This story in yesterday’s Daily News made me sick: Kennedy Airport worker of 7 years says he’s ‘modern-day slave,’ takes home $125 per week – NY Daily News.
I’m glad to see that “a group of workers…have filed a complaint with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claiming they are being stiffed by their employer, Allstate Maintenance,” and that “Schneiderman’s office has launched an investigation.”
There are so many complaints I have about this situation. First, why, why, why are so many civic jobs that should be administered by the Port Authority farmed out to profit-making corporations?
OK, I can suggest an answer to that question: Ronald Reagan’s jolly political tenet that government needs to be shrunk, and its codicil: corporations work more efficiently and less expensively than government. Ever since then, our governments — which are, let me remind us all, large non-profit organizations — have turned vast amounts of our Treasury bucks over to under- or unregulated corporations to do work which government agencies could do better, less expensively and, most importantly, more humanely.
Government is our consensus morality. While corporations are, um, not.
Please read the whole Rich Schapiro Daily News story, which is, in large part, a portrait of a man named David Harrison and how he earns only $125 for a 33-hour week hauling luggage around JFK. “Harrison’s weekly MetroCard alone costs $30. By week’s end, he often needs to borrow money from his family to eat.”
Read it, scream, cry and then ask how we allow the Port Authority to turn Mr. Harrison’s job over to a corporation whose profits are yanked out of Mr. Harrison’s paycheck.
By the way, isn’t that the same Port Authority that paid Christie political hacks big salaries to do…well, what did they do? I mean, aside from shutting down the George Washington Bridge?
Update: yesterday (January 23, 2014) I learned I was wrong: the skycaps, like other underpaid employees, are for some ungodly reason not employed by the Port Authority (or its various outsourcing companies) but by the airlines themselves.
Why? That’s not a rhetorical question. Especially after yesterday’s Daily News, in following up its story about skycaps, went into another branch of this ugly episode of slave wages by covering the airport security guards. The ones employed by the TSA (a government agency) get much much more money per hour and full benefits although the guards employed by the airlines do the same work. So here’s the story about this seriously odd inequity.