Some employees are getting overlooked on compensation increases. With the rise of inflation and the escalating cost of healthcare, it is hard to budget for everyone. We use the excuse that these people do not have a client-facing position; rather, they are the support staff or non-revenue generators. We may say some people are essential to the business and bring in revenue so every year an increase in pay can be justified. But what about those who been loyal to the organization with diligence and hard work. Shouldn’t they see an increase in pay as well?
Recently LAUSD’s support staff took to a massive strike, shutting down the nation’s second largest school system to protest better pay and improved working conditions. Included were food workers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers – and many more departments banded together. After the three-day strike, with mediation by Mayor Karen Bass, a resolution was signed along with new contracts. During the pandemic, these workers were deemed #essential, and the backlash was that they were mistreated. They had to go three years without a new contract or raise.
Three years without a raise…some of us would argue the question: why didn’t these people just find a better paying job elsewhere? Why go through the hassle of a strike if you are not valued where you work? The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the United States’ unemployment rate at 3.6% in February of 2023. In America, versus other parts of the world, there is movement in our domestic labor force. People like me and other recruiters in the industry can push and pull employees into other roles for different companies, thereby creating a better paying job market. So why didn’t these #LAUSD employees just work somewhere else?
It is hard to leave one’s current company even if the pay is not ideal. To give an example in the legal field, I was recruiting an attorney who had a hard time leaving their firm. Even though they knew they were underpaid, they didn’t want to leave. A lot of people like – and even love – their work. They like their day-to-day jobs, their co-workers, their offices, and their clients.
Maybe the Los Angeles school system has employees who enjoy working with youth. From the pictures and videos shown on the news, these people seem to express the communal joy of working together. The reason why we work at all is to find happiness in what we do with the people we are working with.
On the corporate side, much of what has been said about the LAUSD pushback is that the higher cost of wages and #healthcare is not in the budget. As a business – even a non-profit – paying people more will never be in the budget. What about the attorney who is procuring thousands in fees, but their salary does not increase. Is it likewise not in the budget?
It is up to company leaders to take employees reviews seriously and allow for compensation adjustment. It also up to employees to look at their current situations and compare their work to others in the same field. In this way, they can make sure they are being compensated for what they are doing for their organizations.