being paid to workplace safety. Also, imagine doing this work 6 days a week at 16 hours a day for less than minimum wage.

Here’s a German painting of a bunch of guys working in a foundry during the 19th century. Notice how there’s no attention being paid to workplace safety. Also, imagine doing this work 6 days a week at 16 hours a day for less than minimum wage.

1. Unions help create better jobs.

Regardless of what detractors may say, unions don’t really take away jobs since mass unemployment is one of the things unions always seek to avoid. It’s usually business management who does since they usually make the decisions whether it’s in the name of profits or power. Sure unions were probably part of the reason why many American industries moved operations overseas for cheaper labor, but not all jobs can be outsourced, especially service jobs. Even so, most jobs in today’s market aren’t unionized but many aren’t very desirable either with long hours, low wages, no room for advancement, not much safety or benefits, and are held for a rather short time. Of course, while businesses may like cheap and expendable workforces, but job seekers and workers do not. Workers don’t like such labor because it gives them little control over their lives and keeps them on the brink of economic instability. Job seekers don’t like them because it gives them more competition in an uncertain job market where obtaining a job can be more trouble than it’s worth. Recent college graduates have it the worst since many job listings have certain specifications that they may not be able to fulfill. However, this doesn’t mean that young people don’t have the skills to be productive citizens, it’s because the pool of job seekers is too big and employers are a very picky bunch and want an employee who’s already tailor made as well as with job experience. Still, though I’m not sure organized labor may make job seekers’ lives any easier, they do create better jobs and history proves it. Unions have helped make many crummy low wage, hazardous, and long hour jobs into decently paid eight-hour a day jobs with workplace safety, overtime pay, health benefits, personal leave, holidays, pensions, and workman’s comp. Jobs like these are very desirable and reduce turnovers and layoffs which may help reduce competition among job seekers since not many people are as desperate to find one. A job is only low wage not because the work is easier but because low wages are only arbitrary values set by employers. We should also understand that Costco employees work the same jobs as anyone else in the retail sector, yet they are treated much better than other retail workers. Thus, low wages often reflect not what the job entails, but the values of the employer.

In the early 20th century, the US experienced some of the deadliest industrial disasters in history. On March 25, 1911, a scrap bin fire at New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory would lead to the deaths of 146 people because the owners locked the doors to the stairwells and exits to prevent theft. This would lead to growth in unionization for garment workers as well as improved safety standards.

In the early 20th century, the US experienced some of the deadliest industrial disasters in history. On March 25, 1911, a scrap bin fire at New York City’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory would lead to the deaths of 146 people because the owners locked the doors to the stairwells and exits to prevent theft. This would lead to growth in unionization for garment workers as well as improved safety standards.

2. Unions help check and hold employers accountable.

While unions help improve workers’ lives, they also help check and hold employers accountable as well as serve as a middle man in workplace and labor relations. A unionized workplace gives employers incentive to treat their workers decently, helps set workplace standards, limit unfair labor practices, and does all it can to ensure that workers receive a fair deal. As a political lobby, they call for legal incentives in order to assure worker’s rights are recognized by law and that employers should observe them. Without unions, many employers would simply get away with treating workers like crap as well as run his or her business with little account to them. And for many years, workers have suffered in the name of profit. Sure there may be companies like Costco who provide their employees with a living wage and benefits, but they’re not the norm in the service industry or any non-unionized industry. Before many blue collar work places had unions like the coal mines and steel industry, it wasn’t unusual for workers to be paid shitty wages and treated like crap. And when these workers finally got the salary, hours, and benefits they wanted, it wasn’t because the management was trying to be nice to them. Then there’s the fact low income workers in non-unionized workplaces are especially prone to becoming victims of wage theft (especially undocumented immigrants), in which employers deny their workers their wages and benefits rightfully owed like minimum wage violations, overtime pay, employee miscalculation, illegal deductions, working off the clock, or not being paid at all. In the US, wage theft is very severe, widespread, and costs the country $40-$60 billion each year which is more than how much money the country loses due to robbery ($340 million), burglary ($1.4 billion), larceny ($5.3 billion), and auto theft ($3.8 billion) as of 2012. This is a crime but because these workers aren’t allowed to form unions due to company policy, a lot of wage theft goes undetected and laws against it aren’t often enforced. And even if workers do win their cases on wage theft, they usually don’t receive a dime of what they’re owed by the employers. Unions can be effective in deterring wage theft since they tend to go on strike over such incidences.

Here's a rough list of what labor unions have done for American workers. Sure unions may represent special interests, yet their interests tend to benefit practically everyone.

Here’s a rough list of what labor unions have done for American workers. Sure unions may represent special interests, yet their interests tend to benefit practically everyone.

3. Unions help promote the democratic process as and 1st Amendment rights.

While unions may be corrupt, they nevertheless serve as a powerful lobbying voice for a major demographic that couldn’t afford a lobbyist otherwise. For years labor unions have always provided a political voice to the common man as well as helped lobby for legislation in favor of ordinary people. In fact, worker’s rights has always been a special interest to unions, which affects most Americans. In the workplace, unions give workers a voice in major workplace decisions as well as protects workers’ 1st Amendment rights relating to their professional lives. If workers feel they’re being treated unfairly they can talk to each other, address their grievances, negotiate a compromise, or go on strike if employers still won’t listen. In many ways, unions help promote the democratic process in both government and in the business world since they stand for a worker’s right to be treated with dignity and respect. Not to mention, they also lobby for a worker’s right to self-govern which is a very American value indeed. Besides, while unions may be identified to the political left, they are probably the closest thing in the K Street lobbying world that best represents the interests of most Americans, especially after Citizens United when most lobbies and corporations don’t. This goes to even non-union members as well as those who oppose them and that’s why having non-union members pay dues in a unionized workplace makes sense. In fact, a lot of their campaigns might pertain to measures like raising the minimum wage, protecting migrant farm workers, mandated paid leave, and other policies designed to help even the lowest earning workers. They even campaigned for policies advancing civil rights for women and minorities as well as protecting the environment. And within companies, unions area powerful, sophisticated player concerned with more than just the next quarters profits at shareholders’ meetings.

Famed union organizer Walter Reuther understood the value unions had in the American economy. When asked how he'd planned to get his men to pay union dues while being shown automated production lines at Ford, Reuther replied, "How do you plan to get them to buy your cars?"

Famed union organizer Walter Reuther understood the value unions had in the American economy. When asked how he’d planned to get his men to pay union dues while being shown automated production lines at Ford, Reuther replied, “How do you plan to get them to buy your cars?”

4. Unions greatly contribute to the economy equality and promote economic activity.

Since unions help create and expand the middle class, they also help decrease income inequality and generate activity in the modern consumer economy. Unionized workers earn more money than their non-union counterparts as well as likely to spend more. The middle class has always played a critical role in a nation’s economy and the US is no exception. Higher earning workers make good consumers since they have more disposable income as well as a great demand for products. And the bigger the middle class, the more consumers there are, the more money businesses make, and the better the economy. Also, higher incomes provide governments with more tax revenues.

As far as non-union workplaces go, Wal Mart has become the poster child of workplace violations as well as paying its employees poverty level wages. It's said that Wal Mart's low wages cost US taxpayers about $1.5 billion a year since the retail giant has a lot of workers on public assistance.

As far as non-union workplaces go, Wal Mart has become the poster child of workplace violations as well as paying its employees poverty level wages. It’s said that Wal Mart’s low wages cost US taxpayers about $1.5 billion a year since the retail giant has a lot of workers on public assistance.

5. Unions save taxpayer money.

Of course, in 21st century America social programs are a mainstay, yet many on government assistance have also been bashed as lazy unemployed freeloaders or drug addicts (personally I’d rather have my tax dollars go to some worthless bum’s government assistance payment than corporate subsidies.) Sure there maybe a few freeloaders among welfare recipients but the public assistance pool is pretty diverse group including the disabled, children, veterans, mentally ill, elderly, chronically ill, and even the working poor. Such public assistance is greatly limited and only provides short term aid. Now the working poor are a pretty unlucky bunch who are probably more likely to end up on public assistance than anyone else in the workforce. They are also more likely to work for an employer prohibiting unionization like Wal Mart as well as have a low paying job with terrible conditions and awful labor practices. Though many conservatives don’t like public assistance programs or unionism, many fail to realize that bad labor practices can cost taxpayers millions, especially if there’s no labor union to challenge them. Low wage workers aren’t just least likely to support themselves and families, they are also more prone to on the job injuries resulting in disability or death, develop work-related health problems which may become serious if left untreated, unemployment, and other things. In many ways the working poor are either welfare cases or welfare cases waiting to happen (including those with dependents). And to some workers, government assistance may be the only option since employers may not listen to demands or maybe even fire someone for whatever reason, especially when it comes to forming a union. A company like Wal Mart is notorious for shifting it’s labor burdens on the taxpayer which isn’t fair for anyone. Since unions help clamp down on bad labor practices, they also help save taxpayer money.

Here is a diagram on the difference being part of a union makes at work. Since union workers are protected under legal contract, they aren't liable to as many workplace abuses as their non-union counterparts. Whereas if a non-union worker is unfairly treated, there is nothing they can do.

Here is a diagram on the difference being part of a union makes at work. Since union workers are protected under legal contract, they aren’t liable to as many workplace abuses as their non-union counterparts. Whereas if a non-union worker is unfairly treated, there is nothing they can do.

6. Unions give workers more control of their lives.

Not only do unions help create a middle class as well as provides a voice for workers, they also allow workers better control of their lives even beyond the confines of their job. Bad labor practices can hurt families and ruin a person’s life. And it’s not unusual for a low wage earner to take more than one job which can result in more time away from home, coming in sick, sending sick kids to school, or leaving them unsupervised from hours on end. Low wage jobs don’t give workers enough to live on or even any room for social mobility. In fact, many of low wage workers live in poverty as well as have their kids suffer the same fate. In many respects, bad labor practices can have long term consequences for not only workers but workers’ families. And in many respects, unionization has helped many kids from working families go to college. Not only that, but since unions give workers leverage against their employer, workers not only can collectively bargain for higher wages as well as know how much each worker owns, but also go to their managers with safety concerns or ideas to improve efficiency and know that they’ll not only get a hearing, but also be protected from possible reprisals.

