Still on the job but working & earning less

Those lucky enough to still have jobs don’t necessarily have it made. Many face wage cuts, demotions to lower-paying positions or reductions in the numbers of hours they work.

The New York Times says airline captains now fly as first officers, a reduction not only in rank but in pay — as much as 50 percent less. Hourly workers find themselves cut from full-time to part-time and some face loss in benefits as well.

It’s the new economy and one where such cutbacks are the worst since the great depression.

Less work means less money which translates into less buying power and and a resulting impact on the economy.

Reports The Times:

The dark blue captain’s hat, with its golden oak-leaf clusters, sits atop a bookcase in Bryan Lawlor’s home, out of reach of the children. The uniform their father wears still displays the four stripes of a commercial airline captain, but the hat stays home. The rules forbid that extra display of authority, now that Mr. Lawlor has been downgraded to first officer.

He is now in the co-pilot’s seat in the 50-seat commuter jets he flies, not for any failure in skill. He wears his captain’s stripes, he explains, to make that point. But with air travel down, his employer cut costs by downgrading 130 captains, those with the lowest seniority, to first officers, automatically cutting the wage of each by roughly 50 percent — to $34,000 in Mr. Lawlor’s case.

The demotion, the loss of command, the cut in pay to less than his wife, Tracy, makes as a fourth-grade teacher, have diminished Mr. Lawlor, 34, in his own eyes. He still thinks he will return to being the family’s principal breadwinner, although as the months pass he worries more. “I don’t want to be a 50-year-old pilot earning $40,000 a year,” he said, adding that his wife does not want to be married to a pilot with so little earning power.

In recent decades, layoffs were the standard procedure for shrinking labor costs. Reducing the wages of those who remained on the job was considered demoralizing and risky: the best workers would jump to another employer. But now pay cuts, sometimes the result of downgrades in rank or shortened workweeks, are occurring more frequently than at any time since the Great Depression.

2 Responses to "Still on the job but working & earning less"

  1. woody188  October 14, 2009 at 10:07 am

    My original career plan was to join the Air Force and then go commercial after 5 or 10 years. I decided against that path due to personal and religious reasons, but I feel for Mr. Lawlor. It could very well be me. We are even the same age.

    Wonder if they realize his wife is soon to get a pay cut too?

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  2. Carl Nemo  October 14, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Captain Lawlor’s problems go further back than the current and recent administrations. This nation’s troubles started in the early 80’s with the push for massive deregulation of the airlines, the Bell System, the railroads, U.S. Post Office, many utilities etc. Even our oversight agencies turned into a bunch of accommodating, “hear, see and speak no evil” regulators when blatant corruption was suspected or even discovered; ie., Enron, MCI with most recently Bernard Madoff.

    These deregulated entities were allowed to make a reasonable return on investment. Rate increases or route changes had to be not only approved, but some thought put into what was being implemented and its impact on the rate payers.

    Once Reaganomics (Voodoo Economics) ate its way through our somewhat orderly system of capitalism a new order of rampant, “pirate capitalism” was birthed that has now eaten away the entire fabric of the world economic system no differently than “strange particles” could change the very order of matter morphing it into simply gray goo.

    We’re now mucking about in the this goo of national destruction wrought by money hungry, grubbing, out of control pirate capitalists.

    Carl Nemo **==

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