By Irami Osei-Frimpong (April 10, 2018)
We’ve let employers dictate the terms of the labor debate.
Forget the skills mismatch. There is a wage mismatch, and when wages aren’t pegged to cost of living increases, it’s a bit ridiculous.
I first noticed it when I heard some older cat harangue a kid for not working their way through college like the baby boomer did, but when you look at the student’s rent and tuition, working for 7 dollar an hour isn’t really worth the student’s time. Then I just started listening to non-students laboring under medical bills, and once again, if you have tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt, the shine falls off working at 8 dollar an hour.
Gordon Lafer’s book, The Job Training Charade, lays out the myth of the “skills mismatch” and how it’s not the reason for under and un-employment, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that we simply stopped believing in organizing an economy for employers and employees, and instead, organized it for capitalized employers (black people, that’s not us), and serfs (that is us).