Wal Mart is notorious non-union workplace which is known to face class action lawsuits every year amounting to millions of dollars. This has given them a very infamous reputation in the field of labor relations. This is especially when the retail giant decided to open on Thanksgiving. And since it's the leading retailer, many stores ended following suit.

Wal Mart is notorious non-union workplace which is known to face class action lawsuits every year amounting to millions of dollars. This has given them a very infamous reputation in the field of labor relations. This is especially when the retail giant decided to open on Thanksgiving. And since it’s the leading retailer, many stores ended following suit.

7. Unions help companies and businesses.

Since unions crack down on bad labor practices, they also help their workplaces in many ways. For one, they make the workplace a much cleaner and safer environment for both workers and consumers alike. Paid sick leave can help keep a worker’s illness from infecting not only their peers but also customers. And paid sick leave for a sick child can prevent other kids from getting sick as well. Unions also help employers by not just giving them consumers but also save money on fighting lawsuits as well as gives them a better reputation. A business with good labor standards not only makes consumers more willing to buy from them, but also makes employees happier working for them, may be even proud. I mean look at Costco’s reputation is much better than Wal Mart’s for this reason. Of course, Costco doesn’t have unions either but it certainly wouldn’t be the company it is if unions never existed.

This is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Some time ago, Brady was implicated in Deflategate and the NFL charged him with a 4 game suspension. Brady appealed to the NFLPA (which is the players' union) and got that suspension removed by order from a federal court. Yes, I know this is a terrible example of unions at work. However, if people think unions are either outdated or bad, then why do unions for people like Tom Brady exist?

This is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Some time ago, Brady was implicated in Deflategate and the NFL charged him with a 4 game suspension. Brady appealed to the NFLPA (which is the players’ union) and got that suspension removed by order from a federal court. Yes, I know this is a terrible example of unions at work. However, if people think unions are either outdated or bad, then why do unions for people like Tom Brady exist?

8. Professional athletes and movie stars have unions.

I know that many people associate unionism with teachers and blue collar workers. However, we should understand that unionism isn’t just confined to the public sector or blue collar jobs that don’t earn a lot of money. For instance, professional athletes have their own union like the NFLPA that helped New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady get out of a 4 game suspension after he implicated in the Deflategate scandal. People in show business also have unions like the Screen Actors Guild whose most famous president was Ronald Reagan at one point. Now neither group is economically in dire straits, but they have union representation nevertheless. That’s because no matter how rich you are, if you’re working for someone, sometimes policies won’t be in your favor. So if rich people feel they need unions, maybe their poorer counterparts feel the same way. Besides, even the most conservative union members wouldn’t want to get rid of theirs.

Here's a satirical cartoon making fun of union opposition. However, it makes a good point on how business don't like certain policies that unions advocate. Then there's the fact that companies don't want to pay extra costs to protect and make them happy or deal with strikes.

Here’s a satirical cartoon making fun of union opposition. However, it makes a good point on how business don’t like certain policies that unions advocate. Then there’s the fact that companies don’t want to pay extra costs to protect and make them happy or deal with strikes.

9. Anti-Unionism is all about big business wanting more power and control over their labor force.

In recent years, Unionism has been on the decline for 2 reasons. First, a lot of blue collar paying jobs were lost during the 1980s, many of which had union representation. Second, many people in the private sector work for big corporations that simply won’t allow them. It’s very well known that big business doesn’t like unions and calls them obstructionists. Yes, unions may have their faults and might inconvenience people. However, I always think that the reason why many workplaces in the country prohibit workers from unionizing has more to do with them wanting more power and control over their workforce than anything else. And if it’s not the workplaces, then it’s free market conservatives who think that corporations having free reign is best for the economy (when in reality, it’s not). For instance, a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee was prevented from unionizing by the state legislature, not management. Sure they want to hire and fire whoever they want. But they also want to control their employees’ hours and only want to pay them as much as it takes to keep them there. Passage of so-called “right to work” laws aimed at curbing union influence, have led to decreased wages and increased poverty rates in several US states. And it’s clear that these laws weren’t aimed to benefit workers but large corporations seeking more power and control of their labor force.

Nearly have the states in the US have "Right to Work" laws in which non-union members don't have to pay union dues in a unionized workplace. Yet, these laws minimize union power as well as lead to devastating consequences such as lower wages, higher uninsurance rates, higher poverty rates, and more workplace fatalities.

Nearly have the states in the US have “Right to Work” laws in which non-union members don’t have to pay union dues in a unionized workplace. Yet, these laws minimize union power as well as lead to devastating consequences such as lower wages, higher health uninsurance rates, higher poverty rates, and more workplace fatalities. Such factors can have devastating consequences not only for the workers, but also for their families (especially children) and communities.

10. The benefits of unions extend to workers’ families and improve society.

While unions may have their faults, we have to acknowledge the fact that they’ve helped not just the workers themselves but also their families, their descendants, and society as a whole. For instance, before many of these blue collar jobs were unionized, it wasn’t unusual for workers to begin their jobs as children after dropping out of school. In fact, it was a very common thing, especially with the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Just ask none other than Charles Dickens who wrote extensively on child labor and why it was a really terrible thing. Why? Because even though their parents might work 12-16 hour days, they could never earn enough money to support their family. Not to mention, a lot of these jobs were dangerous and could put a family in economic disaster because there was no compensation or safety standards. Even when public education was available, it wasn’t always compulsory and a lot of poor kids tended to drop out if their parents’ paychecks couldn’t cover the rent or in the event of a family emergency. And it was because these children were put to work at an early age, they were denied a basic education and the economic opportunities that came with it. So they ended suffering the same fate as their parents. Unions have been very instrumental in curbing child labor in blue collar industries since they gave adult workers leverage so their workplaces would provide them a fair wage, benefits, an 8-hour day, workman’s comp, and medical leave as well as observe workplace safety standards. Such measures not only made workers’ lives easier, but they also allowed children to go to school and stay there as well as focus on their schoolwork so they’d excel and perhaps get into a good college so they can have better opportunities. Now this didn’t necessarily happen overnight. But it’s a major reason why cities like Pittsburgh managed to bounce back after what happened to the steel industry in the 1980s (though I admit that some industrial areas in the Rust Belt haven’t been so lucky like Detroit. But even in those places, things could’ve been worse). Still, when you’re in such cities like Pittsburgh, you’ll find a lot of professionals like doctors, lawyers, teachers, and what not who had ancestors who were coal miners, mill workers, and factory workers. Sure they may say that some of them achieved success by hard work which certainly fits into the equation. However, if their blue collar ancestors didn’t pressure their bosses to unionize they would not be where they are today. Yet, though unions have made the world a decent, that doesn’t mean they’re no longer needed. In the US, we should be reminded time and time again that a parent’s life at work has a profound effect on a child’s progress in school, the quality of their education, life in their neighborhood, and even their health. That is still very much the reality today as it was back in the Gilded Age since a lot of service industry parents work minimum wage jobs, sometimes more than one. A child whose parents work at Sam’s Club is never going to have the same opportunities and quality life than one whose parents work at Costco, despite that both sets have the same job with the same responsibilities. However, we must understand that the Costcos in this world are a rarity and most companies have never been so accommodating to their workers. If most workers in the service industry want those Costco benefits so their kids could have better lives, then unionization might be the only thing possible for them to accomplish that.

Here's a picture of children working at a factory back in the day mostly because their parents work starvation wages and long hours. Since unions helped curbed child labor, be glad you don't have this. Or at least at Gilded Age capacity.

Here’s a picture of children working at a factory back in the day mostly because their parents work starvation wages and long hours. Since unions helped curbed child labor, be glad you don’t have this. Or at least at Gilded Age capacity.

Help Not Wanted: Job Listings You Might Not Want to Apply

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As a chronically unemployed blogger, I tend to see myself doomed to a lifetime of seeking and applying for jobs that I really wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the money. Of course, I’ve just set up a better domain name and applied for advertising I’ll see how that goes (even though I still had to pay for the domain and mapping). But even when I’m good to go, I may not be completely liberated from having to search for a job (unless I try getting my book published again). But I have managed to improve traffic in recent months. Let’s just say when it comes to the job market, having is better than wanting. Now most of the jobs I’ve had were sporadic with an expiration date and don’t last long. But at least it’s something. However, most of the entry-level office jobs I actually want come with much more stipulations such as work experience which really pisses me off. Seriously, I have skills and experience but it’s just that I don’t get paid for it at least currently. Nevertheless, there are plenty of want ads out there that seem like they’re written by businesses and people who really don’t have any clue. Whether they be newspaper classifieds, help wanted signs, or online Craigslist ads. I once found a writing want ad with so many typos and grammar mistakes that it was ridiculous. So without further adieu, here are some job listings that I advise even the most desperate job seekers to avoid. Some of these may not be safe for work but must be posted anyway since they’re just too crazy to ignore.

1. Litterbox Cleaner: Must work for pancakes.

Cleaning litter boxes for a nominal fee like $7.25 an hour would seem reasonable. Cleaning litter boxes for pancakes is just plain crazy. Seriously, working for pancakes?

Cleaning litter boxes for a nominal fee like $7.25 an hour would seem reasonable. Cleaning litter boxes for pancakes is just plain crazy. Seriously, working for pancakes? I’m not that desperate.

2. Now hiring someone to dress up as a velociraptor.

If this job was advertised in the Pittsburgh area instead of Vancouver, I'd gladly apply. However, I don't really have much experience wearing costumes but I'll happily go for training. Seriously, $15/hr is a good deal.

