My Fair ShareÂ is aÂ cross-postÂ fromÂ Working Americaâ€™sÂ Dear DavidÂ workplace advice column. David knows you deserve to be treated fairly on the job and heâ€™s available to answer your questions, whether it is co-workers making off-handed comments that youÂ should retireÂ or you feel like your job’s long hours areÂ causing stress.
What can you do about not being paid a fair wage for the work you do? I make a lot of money for the company I work for feeding a robot up to 4,000 packages per hour. How do I get some of the money I make for the company through high production paid to me?
â€śWe make it, they take it.â€ť If the last 40 years have anything to teach us, itâ€™s that if we leave it up to them, too many bosses donâ€™t feel like they need to share fairlyâ€”if they even share at all.Â Check this out. It used to be that as worker productivity increased, so did a workerâ€™s wages. But sometime in the 1970s that stopped being the case. Today, even as most workers are struggling in a stagnant economy, big banks and corporations areÂ posting record profits. If youâ€™re feeling squeezed, itâ€™s not your fault.
Â As long as youâ€™re being paid at least the minimum wage, thereâ€™s no legal requirement that a wage be â€śfair.â€ť So who should get to decide whatâ€™s â€śfairâ€ť? You already know what can happen when the boss gets to be the deciderâ€”so the key is not to leave it only to your boss! And to act collectively.
It starts by you getting together with at least one other person at your workplace who feels the same way you do. Do this firstâ€”there are certain legal protections that kick in for you onceÂ this has happened. Meet up someplace outside of work, and compare notes. Who else can you talk to who would stand with you? Make a list, get folks together again and ask others what improvements theyâ€™d like to see at their workplace. This has been said before, but these are all important first steps. Together you may decide that you are ready to take something up with your boss right away. Or you could decide that you will be more successful negotiating if you firstÂ form a union. This process might take some time, and itâ€™s worth it to move cautiously. Whatever you decideâ€”you are stronger acting as a group than if you act alone.Â
This post was originally posted on AFL-CIO NOW on December 30, 2012. Reprinted with Permission.Â
About the Author: David at Working AmericaÂ focuses on answering submitted questions about workplace fairness and workplace rights around the country. Working America is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and is the fastest-growing organization for working people in the country. At 3 million strong and growing, Working America uses their strength in numbers to educate each other, mobilize and win real victories to improve working peopleâ€™s lives.