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Mon Sep 4, 2017, 12:42 PM

 

To understand rising inequality, consider the janitors at Kodak and Apple, then and now

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/03/upshot/to-understand-rising-inequality-consider-the-janitors-at-two-top-companies-then-and-now.html?mcubz=3

"ROCHESTER — Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.

For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the early 1980s. For Ms. Ramos, that means cleaning at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in the present day.

In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.

The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end."


Evans, a janitor at Kodak was a Kodak employee and received all the benefits accorded to Kodak employees. Ramos, a janitor at Apple is not an Apple employee and receives no Apple benefits. Evans was able to move up though Kodak, eventually becoming chief technology officer of the whole company. Ramos can only hope to achieve the position of Team Leader, supervising other janitors for $0.50/hr more.

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Reply To understand rising inequality, consider the janitors at Kodak and Apple, then and now (Original post)
EL34x4 Sep 2017 OP
elleng Sep 2017 #1
EL34x4 Sep 2017 #2
elleng Sep 2017 #3
EL34x4 Sep 2017 #4
leftstreet Sep 2017 #5
demmiblue Sep 2017 #6
white_wolf Sep 2017 #7
lapfog_1 Sep 2017 #8
bettyellen Sep 2017 #11
JustAnotherGen Sep 2017 #9
smirkymonkey Sep 2017 #10
lapfog_1 Sep 2017 #12
JustAnotherGen Sep 2017 #14
tecelote Sep 2017 #13
EL34x4 Sep 2017 #15
alarimer Sep 2017 #16
madokie Sep 2017 #17


Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 12:53 PM

2. Nobody will ever read this article on the economy group.

 

Looks like most articles posted over there have between 0 and 1 replies.

This place has way too many subforums/groups and really only about three (LBN, GD and Lounge) that get traffic. Posting an article on any of the others isn't worth the trouble.

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Response to EL34x4 (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 12:55 PM

3. But I do.

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Response to elleng (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 12:57 PM

4. I now see you posted it over there.

 

I didn't look over there for it. I did a quick skim of GD, didn't see it and posted it here.

Hopefully it will reach a wider audience. It is a eye-opening article.

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 01:00 PM

5. DURec

Interesting article

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 01:03 PM

6. K&R

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 01:11 PM

7. I've often thought that unless its remote work, contract labor should be illegal.

It's nothing more than a way to screw over the worker. I'm so sick of this anti-worker mentality in this company.

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 01:28 PM

8. It is actually worse than "core competence"

I was a highly paid contractor at a well known Silicon Valley computer company.

They brought me in to specifically create a new high-performance SSD (solid state disk) infrastructure. I had a small team of developers and minimal hardware access to complete my invention.

A few months after we started my project, the company was acquired by a very large high tech company. My project continued. After another 4 months, we had a demonstration ready... it met or exceeded all of the goals set forth when I started. We needed another 4 to 6 months to make it into a product that could be sold, but some selected sales opportunities were identified and, under non-disclosure, we told prospective customers about the existence of this technology.

Last June, one of those customers went to the HQ of the large company that I now worked for and presented to them (us) an opportunity to sell to that customer some $70 M of hardware and software, including a significant amount of my new storage invention.

At the end of the meeting, the VP of my division tried to convince the customer to wait to purchase their system until 2019 or 2020 because "new technology under development at XXX" would supplant the system I invented. The new technology requires the cooperation of processor chip vendors (Intel, AMD) and, so far, none have signed up to include this unproven technology.

The next week my contract and those of my team members were unceremoniously terminated and my WORKING TECHNOLOGY was thrown away.

The customer went away angry that they couldn't get the promised system to solve their needs.

The irony of this is... IF I had invented this outside of the large company (in my own startup) AND gotten it to the point of selling it to a few customers... the large tech company would have almost certainly paid over $100M to acquire my company as this is the way that they "innovate". In their case NIH is much better than inventing it internally.

American corporations are so insane that you can't believe it.

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Response to lapfog_1 (Reply #8)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 02:50 PM

11. My old company bought another company, transferred some of its best designer and

 

Marketers to work there, fully staffed it- unveiled a retail store opening (that lasted six months) all to acquire some technology used for online sales. None of the people who moved over there for over a year knew it was a temp thing! They only opened a store because they were required to in he sales contract- the seller wanted to prevent exactly what happened! The business folded and they spent god knows what on a website upgrade that made little difference to the customer. Ugh.

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 01:34 PM

9. Not just janitors at Kodak

Everyone. The number of my high school peers whose parents were quiet millionaires is astounding. Even more so for the people 10-15 years older than us.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 01:38 PM

10. I work for a company too that used to be the same. Until they were acquired, the benefits

were amazing and many workers, even the blue collar workers, retired as quiet millionaires. It is very different now, but at least the legacy people who remained on are allowed to keep their pensions and profit sharing.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #10)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 02:55 PM

12. Microsoft too

back in the day... (1980s)... lots of employees, including janitors and security guards, etc. all participated in employee stock ownership programs that made many of them millionaires.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 5, 2017, 07:48 AM

14. When I graduated from University

I went to work for a division of York International that had JUST been sold to them - by Kodak. As a result of that purchase the division's pension plan was kept in place. Two years with profit sharing and I left with almost 3K in my pension plan (good years for that line of business - thanks El NINO!). I still have that money (grown) today in an IRA.

Pensions were king.

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Mon Sep 4, 2017, 03:40 PM

13. Ms. Ramos may need welfare to survive.

Is this welfare for Ms. Ramos or for Apple?

If Apple paid a living wage, Ms. Ramos would not need welfare. She would have the same income just an earned one. Otherwise, it's a wash for her.

So really, it is Apple benefiting from taxpayer funded welfare. We, the taxpayers, make up the extra money needed for a living wage. Apple pockets this tax subsidy.

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Response to tecelote (Reply #13)

Tue Sep 5, 2017, 09:08 AM

15. In California, Ms. Ramos undoubtedly qualifies for many forms of assistance.

 

Of course, Apple doesn't pay her at all. Her work has been contracted out. She's just a nameless, faceless, janitor for whom nobody within Apple views as a member of the company.

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Tue Sep 5, 2017, 09:14 AM

16. What are the Democrats doing to address this issue?

It is their ties to Silicon Valley that have enabled this abuse.

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Response to EL34x4 (Original post)

Tue Sep 5, 2017, 09:18 AM

17. A few things we have to get right moving toward the future

Income inequity, the press and paper ballots, hand counted

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