If this job was advertised in the Pittsburgh area instead of Vancouver, I’d gladly apply. However, I don’t really have much experience wearing costumes but I’ll happily go for training. Seriously, $15/hr is a good deal.

3. Wanted: Female model for future iconic photo shoot. Don’t expect compensation other than a bag lunch and SPF 30.

Okay, this ad was probably written by some amateur male photographer (or student) who thinks too highly of himself. Seriously, the ad is simply hysterical to read that I'd just want to see the result.

Okay, this ad was probably written by some amateur male photographer (or student) who thinks too highly of himself. Seriously, the ad is simply hysterical to read that I’d just want to see the result.

4. Wanted: Hole digger for a guy who’s planning a homicide while his wife’s out of town.

Reading this ad, it's obvious this guy is secretly planning to kill somebody on the first week of October. From grave dimensions to the insistence that it must be dug under the cover of night. Seriously, if you an ad like this, answering it will get you charged with aiding and abetting.

Reading this ad, it’s obvious this guy is secretly planning to kill somebody on the first week of October. From grave dimensions to the insistence that it must be dug under the cover of night. Seriously, if you an ad like this, answering it will get you charged with aiding and abetting.

5. Wanted: Babysitter but for druggie couple. Unlikeable losers with no self-esteem and social skills preferred.

Okay, maybe spending Saturday night with some whiny little kids isn't such a bad gig after all. Seriously, this couple is looking for an enabler who won't expect much in return. What they really need is an intervention.

Okay, maybe spending Saturday night with some whiny little kids isn’t such a bad gig after all. At least they’re cute, fun to play with, and innocent enough not to know better. Seriously, this couple is looking for an enabler who won’t expect much in return. What they really need is an intervention.

6. Hiring girl for $50 to determine which is the bigger dick.

Now a job posting for penis sizing. That's a new one. Still, while it may lead a girl to look at other guys' dicks, at least it won't get them charged with a crime.

Now a job posting for penis sizing. That’s a new one. Still, while it may lead a girl to look at other guys’ dicks, at least it won’t get her charged with a crime.

7. Wanted: Part time personal assistant for naturist couple.

You know your job interview is going to be awkward when the people responsible want ad have to explain their reasons for adopting a questionable lifestyle such as nudism.

You know your job interview is going to be awkward when the people responsible want ad have to explain their reasons for adopting a lifestyle that would make certain people uncomfortable. But a part time job that pays $20-25/hour isn’t that bad.

8. Wanted: 2 hot twin assassins to serve as bodyguards for deranged rich guy. People with glasses need not apply. Interview conducted in undisclosed location.

You'd expect to find an ad like this in an action movie since billionaires tend to be prime targets in those all the time. However, this ad is just so ridiculous that you'd swear this guy doesn't exist.

You’d expect to find an ad like this in an action movie since billionaires tend to be prime targets in those all the time. However, this ad is just so ridiculous that you’d swear this guy doesn’t exist.

9. Gay male computer geek in Santa Fe wanted to help middle aged gay guy meet other men online.

As far as want ads or personal ads go, I'm not sure whether this one is either one or the other. Seriously, he seems like he kind of wants a companion than tech tips.

As far as want ads or personal ads go, I’m not sure whether this one is either one or the other. Seriously, he seems like he kind of wants a companion than tech tips.

10. Actress wanted to flirt with boyfriend. I wonder what can go wrong with that.

Seems like this woman wants to hire an actress to flirt with her fiance because she really doesn't trust him around other women. Seriously, if I saw an ad like this on Craigslist, I'd wonder about this woman's relationship.

Seems like this woman wants to hire an actress to flirt with her fiance because she really doesn’t trust him around other women. Seriously, if I saw an ad like this on Craigslist, I’d wonder about this woman’s relationship.

11. Wanted: Flexible, intelligent, and friendly workaholic for all shifts. No vacation or sick leave.

Well, with a post like this, you'd think this advertised just about anything from fast food to retail. Still, I have to admire the employer's brutal honesty here but I wonder if they need to lower their standards a bit.

Well, with a post like this, you’d think this advertised just about anything from fast food to retail. Still, I have to admire the employer’s brutal honesty here but I wonder if they need to lower their standards a bit.

12. Wanted: Lawn care worker. Hula hoop required.

Why you'd need a hula hoop for lawn care, I have no idea. Seriously, I have yet to see what kind of lawn tasks a hula hoop can accomplish. These are the kind of things YouTube can come in handy for.

Why you’d need a hula hoop for lawn care, I have no idea. Seriously, I have yet to see what kind of lawn tasks a hula hoop can accomplish. These are the kind of things YouTube can come in handy for.

13. Babysitters somehow seem highly sought after whether it be for little kids, druggies, or comatose grandmas.

Now a hyperactive child for $10 is one thing. But this guy seems to want a babysitter for his grandma because he wants to change her will. Of course, the poster declined in a very passionate fashion.

Now a hyperactive child for $10 is one thing. But this guy seems to want a babysitter for his grandma because he wants to change her will. Of course, the poster declined in a very passionate fashion.

14. Wanted: Expendable minions for world domination attempt. Must work 24-7 for little or no pay. No weirdos, please.

I'm sure this is a joke since no sane person would want to work for a Fascist psychpath boss 24/7 for little or no pay. Then again, noting how many henchmen get virtually no respect in fiction, this explains a lot.

I’m sure this is a joke since no sane person would want to work for a Fascist psychpath boss 24/7 for little or no pay. Then again, noting how many henchmen get virtually no respect in fiction, this explains a lot.

15. Part time saleslady wanted who won’t be a bitch and can take sexual harassment.

Okay, with an ad like this, it's clear that the employer is a real asshole who has absolutely no respect for women. Seriously, if you're a woman and you see job notice like this, just look away.

Okay, with an ad like this, it’s clear that the employer is a real asshole who has absolutely no respect for women. Seriously, if you’re a woman and you see job notice like this, just look away.

16. Help Wanted: Hipsters, globetrotters, and artist types need not apply.

Let's just say when it comes to employees Vinnie's Pizza has a pretty low view for people in bands, people with art gallery openings, and people wanting to go to Europe.

Let’s just say when it comes to employees Vinnie’s Pizza has a pretty low view for people in bands, people with art gallery openings, and people wanting to go to Europe.

17. Now hiring accountant. Must go through ASAP course.

Seems like this ad has a few errors in it and I'm not sure that an ASAP course even exists. Also, it doesn't display any contact information whatsoever.

Seems like this ad has a few errors in it and I’m not sure that an ASAP course even exists. Also, it doesn’t display any contact information whatsoever.

18. Hiring computer engineers to solve difficult problem. Must solve for number here.

This company must really be desperate for computer engineers since they leave the numbers for x and y for you. Also, I can actually guess the number is 044-876-8000 with some calculation. Seriously, why they just have applicants solve for x and y.

This company must really be desperate for computer engineers since they leave the numbers for x and y for you. Also, I can actually guess the number is 044-876-8000 with some calculation. Seriously, why can’t they just have applicants solve for x and y?

19. Novelist seeking mentally ill people to interview for new book. Must be successful and interesting.

Let's just say that this person would save far more time and money if they'd just check out the biography section of their local library or Wikipedia. Seriously, there are a ton of celebrities and historical figures out there who'd fit this ad's description perfectly. May I recommend Andrew Jackson.

Let’s just say that this person would save far more time and money if they’d just check out the biography section of their local library or Wikipedia. Seriously, there are a ton of celebrities and historical figures out there who’d fit this ad’s description perfectly. May I recommend Andrew Jackson.

20. Night and weekend cab drivers wanted. Former getaway drivers preferred.

For the former mob getaway driver who's now on witness protection, this will be the perfect job for you. Then again, I'm not sure if getaway drivers have good driving skills.

For the former mob getaway driver who’s now on witness protection, this will be the perfect job for you. Then again, I’m not sure if getaway drivers have good driving skills.

21. Become a school bus driver. Have evenings and weekends off, no take home work, and $16.25/hr doing what most parents do for free.

As funny as these ads are, they're very effective. These would make anyone want to drive a school bus. Then again, I'm not sure $16.25/hr is worth dealing with complete brats.

As funny as these ads are, they’re very effective. These would make anyone want to drive a school bus. Then again, I’m not sure $16.25/hr is worth dealing with complete brats.

22. Experienced bartenders who can understand complete drunken gibberish wanted.

Deciphered, this says,

Deciphered, this says, “Ah, fine, I’ll have one more before I go home.” Of course, when someone says this in the correct pronunciation, they’re completely drunk and shouldn’t be served.

23. Legitimate Job Wanted: Ex-pot smuggler seeks alternative line of work after jail sentence.

Aside from from the obvious criminal record, and prison sentence, this guy really seems to emphasize his qualifications. Of course, he should have no trouble finding work in Washington State or Colorado.

Aside from from the obvious criminal record, and prison sentence, this guy really seems to emphasize his qualifications. Of course, he should have no trouble finding work in Washington State or Colorado.

24. Bodyguard wanted, must be great boyfriend material.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not sure if this woman is looking for a bodyguard or a boyfriend. And it seems like her perfect man is an action hero.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure if this woman is looking for a bodyguard or a boyfriend. And it seems like her perfect man is an action hero.

25. Now firing, apply within.

This is a great sign to show how even the smallest typo can change a whole meaning. Yeah, I suggest they fix the mistake and replace the sign. Because I'm sure nobody would want to work for them with that.

This is a great sign to show how even the smallest typo can change a whole meaning. Yeah, I suggest they fix the mistake and replace the sign. Because I’m sure nobody would want to work for them with that.

26. Smiling faces wanted for drug testing.

Yes, they want smiling faces but if you show up too happy, they may think you're high. Still, if this is for some minimum wage service job, I suppose happy drug free people will be hard to come by.

Yes, they want smiling faces but if you show up too happy, they may think you’re high. Still, if this is for some minimum wage service job, I suppose happy drug free people will be hard to come by.

