For the past few decades, complaints about the minimum wage, the cost of living, and working conditions have been increasing in the U.S. Particularly, in the past few years many have called for a national minimum wage of $15 an hour and have complained that many people can’t afford to pay rent and other necessities at the current set minimum wage.
These frustrations about the state of our workforce and living costs are not new, but many people have reached their breaking point after dealing with the pandemic that has gone on for nearly two years.
It’s clear to many Americans that our demands of higher wages, better working conditions, and affordable living are not being met in the way that is desired. Millions of people lost jobs due to COVID and many had to adjust to working from home. Unemployment benefits and stimulus checks were often the one thing that kept some from being homeless. In the most recent months, we as a country have gone through varying levels of getting back to normal as some pandemic restrictions were reduced, and many employees were expected to return to the office.
It would be assumed that the process of getting back to normal would have filled the millions of available jobs, but instead more people have been quitting every month since April of this year.
According to the Department of Labor, more than four million Americans quit their jobs in the month of August alone. Economists are calling this trend “The Great Resignation.”
Over the next several months we will see how this Great Resignation will affect our workforce. Hopefully, this trend will be the push to get our demands met. The service industries are being affected the most by this trend as many of those who’ve quit their jobs work in restaurants, retail, and other service jobs.
This doesn’t come as a surprise as many of the employees in this industry fell under the umbrella of essential workers during the height of the pandemic.
It’s no surprise that service workers are those who have been resigning since they have had to deal with not just poor compensation but also face inconsiderate customers and work insane hours. These workers realized they’d rather look for work elsewhere, or not work at all.
Although it may not seem like it, there is some good that could come from this. There is a lot of power that resides in the people right now, either these companies will have to raise their wages or not have any employees. As employers are struggling to find workers, some of them are raising their wages.
The federal minimum wage is at a low $7.25 an hour. Companies such as Amazon, service industry Best Buy, and Costco have had minimum wages at $15 or more for the past couple of years. Even with these changes at some big companies, it’s time that we see this change reflected at every place of employment.
Destiny Blanchard is a senior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]