Editorial: Know Your Worth…

It never ceases to amaze me, how in today’s modern society we don’t have an accurate method for measuring working conditions and benefits. With so many facets of life constantly reporting figures & analytics, it literally feels sometimes like we are drowning in data. Unfortunately, most of that data is related to how corporations make more money but no real data measuring how much money we should be making.

With Wall Street, social media analytics, next generation sports statistics and credit ratings scales constantly collecting and updating data, it really makes you wonder why we don’t have a reliable source reporting on employment worthiness.

I’m not talking about the likes of Glass Door or LinkedIn. I’m taking about knowing how your company measures up based on hard data that exemplifies a good sustainable job. Data seems to be a one-way street; we use it to market the goods and services produced by the hard-working populous, but we don’t use it to properly market or compare their jobs and/or rank their real earning potential.

What if you were able to have an employer “report card” that you could use to compare information on potential employers. It would be like knowing if you want to invest in a company based on their previous period’s financial performance, or when a bank checks your credit before issuing you a loan? Makes sense to me.

It also makes sense that you won’t know what you can afford in the future if you have no idea how much money you will be making. The thought that your job, the very thing that allows you to do everything else in life, doesn’t have the transparency and scrutiny necessary for you to make an educated decision about, seems unacceptable to me. After all, your employer interviews you to gauge whether you’d be a good fit. They look at your experience and growth potential to see if they want to pay you what you’re asking. Shouldn’t you be able to interview your employer to see if what they’re offering measures up to other employers? This is your life; this is your job…shouldn’t you be able to know and have a say in what your future working conditions will be?

Think about it this way, if you are looking for a place to eat, a restaurant with an “A” rating is most likely to grab your attention and your business, right? That rating is out there for the world to see BEFORE you engage with them, right? So why can’t we have a system that evaluates and rates employers? The same way that standards of health and cleanliness are stringently upheld by restaurants seeking the best possible rating, shouldn’t we also be able to see a rating on how employers treat their employees? Wouldn’t it be great if every employer was subjected to that type of system? Would an employer put forth the same effort to create and maintain quality jobs if they were concerned with the fact that the public could openly and consistently view their behavior?

We believe that randomly picking a job is the equivalent of closing your eyes and bungee jumping into the unknown. It may be a great way to get a rush, but it is not the best way to land a good job. People shouldn’t blindly get into jobs that do not have a visual path for their own success and happiness.

What if you walked by a business with an “F” rating? Would you patronize that establishment? The same should go for their working environment. Would you work somewhere if ahead of time you didn’t have answers for what your salary would be in the future; or what, if any, health benefits would be available, and how much they would cost you; or if there would ever be any sort of retirement vehicle for you? Unfortunately, too many people blindly accept and work at places with conditions like this. The ‘enter at your own risk’ mentality in our society needs to end. You should know what your prospective employer’s rating is, so that you have the opportunity to pursue a different job if you are unsatisfied with their rating.

This rating concept would assist in accomplishing what we have been striving to achieve for years… leveling the playing field for our responsible employers. This would also invariably increase the quality of jobs offered throughout New York.

We here at Local 1500 pride ourselves on fighting hard to make the most out of everyone’s jobs. We feel that the best way to do that, and to hold employers accountable, from the first day you punch in until the day you retire, is through a Union contract. For far too long, employers have treated working conditions as if it were the employee’s problem. In too many cases their corporate privacy, “open-door policies”, and non-transparent salary disparity have created an advantageous environment for companies to pay people less.

Many employees often ask themselves if they have the best possible situation as far as their job goes. Isn’t that question best answered by a collective of employees that currently work there? The employees in a Union environment are the ones that propose and negotiate the terms of their employment, and the answers are clear when we stand up to support each other and ratify a contract.

The transparency that a collective bargaining agreement brings employees eliminates doubt and promotes equal treatment, from day one. With a Union contract, you are able to see what protections and benefits you have and will have. There are no secrets and there is no favoritism. Whether you have a friend, or a family member who is job hunting or looking to improve their workplace, or you have been a Local 1500 member for years, reading through our contracts will give you the stability of knowing exactly what your job is worth.