27. Workers wanted, preferably female for kitchen jobs.

So I suppose this is a sexist workplace. I'm sure men can do kitchen work just as well as women. I'll take a pass on that.

So I suppose this is a sexist workplace. I’m sure men can do kitchen work just as well as women. I’ll take a pass on that.

28. Help wanted to put out house fire ASAP.

For one, if your house is burning, why can't you just call 911 for the fucking fire department for God's sake? Any normal person would do the same thing. Also, if your house caught fire an hour ago, I'm sure there will be nothing left. Seriously, this guy's an idiot.

For one, if your house is burning, why can’t you just call 911 for the fucking fire department for God’s sake? Any normal person would do the same thing. Also, if your house caught fire an hour ago, I’m sure there will be nothing left. Seriously, this guy’s an idiot.

29. Wanted: Some fucking loser stoner who knows anything about Apple products.

Man, this person really seems to swear a lot on Craigslist. Still, I wouldn't want to work for this jerk $200/hr or not. Also, for a lawyer spending $.95 on iTunes songs is nothing. So why complain about it?

Man, this person really seems to swear a lot on Craigslist. Still, I wouldn’t want to work for this jerk $200/hr or not. Also, for a lawyer spending $.95 on iTunes songs is nothing. So why complain about it?

30. Now hiring for a male escort service?

I don't know about you but this sign gives the phrase,

I don’t know about you but this sign gives the phrase, “work hard” a whole new meaning. And I’m sure they need to change, “people” to “men” particularly middle aged men with erectile dysfunction.

31. Taxidermy place needs deer skinner for hunting season.

Yeah, seems like deer hunters need not visit this taxidermy place, at least until they find a new skinner. Wonder how they lost the last guy.

Yeah, seems like deer hunters need not visit this taxidermy place, at least until they find a new skinner. Wonder how they lost the last guy.

32. Help Wanted: Polish need not apply.

I wonder what this employer has against Polish people. I can't understand why Jack Krasozowski should be turned down due to his ethnic heritage.

I wonder what this employer has against Polish people. I can’t understand why Jack Krasozowski should be turned down due to his ethnic heritage.

33. Young girls wanted for pickling and bottling? What the hell?

I suppose either this person is a cannibal with a preference for pickled girls or really had no idea how people would read it. Either way, I'm not sure if I want to work there.

I suppose either this person is a cannibal with a preference for pickled girls or really had no idea how people would read it. Either way, I’m not sure if I want to work there.

34. Help Wanted: Sirius persons only apply within

So if you're not Harry Potter's fugitive godfather who can transform into a shaggy black dog, you probably shouldn't apply. As to why anyone would want to hire Sirius, I have no idea.

So if you’re not Harry Potter’s fugitive godfather who can transform into a shaggy black dog, you probably shouldn’t apply. As to why anyone would want to hire Sirius, I have no idea.

35. Now hiring someone who has a clue.

On one hand, you might think getting a job there is easy. On the other hand, if an employer wants to hire someone with a clue, it might mean this might not be a great place to work.

On one hand, you might think getting a job there is easy. On the other hand, if an employer wants to hire someone with a clue, it might mean this might not be a great place to work.

36. Work at Murder Burger. Here’s a flyer of our restaurant policy.

Now while working at a fast food joint may be one of the most soul sucking and thankless jobs ever, at least this want ad is honest about their policy. Still, it's pretty funny.

Now while working at a fast food joint may be one of the most soul sucking and thankless jobs ever, at least this want ad is honest about their policy. Still, it’s pretty funny. Love what they say about politicians.

37. Wanted: Pretty and ugly exotic dancers for titty bar.

You have to admit, at least this has less workplace discrimination than Hooters, in regards to their hiring practices. Still, wouldn't want to work there.

You have to admit, at least this has less workplace discrimination than Hooters, in regards to their hiring practices. Still, wouldn’t want to work there.

38. Looking for female deli staff. Former gymnasts and contortionists preferred.

I'm sure flexibility has to do with schedule. But I'm not sure if people would get the idea, especially if they want women.

I’m sure flexibility has to do with schedule. But I’m not sure if people would get the idea, especially if they want women.

39. Wanted: Pizza cook. Must have masters in S. Y. M.

It actually means

It actually means “shutting your mouth.” Still, they also want no crybabies and people able to read a schedule.

40. McDonalds: Now hiring losers at $6 an hour.

I can see why people working at McDonalds want a $15 wage. However, even if they did pay $15/hr, I'd still not want to work there. Or eat there for their food is disgusting.

I can see why people working at McDonalds want a $15 wage. However, even if they did pay $15/hr, I’d still not want to work there. Or eat there for their food is disgusting.

41. Now hiring truck drivers and they’re really needed.

Yes, seems like they really need truck drivers there from how this trailer truck is turned over. Of course, when it  comes to truck drivers, they're really hard to fire.

Yes, seems like they really need truck drivers there from how this trailer truck is turned over. Of course, when it comes to truck drivers, they’re really hard to fire.

42. Help Wanted: Must dominate the English language.

I'm not sure

I’m not sure “dominate” is the right word here. Seriously, this person doesn’t seem to have as much understanding of the English language as he or she thinks.

43. Want a job opportunity in broadcasting? Work as a janitor.

I'm sure when it comes to broadcasting, I don't think maintenance work comes to mind. Seriously, who wants to get into broadcasting expecting to dust, clean, sanitize, polish, spot wash, empty trash, gather recyclables, and replace light bulbs?

I’m sure when it comes to broadcasting, I don’t think maintenance work comes to mind. Seriously, who wants to get into broadcasting expecting to dust, clean, sanitize, polish, spot wash, empty trash, gather recyclables, and replace light bulbs?

44. Wanted: Office Assistant/Receptionist. Must be experienced in voicemail, Microsoft Office, and switchboard operating?

Guess they aren't looking for anyone under 80 in this line of work. Seriously, who the hell would have experience in operating a switchboard which is just so early 20th century?

Guess they aren’t looking for anyone under 80 in this line of work. Seriously, who the hell would have experience in operating a switchboard which is just so early 20th century?

45. Work at our coffee shop for your boyfriend will ask you for gas money eventually.

This employer seems to assume that only a certain type of woman will want to work for them. As to why some boyfriends would ask their girlfriends for gas money, I have no idea nor would I want to know.

This employer seems to assume that only a certain type of woman will want to work for them. As to why some boyfriends would ask their girlfriends for gas money, I have no idea nor would I want to know.

46. Dwarf wanted to impersonate Oompa Loompa for sorority event.

Seems like this sorority party's theme is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'd sure hate to read the Craigslist ads calling for naughty kids to torture.

Seems like this sorority party’s theme is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’d sure hate to read the Craigslist ads calling for naughty kids to torture.

47. Waiters and Waitresses Wanted for swingers party, but as for gender composition I can’t be sure.

The heading says 2 waiters and 2 waitresses. But reading the description they seem to ask for either 3 waitresses and 1 waiter or 3 waiters and 1 waitress. Seems like this couple can't make up their mind.

The heading says 2 waiters and 2 waitresses. But reading the description they seem to ask for either 3 waitresses and 1 waiter or 3 waiters and 1 waitress. Seems like this couple can’t make up their mind.

48. Wanted: Personal Texting Assistant.

For one, how is it possible for someone to receive 40-50 texts an hour. Second, I'm sure that this person needs to respond to texts less often or not respond to all their texts.

For one, how is it possible for someone to receive 40-50 texts an hour. Second, I’m sure that this person needs to respond to texts less often or not respond to all their texts.

49. Now hiring pubic hair trimmers?

For one, how many people have their pubic hair trimmed? Secondly, how in the hell are there people who make a living trimming pubic hair? Third, how is pubic hair trimming a business?

For one, how many people have their pubic hair trimmed? Secondly, how in the hell are there people who make a living trimming pubic hair? Third, how is pubic hair trimming a business?

50. Wanted: Male talent for shooting, er-I mean photo shooting with kitchen products.

I know this ad is seeking male talent for an ad photo shoot. Of course, when you have the words,

I know this ad is seeking male talent for an ad photo shoot. Of course, when you have the words, “shooting in the back,” in your job posting, people tend to get the wrong idea.

51. Staff wanted, but don’t think we don’t have standards because we do.

Of course, if you're under 18, smelly, irresponsible, whiny, dishonest, rude, an alien, and with a short attention span and no common sense, this job isn't for you. Still, at least they're honest.

Of course, if you’re under 18, smelly, irresponsible, whiny, dishonest, rude, an alien, and with a short attention span and no common sense, this job isn’t for you. Still, at least they’re honest.

52. Piano player wanted, must be able to open clams.

Had no idea that opening clams was an essential skill to being an adept piano player. Seriously, what does clam opening have to do with piano playing anyway? It's not,

Had no idea that opening clams was an essential skill to being an adept piano player. Seriously, what does clam opening have to do with piano playing anyway? It’s not, “Break us some clams, you’re the piano man/ Break us some clams tonight/Well, we’re all in the mood for some chowder/And you got us feeling alright….”

53. Hiring weekend cashier, must not look like Skeletor.

Being born in the 1990s, I'm sure that people around my age have no idea of He-Man or who Skeletor was. I mean those cartoons are from the 1980s.

Being born in the 1990s, I’m sure that people around my age have no idea of He-Man or who Skeletor was. I mean those cartoons are from the 1980s.

54. Seems like this place is hiring for its Going Out of Business Sale.

Yeah, because I'm not sure how else would any place be hiring new people during a store closing. Maybe they're just betting on people desperate for work at this point.

Yeah, because I’m not sure how else would any place be hiring new people during a store closing. Maybe they’re just betting on people desperate for work at this point.

55. Surgeon Wanted: No experience necessary. Must have own tools.

Now this would be a rather reasonable job posting....for a pirate ship in the 17th century. Seriously, it was all about hacking limbs and knowing their way around with a saw.

