It Costs to Work in America

Wages, benefits, health insurance?  Many jobs in America, especially those “good middle class jobs” that Republicans talk about, could keep a couple or small family below the poverty line. But there are also costs in working – quite a few.  These costs are the major reason that many unemployed and underemployed  workers cannot “just take any job now, but keep looking for a better job.”  By the way, how much does it cost to look for work?  This calculator helps get a better picture of the real costs, but it does not mention taxes, social security or medicare deductions.  Transportation for much of America is tenuous with few public transportation options – and it’s expensive to own and insure an automobile, very necessary for many commutes.  There are also costs in the loss of time, not only for your work but travel time, breaks (mandatory or non-existent), preparation time for dressing and grooming, cosmetics for women.  These costs of time and transportation are particularly trying for workers in jobs with changing schedules, being sent home early, told to stay home or prone to further cuts in part-time daily hours.  And how about those employers who enforce an “on-call” schedule or mandatory overtime or split shifts or rotating shifts?  If you have ever had to work these kinds of jobs you are also probably afraid to join a union, if there is one, even though unions and minimum wage levels have crossed your mind.

workers labor uniform employees edited

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