Now this would be a rather reasonable job posting….for a pirate ship in the 17th century. Seriously, it was all about hacking limbs and knowing their way around with a saw.

56. Join 10x Marketing or die.

Now I know that Darth Vader is a cultural icon. But still, this is a guy is a boss from hell known to force choke his employees, blow up his daughter's planet, and cut off his son's hand. Seriously, would you want a guy like that on a recruitment poster?

Now I know that Darth Vader is a cultural icon. But still, this is a guy is a boss from hell known to force choke his employees, blow up his daughter’s planet, and cut off his son’s hand. Seriously, would you want a guy like that on a recruitment poster?

57. Tired of working $9.75/hr, here’s a job for $5-7/hr.

Yeah, I'll take a pass on this. Seriously, compared to what they offer $9.75/hr isn't that bad, especially if it pertains to a job paying $5-7/hr.

Yeah, I’ll take a pass on this. Seriously, compared to what they offer $9.75/hr isn’t that bad, especially if it pertains to a job paying $5-7/hr.

58. Start a career in a fast paced lucrative pudding business for adverse working conditions.

Benefits include long hard hours, very low pay, lots of heavy lifting, working for a ball busting asshole, no benefits, and no advancement. Must be a college grad.

Benefits include long hard hours, very low pay, lots of heavy lifting, working for a ball busting asshole, no benefits, and no advancement. Must be a college grad.

59. Men wanted for hazardous journey. See Ernest Shackleton for details.

This is an ad for the Ernest Shackleton Antarctic expedition. Of course, despite the abysmal job description, he managed to get guys on board. Luckily they all survived the Endurance one.

This is an ad for the Ernest Shackleton Antarctic expedition. Of course, despite the abysmal job description, he managed to get guys on board. Luckily they all survived the Endurance one.

60. Waitress Needed: Seeking 18 year old with 20 years experience.

Hmmm...18 year old with 20 years experience. Wonder how that's possible. Wait a minute, it's not. Yeah, somebody must've messed up with this ad big time.

Hmmm…18 year old with 20 years experience. Wonder how that’s possible. Wait a minute, it’s not. Yeah, somebody must’ve messed up with this ad big time.

61. Spanish disco seeks energetic young dancers for Friday nights. Must wear Star Wars costume.

I'm sure there will be plenty of Star Wars fans who will jump at this opportunity. Of course, many of them would really hat to work between midnight and 4:30 am.

I’m sure there will be plenty of Star Wars fans who will jump at this opportunity. Of course, many of them would really hat to work between midnight and 4:30 am.

62.Wanted: Hay chewer.

Seriously, you'd have to be incredibly nuts to apply for this job. I mean the job description is utterly disgusting.

Seriously, you’d have to be incredibly nuts to apply for this job. I mean the job description is utterly disgusting.

63. Now hiring at Blockbuster. Please no dinosaurs in human costumes.

Dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years. So the odds of them being in a human costume is basically nil. Guess working at a video store can drive you nuts.

Dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years. So the odds of them being in a human costume is basically nil. Guess working at a video store can drive you nuts.

64. Exxon: Now hiring and by the way, we pay more than the NYPD.

If Exxon seems to pay more than the NYPD, then I'm sure that those guys in blue are basically working for peanuts. No wonder they commit so many atrocities on black people.

If Exxon seems to pay more than the NYPD, then I’m sure that those guys in blue are basically working for peanuts. No wonder they commit so many atrocities on black people.

65. Help wanted: Many positions available.

I'm sure this is a joke. If not, then it's probably some recruitment sign for a prostitution ring. Yes, dirty silhouette people you see on restrooms have sex lives, too.

I’m sure this is a joke. If not, then it’s probably some recruitment sign for a prostitution ring. Yes, dirty silhouette people you see on restrooms have sex lives, too.

66. Wanted: Babysitter for adopted daughter. Call 24601.

Again, this is a joke. Yeah, nice try Jean Valjean. Love the

Again, this is a joke. Yeah, nice try Jean Valjean. Love the “May or may not be during an attempted revival of the French Revolution.”

67. Now hiring fried turkeys.

I'm sure this is a case of bad ad placement. Seriously, who'd want to hire fried turkeys. Still pretty funny.

I’m sure this is a case of bad ad placement. Seriously, who’d want to hire fried turkeys. Still pretty funny.

68. Kitchen Helf Wated.

Seems like they need someone with good English skills. Either that, or someone who knows how to spell simple words like

Seems like they need someone with good English skills. Either that, or someone who knows how to spell simple words like “help” or “wanted.”

69. Wanted: Female Snail Crusher.

Of course, they will be paid via vouchers from Amazon. Still, this is said to be posted by film students. As to why they want female snail crushers, I have no idea.

Of course, they will be paid via vouchers from Amazon. Still, this is said to be posted by film students. As to why they want female snail crushers, I have no idea.

70. Good news! Spongebob is at Burger King hiring managers.

Of course, this is a result when advertising to customers gets in the way of advertising to job seekers. Yeah, might make people think

Of course, this is a result when advertising to customers gets in the way of advertising to job seekers. Yeah, might make people think “Hey, I didn’t know Spongebob worked at Burger King.”

71. Have what it takes to be an Air Force engineer? Call the number below.

Now this is the kind of complex math engineers would certainly deal with. Yes, this is certainly incomprehensible to people like me.

Now this is the kind of complex math engineers would certainly deal with. Yes, this is certainly incomprehensible to people like me.

72. Interested in graphic design. Then be a freelance studio assistant.

Sure you'll be working with an advertising agency. But you'll basically be a gopher in this position, which is kind of like an internship.

Sure you’ll be working with an advertising agency. But you’ll basically be a gopher in this position, which is kind of like an internship.

73. Be a part time server at our establishment, but you must meet the following criteria.

Now there may be some relevant disqualifications here such as being a sociopath, mean, or crazy. But some of these are just so irrelevant to the job such as not liking Batman, for instance.

Now there may be some relevant disqualifications here such as being a sociopath, mean, or crazy. But some of these are just so irrelevant to the job such as not liking Batman, for instance.

74. Wanted: Intern required for stuff.

Of course, this job has some fine qualifications. But the job title is very nonspecific other than it being from Glasgow. Yet, liking bourbon and a song on Youtube, how does that make anyone eligible?

Of course, this job has some fine qualifications. But the job title is very nonspecific other than it being from Glasgow. Yet, liking bourbon and a song on You Tube, how does that make anyone eligible?

75. People needed for Burger Bar. Politics students and P addicts need not apply.

Again, you have to love Murder Burger. Not sure what their food is like. But their ads seem like they're written by complete curmudgeons and are hilarious.

Again, you have to love Murder Burger. Not sure what their food is like. But their ads seem like they’re written by complete curmudgeons and are hilarious.

76. Wanted: Clinical Scientists for our graveyard shits.

Should be

Should be “graveyard shifts.” A great example of how leaving one letter can just change the whole meaning of the ad.

77. In Islamabad, they have very high standards for potential employees in Chinese restaurants.

Now 5 years experience for a waiter or barman is one thing, but 5 star hotel? You got to be kidding me. Talk about impossible standards.

Now 5 years experience for a waiter or barman is one thing, but 5 star hotel? You got to be kidding me. Talk about impossible standards.

78. Wanted: Head Coach of Division I College Basketball.

Now you have to admit, that the University of Nevada Las Vegas is really desperate for a head basketball coach. Otherwise, they wouldn't have advertised it on Craigslist.

Now you have to admit, that the University of Nevada Las Vegas is really desperate for a head basketball coach. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have advertised it on Craigslist.

79. Wanted: Photographer for adult film star party.

“Must be comfortable around little people,” well, that’s not really the thing in this case. Seriously, nudity and sex is one thing, but involving live animals in it, then it’s just disgusting.

80. Wanted: Two people to play Dungeons and Dragons with.

For one, since when can you send a resume telepathically? Second, I'm sure satisfaction of cosmic justice isn't enough for someone to live on.

For one, since when can you send a resume telepathically? Second, I’m sure satisfaction of cosmic justice isn’t enough for someone to live on.

The Domestic Servants of Downton Abbey: Part 8-Maintenance

Great House: At Downton Abbey, the maintenance staff isn't seen much because their jobs are so shitty. Yet, how do expect this estate be kept up in such condition as this? And how do expect the clothes being washed? Not to mention, the matter with visitors.

Great House: At Downton Abbey, the maintenance staff isn’t seen much because their jobs are so shitty. Yet, how do expect this estate be kept up in such condition as this? And how do expect the clothes being washed? Not to mention, the matter with visitors.

My last post on servants at Downton Abbey falls under the notion of maintenance and upkeep. Now I know I’ve covered a bit of it when I did the one on maids. However, maintenance involves more than just cleaning and making things look nice. Sure Downton may have maids, butlers, footmen, and other attendants but you never really see them perform tasks like repair work, restoration, heavy lifting, collecting garbage, replacing light bulbs, laundry, checking pipes, upholstery, electrical work, security monitoring and other tasks needed to keep up such a stately home. I mean, how did that telephone managed to be installed in Carson’s office? Must have a handyman around somewhere. Sure I understand that this is a show, but we never see any of those servants doing that kind of work at all. So it’s very likely that Downton employs certain people who do the actual handiwork we don’t see. Then again, some of the maintenance servants aren’t people who live on the premises and may come to the estate on a daily or weekly basis. Others may live at Downton but we never see them since they may have their own cottage, perform tasks at a different time, or have a job of such low status that they can’t even be seen at the servant halls. Then again, they may perform jobs that might cause some discomfort in the viewer watching the show and ruin the idyllic life this series tries to portray. Yet, many of the people who had these thankless and miserable maintenance jobs  help make the Crawleys’ lives possible and the other servants’ lives much easier. So perhaps when season 6 is in production, maybe Julian Fellowes should add a few laundry maids and a handyman at Downton. Maybe the handyman can  be a love interest for Daisy, Thomas, or Mrs. Patmore. How about include a chimney sweep? Well, it worked for Mary Poppins and Charles Dickens. Hey, it’s worth a shot. Besides, they can’t just have maintenance work on Downton Abbey be limited to Moseley doing road work or carrying boxes. Nevertheless, without further adieu, here’s a list of some servants who probably do the least recognized and most thankless work at Downton Abbey, those from the maintenance department.

1. Doorman or Porter
Function: Responsibilities similar to that of a hall boy but mostly for building security such as taking calling cards, screening guests, and granting admission.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure he received a fair wage and compensation such as an annual salary of 30 pounds ($3,200) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and may be addressed by first name. Reported to Butler.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 6:00am-11:00pm or when the family was expecting guests such as special events.
Typical Candidate: Usually an older man who’s most likely a well regarded former footman or under butler who hasn’t been promoted to butler and valet as well as may be on his way out.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey since Carson performs most of this position’s duties anyway.

2. Handyman
Function: Responsible for repairs, maintenance, and other odd jobs that might include light plumbing, painting, and electrical work.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they were handsomely compensated for their duties as well as received room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, addressed by first name, and reported to Head Gardener.
Hours: Worked from early in the morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man skilled in a variety of trades, particularly carpentry. Yet, this was considered a semi-skilled job.
Characters who had this job: Though no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, someone probably does considering the estate couldn’t survive without one. Yet, the ground staff aren’t the main focus of the show.

3. Useful Man

Useful Man: At Downton Abbey, this is an informal position designated to a former valet who'd do pretty much anything to pay the bills after his master got crushed by his sports car whether it's lifting, road work, or being a footman on a temporary then permanent basis. Chronic unemployment is a bitch.

Useful Man: At Downton Abbey, this is an informal position designated to a former valet who’d do pretty much anything to pay the bills after his master got crushed by his sports car whether it’s lifting, road work, or being a footman on a temporary then permanent basis. Chronic unemployment is a bitch.

Function: A general male domestic worker who performs a series of small jobs as needed to his employers. May range from cooking, cleaning, maintenance, and repair as well as bookkeeping or inventory.
Pay and Benefits: Depends on his responsibilities as well as wealth and size of the household.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff ranking below a footman but above a hall boy. Addressed by first name and reported to Butler. However, he never entered the dining room or waited on the master of the house.
Hours: Depends on the household or employer.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man at least in his teens or older.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey but Joseph Moseley is probably the closest thing to one on the show, especially in Season 4.

4. Charwoman

Charwoman: Probably the job Ethel had before turning to prostitution to support herself and her son. Might've been one while working as a prostitute, too. Guess it didn't pay as well as she hoped.

Charwoman: Probably the job Ethel had before turning to prostitution to support herself and her son. Might’ve been one while working as a prostitute, too. Guess it didn’t pay as well as she hoped, unsurprisingly.

Function: Female cleaner responsible for household maintenance and odd chores. Usually worked for people who couldn’t afford a maid of all work.
Pay and Benefits: They came fairly cheap than most household servants.
Status: Considered casual staff in that they didn’t live on the estate.
Hours: Usually depends on when they could find work.
Typical Candidate: Usually a woman of any age or disposition as long as she was poor.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey, but I’m sure it did exist in Great Britain at the time. Then again, Ethel might’ve tried to be one before becoming a prostitute. Maybe she was working as one during her tenure as well.

5. Odd Job Man
Function: Responsible for the heavy lifting of the house, replacing oil lamps, carrying logs for the maids to make fires in the fireplaces, as well as carrying hot water for the baths.
Pay and Benefits: Besides room and board, not much pay.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and addressed by first name.
Hours: Worked from early in the morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man from the lower classes.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t seem to exist at Downton Abbey though an estate of that size would at least have one.

6. Dust Man
Function: Responsible for collecting trash or garbage from the estate.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they came pretty cheap.
Status: This was a Casual Staff position.
Hours: Hired at the estate on a weekly basis, particularly on garbage day.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man from the lower classes. Could be of any age or even have a family.
Characters who had this job: While no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible someone else does since the estate must generate a lot of garbage.

7. Chimney Sweep
Function: Responsible for clearing ash and soot from the chimney and fireplace.
Pay and Benefits: Depends on age and level of skill as well as the times.
Status: This was a Casual Staff position.
Hours: Worked as needed.
Typical Candidate: Depends on the times. By the Edwardian period it was usually a grown man who’s trained to clean chimneys. Until the 1860s, sweeps could be boys as young as 4 years old with the master sweep acting mainly as supervisor.
Characters who had this job: While no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible someone does since the estate has a lot of fireplaces. If not, then I wonder why the Crawleys have virtually no chimney fires.

8. Gate Keeper
Function: Responsible for guarding the main entrance to the estate.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary could be as low as 10 pounds ($1,100) but he often had a cottage attached to the gate.
Status: Classified as an unskilled laborer and ranked relatively low on the servant hierarchy.
Hours: This was a 24/7 job since he had to guard the gate.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man from the lower classes, possibly a male servant approaching retirement.
Characters who had this job: Though no named character has this job at Downton Abbey, there’s probably someone on the estate who does.

9. Lamp Boy
Function: Responsible for lighting, cleaning, and maintaining the lamps inside and outside the great house and the estate.
Pay and Benefits: Besides room and board, not much pay.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and one of the lowest servant ranks as well as addressed by first name.
Hours: Worked mostly at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young boy and teenager between the ages of 10-16, maybe even younger.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist at Downton Abbey since may have been rendered obsolete with the arrival of the electric incandescent lamp.

10. Upper Laundry Maid
Function: Chief laundry maid in charge of a team that washed, ironed, steamed, starched, dried, treated, and pressed clothes, towels, and linens for the family and the staff.
Pay and Benefits: At least an annual salary of 13 pounds ($1,300) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of Lower Staff and addressed by first name. Reported to Housekeeper.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 3:00am-10:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually an unmarried woman at least in her late teens who demonstrated the practicalities in clothes treatment.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t seem to exist at Downton Abbey but since it churns out a lot of laundry, there had to be at least one upper laundry maid.

11. Laundry Maid
Function: Responsible for washing, drying, ironing, starching, and treating clothes, bedding, linens, and towels for the entire household, including the staff.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 13 pounds ($1,300) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of Lower Staff and among the lowest ranked female servants. Addressed by first name. Kept entirely out of sight. Reported to Housekeeper.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 3:00am-10:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually an unmarried woman at least in her teens yet skilled in the art of laundry.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t seem to exist on Downton Abbey but any estate of that size would’ve employed at least 2-3 of them. Yet, this was a very low status job so they were usually kept out of sight.

The Domestic Servants of Downton Abbey: Part 7-The Stables and Travel

Horse: At Downton Abbey, this animal has been relegated to recreational and ceremonial purposes since the introduction of the automobile. So now let's just get back to Lady Mary and Kemal Pamuk on their hunting ride, shall we?

Horse: At Downton Abbey, this animal has been relegated to recreational and ceremonial purposes since the introduction of the automobile. So now let’s just get back to Lady Mary and Kemal Pamuk on their hunting ride, shall we? Of course, we all know what happens to Kemal Pamuk in this episode. So the Turk shall enjoy this day while he can.

Now while I could easily put the stables jobs with the grounds and the hunt, I decided to put it with travel since horses used to be the primary modes of transportation besides walking. Not to mention, this was the main reason stables were built. Of course, the stable staff doesn’t play much of a role on Downton Abbey since the show takes place in the early 20th century, which was a time that horse transportation was slowly being replaced by the new automobile, especially large estates where the aristocracy was among the first car customers (before Henry Ford came up with the idea of the assembly line, look it up). So cars were also used as status symbols, which is also very much the case today. Yet, this doesn’t mean that horses are out of the picture yet, since they were still needed for activities like hunting, ceremonies, special occasions like weddings and funerals, emphasizing large wealth, and of course, horse racing. You may not see the stables or the stable staff much at Downton Abbey but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist on the estate. Nevertheless, the Crawleys do spend a significant time traveling whether it be on their other estates, throughout England, London, Scotland, or abroad. And while certain servants go with the Crawleys while they’re away (giving other servants time off when they’re all gone), there are also other servants associated with traveling as well as in the stables. Sometimes aristocratic families could stay at one place anywhere from a few days to up to a few months. Of course, some of them may be obsolete but they’re listed anyway. So for your reading pleasure, here are the servants associated with the stables and travel.

The Stables

Stables: At Downton Abbey, it's a place you never see since it doesn't much play a big role in the Crawleys' lives anyway. This picture is probably as close as viewers will ever get so use your imagination, please.

Stables: At Downton Abbey, it’s a place you never see since it doesn’t much play a big role in the Crawleys’ lives anyway. This picture is probably as close as viewers will ever get so use your imagination, please.

1. Master of the Horse or Clerk of Stables
Function: Oversees all equine and groom activities including feed and overall care of the horses. Responsible for checking conditions of roads and inns, manages details of carriages, boss to coachman, grooms, postilion, and anyone else connected to the stables or coaches.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure he had decent pay and possibly his own quarters like a small cottage.
Status: At least a Senior Servant, but since he works outside the house, he probably has none of their privileges.
Hours: At least regular working hours but could be longer, especially during times of travel and special events.
Typical Candidate: Must be male and know how to work with horses. Possibly someone who came from a tenant family or grew up on a farm.
Characters who had this job: Well, as far as we know Downton Abbey doesn’t have this job, since Master of the Horse is more of an 18th century position anyway and it’s become a mostly ceremonial role in the monarchy.

2. Head Groom or Stable Master
Function: Responsible for running the stables as well as for the horses and grooms. Duties include arranging riding lessons or training as well as insure a groom is “on call” in case a member of the family wants to ride. Not to mention, he had to arrange the horses’ feeding and veterinary needs. Also responsible for the special needs of aged or retired horses as well as for maintenance of the stables and ordering supplies.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 30-50 pounds ($3,100-$5,300) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff but didn’t have the same privileges as similar members in the house would. Addressed by last name and could either report to the Estate Manager or Butler.
Hours: Usually from early in the morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a seasoned man who’s spent considerable time working with horses or as a groom rising through the ranks.
Characters who had this job: Currently none, but Downton Abbey has stables so someone on the estate must have this job. However, this isn’t a show about horse stable staff since they don’t have much to do with the family anyway.

3. Stud Master
Function: Manager for the master’s breeding stock. Arranges, records, and approves desired animal matings whether it be hounds, horses, or house pets as well as consults the registries afterwards. May oversee the maintenance of the estates stables and kennels as well. If one isn’t present, duties go to the Stable Master or Master of the Hounds.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure he was well compensated as well as received room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff, addressed by last name, and reported to Stable Master.
Hours: Depended on the animals he was working with.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who knew about animals which could be either a groom or someone who grew up on a farm.
Characters who had this job: Though no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible that someone does at the estate. However, the stable staff aren’t the show’s main focus though.

4. Horse Trainer
Function: Responsible for training horses for riding which includes feeding, exercising, and talking to them to get used to human contact.
Pay and Benefits: Usually received a modest sum of money as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, addressed by first name, and reported to Stable Master.
Hours: Worked from early morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who’s experienced with horses, particularly a groom.
Characters who had this job: None of the show’s characters have this job but this someone at Downton Abbey may have this one. The stable staff isn’t the focus of the show.

5. Groom

Groom: At Downton Abbey, this job goes to a guy who probably doesn't have much screen time. But he's there because his main job is taking care of the horses and that he had to bring one out to match Lady Mary's riding habit.

Groom: At Downton Abbey, this job goes to a guy who probably doesn’t have much screen time. But he’s there because his main job is taking care of the horses and that he had to bring one out to match Lady Mary’s riding habit.

Function: Responsible for taking care of the horses which includes feeding and watering them, brushing them down, exercising them, saddling them, and giving them medicine when they take ill. Cleans carriages, harnesses, as well as the stables for the master’s morning inspection.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 15 pounds ($1,600) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and occupied a similar position at the stables as a maid or footman would in the house. Addressed by first name and reported to the Stable Master.
Hours: Usually from early in the morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young unmarried man at least in his teens who at least possesses significant knowledge of horses.
Characters who had this job: Well, no characters on the show have this profession per se but since Downton Abbey has stables, the estate is bound to employ a team of them. But the life of the stable staff isn’t the main focus on the show.

6. Stable Boy
Function: Responsible for assisting the grooms with cleaning the stables and other duties relating to equine care. Is basically a groom in training.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 6-12 pounds ($640-$1,500) depending on age and ability as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and addressed by first name. Reported to Stable Master.
Hours: Usually from early in the morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young boy in his early teens from the lower classes. May be as young as 10 years old.
Characters who had this job: Though no characters on the show have this job, it probably does exist on Downton Abbey since it has stables. However, the stables aren’t the main focus of the show.

Travel

Sports Car: At Downton Abbey, this is the wedding present the bridegroom gives to himself after finding himself heir to a title and estate as well as marrying the resident Earl's daughter. Of course, we all know from Season 3 that this doesn't end well.

Sports Car: At Downton Abbey, this is the wedding present the bridegroom gives to himself after finding himself heir to a title and estate as well as marrying the resident Earl’s daughter. Of course, we all know from Season 3 that this doesn’t end well. Just wait when this new dad’s joy ride home from the hospital turns into a one way trip to the morgue. Yes, that luxury car will crush you if overturned in the event of a collision.

1. Coachman

Coachman: At Downton Abbey, this guy doesn't get as much as he used to before the automobile but he's still employed for special occasions like weddings and funerals. You don't think they'd let Lady Mary and Matthew have to leave a church in a car, don't you?

Coachman: At Downton Abbey, this guy doesn’t get as much as he used to before the automobile but he’s still employed for special occasions like weddings and funerals. You don’t think they’d let Lady Mary and Matthew have to leave a church in a car, don’t you?

Function: Responsible for driving the coach. If there was no Clerk of the Stables or Stable Master present, he’d usually manage the stables, the grooms, and make sure the coach was in good working order. May assist the grooms with cleaning the carriages. Other responsibilities may vary depending on number of footmen or whether there was a second one on staff.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 40 pounds ($4,300) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, addressed by first name, and reported to the Stable Master.
Hours: Usually called upon as needed and during travels but this depends on his responsibilities to the household.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who’s spent considerable time with horses as a groom.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey since it’s clear that nobody in the Grantham house travels by coach anymore. Yet, an estate of that size would’ve had at least 2.

2. Second Coachman
Function: Assisted the coachman with driving the coach with his chief duty on nightwork.
Pay and Benefits: Less than the coachman but he didn’t do too badly either as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and addressed by first name. Reported directly to Coachman or Master of the Stables.
Hours: Usually the night hours while traveling but could vary depending on responsibilities.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who’s spent a considerable amount of time as a groom.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey since the coachman job is now obsolete with the advent of cars. However, if the show took place while the Dowager Countess was a child, there would’ve been one.

3. Postilion
Function: A rider who mounted on one of the coach’s drawing horses (usually one of the left ones. If there was no coachman, then the front left one).
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 12 pounds ($1,500) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, addressed by first name, and reported to Stable Master or Coachman.
Hours: Worked as needed, particularly while during travels.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young man or boy, especially one light enough not to cause the horses strain.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist at Downton Abbey for the Granthams no longer use coaches. Thus, one would be employed only by royalty.

4. Running Footman
Function: Responsible for running ahead at the cavalcade, prepare a path for the coach, and prepare the inn for his master’s arrival. Would also engage in running contests to win wages for his master.
Pay and Benefits: Well, I’m sure it was the same as a footman’s.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and addressed by first name. Status was about the same as footman. However, this was a pretty dangerous job.
Hours: Well, whenever the master was traveling as far as I could tell.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young unmarried man who was said to be tall and hot. Yet, he’d also have to be fast on his feet.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey since coaches are no longer the standard mode for transportation. Also, it was obsolete by the early 1800s.

5. Chasseur
Function: Have responsibilities and duties similar to footman and bodyguard, but more or less the latter except looking pretty. Still, on a coach, he’d be the guy riding shotgun.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they received a generous compensation from the master as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and addressed by first name. However, may have the status of mercenaries. Wear a sword and a feathered hat.
Hours: Worked a 24/7 job basically protecting the family.
Typical Candidate: Usually mustachioed men who spent a significant amount of time in the military as well a stand out in appearance.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey but may in the royal household or embassies. However, this was more of a position on the European continent, not England.

6. Courier
Function: Responsible for serving as a guide to the family while traveling by riding in front of the carriage carrying an important person as a form of protection.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they received some fair compensation and possibly room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff and addressed by his first name.
Hours: Depended on the household’s needs but mostly during travels.
Typical Candidate: Usually a horseman who familiar with the geography, money, language, and other customs of a foreign country. Most likely a foreigner.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist at Downton Abbey since they were mostly used during travels and may have been rendered obsolete.

7. Chauffeur

Chauffeur: At Downton Abbey, this is a job you give to a young radical Irish Nationalist who'll introduce the boss's daughter to left-wing politics and driving before romantically pursuing and eventually running off with her. Just keep him a way from a soup tureen.

Chauffeur: At Downton Abbey, this is a job you give to a young radical Irish Nationalist who’ll introduce the boss’s daughter to left-wing politics and driving before romantically pursuing and eventually running off with her. Just keep him a way from a soup tureen.

Function: Responsible for driving, repairing, and maintaining the family cars.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 40 pounds ($4,300) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff and addressed by last name. May or may not dine with the rest of the servants. Nevertheless, in the days of Downton Abbey, this was a very high demand job (which may explain why Branson wasn’t simply fired for being an Irish nationalist with socialist beliefs or trying to run off with Lady Sybil).
Hours: Worked from early morning to late at night or as needed.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young man who was a skilled mechanic to deal with breakdowns or tire punctures en route (which happened a lot in the earliest years of the automobile. Still, Branson would’ve fit the bill perfectly). A retrained coachman also fits the bill. In the Jim Crow Era, it was one of the few skilled professions that was acceptable for African Americans in some parts of the US.
Characters who had this job: Tom Branson starts out with this job at Downton Abbey in Seasons 1-2. However, there are other chauffeurs who also serve the Granthams.

8. Travel Groom or Porter
Function: Responsible for packing and unpacking their employer’s belongings while traveling. If there were no hotels present, they’d usually set up camp as well as walked with animals like oxen or horses. Sometimes waited on the master hand and foot.
Pay and Benefits: While they accompanied their master on the trip, they were relatively cheap to hire.
Status: They had relatively low status since they were usually made to carry things and hired from groups most Europeans considered inferior anyway.
Hours: Depended whether the master was staying in a hotel or going on a safari. If the latter, then early in the morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Could be of any age, gender, or physicality but outside Europe and Americas, they’re usually people of color. Usually from poor backgrounds.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey. However, you see plenty of fictional examples in almost any work set during the British Empire.

The Domestic Servants of Downton Abbey: Part 6-The Grounds and the Hunt

The Grounds: Part of Downton Abbey not much is paid attention to, since the staff there doesn't pay any attention to since they don't work in the house or play any role in the lives of the family. Yet, their main job is just making the estate look pretty and protecting game from poachers so the family can hunt and impress visitors.

The Grounds: Part of Downton Abbey not much is paid attention to, since the staff there doesn’t pay any attention to since they don’t work in the house or play any role in the lives of the family. Yet, their main job is just making the estate look pretty and protecting game from poachers so the family can hunt and impress visitors.

The outside staff isn’t the main focus on Downton Abbey nor is it in any fiction pertaining to a grand British estate. Sure they may not work in the great house or interact with the family as much but it doesn’t mean they’re outside working their tails off. After all, the grounds at Downton need their share of caretaking, too. I mean someone must be doing all the gardening, weeding, planting, mowing, and landscaping to keep the place pristine for visitors. If Downton didn’t have anyone who didn’t tend to the grounds how else could the Granthams have garden parties, hunts, afternoon strolls, dog walks, bazaars, cricket matches, and other outdoor activities. And who’s going to tend to the vegetables, flowers, and exotic plants in the greenhouse? Of course, as for the hunt, there has to be a staff for that, too. I mean who else is going to take care of the hounds and terriers as well as keep them together? Nevertheless, hunting was a frequent activity on large estates like Downton Abbey in which a bunch of rich guys usually grabbed their guns, saddled on, horseback, and rode away to catch some game, which could be a fox, pheasant, or deer. Sometimes there were staff that threw up the pheasants for the aristocrats to shoot at. And a lot of times the members of the hunting party would be totally wasted. Of course, the horseback riding bit, I’ll get to in the next post since it goes well with travel. So without further adieu, here are the jobs associated with groundskeeping and hunting in the world of Downton Abbey.

The Grounds

Garden: At Downton Abbey, this is the place for the village vs. estate cricket match as well as the bazaar. Yet, during a garden party, it's customary that everyone dress in white and don't step on the flowers.

Garden: At Downton Abbey, this is the place for the village vs. estate cricket match as well as the bazaar. Yet, during a garden party, it’s customary that everyone dress in white and don’t step on the flowers.

1. Head Gardener
Function: In charge of the hot houses, green houses, and conservatories on the estate. Supervises the gardeners as well as seasonal harvest employees as well. Escorted visitors on grounds and acted as a guide.
Pay and Benefits: Since impressive gardens were important as impressing guests, his annual salary could be as much as 30-50 pounds ($3,100-$5,400). Also had a private cottage on the estate.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff, but didn’t have the same privileges as those inside the house would’ve like the Stable Master. Addressed by last name and reported directly to the Estate Manager or master.
Hours: From sunrise to sunset as well as depending on the seasons.
Typical Candidate: Usually an experienced gardener demonstrating a knowledge of flowers, vegetables, fruits, and landscape design.
Characters who had this job: Well, there’s an off-screen character named Mr. Brockit who’s said to hold this job at Downton Abbey.

2. Game Keeper
Function: Responsible for maintaining the local populations of the estate so the master and guests would have game such as pheasant to hunt. Cracks down on trespassers and poachers. May even have his own staff.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 30-50 pounds ($3,100-$5,400) as well as his own cottage on the estate.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff, addressed by last name, and reported to the Estate Manager.
Hours: Usually was on a 24/7 job with small breaks in between to fulfill basic needs.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who knows how to breed wild game and is familiar with game laws.
Characters who had this job: Well, there hasn’t been a character on the show who’s had this job, but it probably does exist on Downton Abbey seeing that Lord Robert owns large tracts of land and goes hunting. However, outside the show, Rubeus Hagrid had this job at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. Of course, the creatures he has to look after aren’t the kind of animals a normal gamekeeper would be familiar with, especially in the Forbidden Forest.

3.  Gardener

Gardener: At Dower House, this job goes to the guy later fired due to suspicion of stealing a letter opener the Dowager Countess received from the King of Sweden. Thanks to Mrs. Crawley's interference, he was later reinstated.

Gardener: At Dower House, this job goes to the guy later fired due to suspicion of stealing a letter opener the Dowager Countess received from the King of Sweden. Thanks to Mrs. Crawley’s interference, he was later reinstated.

Function: Responsible for the care and maintenance of the estate’s or house’s grounds, horticulture, and produce. Duties may depend on the size of household or staff. On smaller estates, may be the resident handyman as well. May be supervised by Head Gardener, sometimes not.
Pay and Benefits: Well, depends on the size of the estate or whether he was the only one there. Either resided on the estate or had his own cottage.
Status: Well, since a gardener usually worked on smaller estates, he probably didn’t have a place on the servant hierarchy. If part of a team, he’d usually be a member of the Lower Staff, addressed by his first name, and reported directly to the Head Gardener.
Hours: Worked from sunrise to sunset at least as well as depended on the seasons.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who had an extensive knowledge of plants, particularly fruit trees and flowers.
Characters who had this job: Well, there was one of Rose McClare’s boyfriends named Sam Thawley from Season 4 (but he’s from the Easingwold Estate, though Downton Abbey has to have some). The Dowager Countess also had at least a couple at Dower House and suspected one of them of stealing her ornate letter opener. Joseph Moseley’s father worked as one as well. Outside the show, a great fictional example is Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings who’s from a whole family of them that worked for Bilbo Baggins (yet, “gardener” is actually more like his official job title).

4. Grounds Keeper

Grounds Keeper: At Easingwold Estate, this job goes to the nice strapping young man who sweeps a marquis's daughter under a servant's guise. Of course, he never had a chance with her due to Edwardian class differences of the day. Yet, maybe would've been better off with Daisy. After all, she may run a farm and he may know something about landscaping.

Grounds Keeper: At Easingwold Estate, this job goes to the nice strapping young man who sweeps a marquis’s daughter under a servant’s guise. Of course, he never had a chance with her due to Edwardian class differences of the day. Yet, maybe would’ve been better off with Daisy. After all, she may run a farm and he may know something about landscaping. But, man, he sure can dance.

Function: General laborers under the Head Gardener. Responsible for everything from planting trees to cutting grass as well as other tasks relating to landscaping.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 8-16 pounds ($850-$1,700) depending on age and ability as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, addressed by first name, and reported to Head Gardener.
Hours: Worked from sunrise to sunset.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man at least in his teens or possibly younger.
Characters who had this job: Possibly Sam Thawley from Season 4, though he was referred to as a, “gardener.” Still, Downton Abbey has a lot of these since it’s a large estate.

5. Park Keeper
Function: Cares for the deer at the estate.
Pay and Benefits: Sizeable annual salary as well as his own cottage on the estate.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, addressed by first name, reported to Game Keeper.
Hours: This is a 24/7 job.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who knows quite a bit about deer.
Characters who had this job: While there are no characters with this job at Downton Abbey, this doesn’t mean that the Granthams don’t have one. I mean, they sponsor hunts.

6. Yard Boy
Function: Fetched wood and aided gardener in utilitarian affairs.
Pay and Benefits: Besides room and board, not much pay.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, possibly among the lowest positions. Addressed by first name and reported to Head Gardener.
Hours: Worked from early morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a boy who could be as young as 10, maybe even younger.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist at Downton Abbey.

The Hunt

The Hunt: At Downton Abbey, this is an event in which the Granthams and a lot of rich folks load up their guns, saddle up on horseback,  and ride on wit the dogs to shoot some prized game. Not sure if any of them get wasted before then but there's a lot of comedy sketches that play off the alcohol bit.

The Hunt: At Downton Abbey, this is an event in which the Granthams and a lot of rich folks load up their guns, saddle up on horseback, and ride on wit the dogs to shoot some prized game. Not sure if any of them get wasted before then but there’s a lot of comedy sketches that play off the alcohol bit. Nevertheless, when Lady Mary takes part, is a source of a lot of sexual tension.

1. Master of the Hounds

Master of the Hounds: At Downton Abbey, this job goes to the guy who's name you don't know and probably gets barely any screen time. Yet, he's in charge of the pack and gets the hunt started so Lady could have her 3 way love triangle with Evelyn Napier, Matthew Crawley, and Kemal Pamuk.

Master of the Hounds: At Downton Abbey, this job goes to the guy who’s name you don’t know and probably gets barely any screen time. Yet, he’s in charge of the pack and gets the hunt started so Lady could have her 3 way love triangle with Evelyn Napier, Matthew Crawley, and Kemal Pamuk.

Function: Operates the sporting activities of the hunt, maintains the kennels, and has the final say in all matters of the hunt on the estate.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure that he received a generous compensation as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff, addressed by last name, and reported to the Estate Manager.
Hours: Worked from early morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who has experience with hunting and dogs.
Characters who had this job: Though no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible someone does at the estate. However, he’s part of a staff that’s not the show’s main focus.

2. Kennelman
Function: Looked after the hounds and assured all tasks were completed when pack and staff return from hunting.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they were well compensated as well as received room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff, addressed by first name, and reported to Master of the Hounds.
Hours: Worked from early morning to late at night.
Typical Candidate: A man who’s had experience working with dogs.
Characters who had this job: While no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible someone on the estate does. However, the hunting staff aren’t the main focus on the show.

3. Huntsman
Function: Responsible for directing the hounds during a hunt. Carries a horn to communicate with the hounds, followers, and whippers-in. May fill the role of Kennelman or Master of the Hounds.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they received a handsome compensation as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff and addressed by last name. Reported to Master of the Hounds.
Hours: Worked as long as needed as far as I know.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who’s had experience with dogs and hunting.
Characters who had this job: While no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible someone on the estate does. However, the hunting staff aren’t the main focus on the show.

4. Terrier Man
Function: Carried out fox control when the object of the hunt is to kill one. Controlled the terriers that may be used underground to flush out the fox.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they received a handsome compensation as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff, addressed by last name, and reported to Master of the Hounds.
Hours: Worked from early in the morning to late at night or whenever as needed.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who’s had experience with dogs.
Characters who had this job: While no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible someone on the estate does. However, the hunting staff aren’t the main focus on the show.

5. Whipper-In
Function: Assistant to the huntsman whose main job was to keep the pack together as well as prevent the pack from straying.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they received a fair compensation as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff, addressed by first name, and reported to the Huntsman.
Hours: Worked as needed.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who’s had experience with dogs and animals but not as much as the Huntsman.
Characters who had this job: While no named characters have this job at Downton Abbey, it’s possible someone on the estate does. However, the hunting staff aren’t the main focus on the show.