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Ciavarella 1 Christopher P.

Ciavarella Professor Lago English 1100 November 11th 2013 Fairness of Compensation Pay gaps are a natural phenomenon which occur when a person is compensated for a their occupations difficulty, time requirement, as well as, the time and effort it takes to prepare ones self for that particular job or service. For example, a doctor would be paid more than a waitress because doctors must obtain formal higher education to become a doctor, while a waitress must only possess basic skills. This kind of a salary gap is understandable and expected. However, certain pay gaps still evident today are outdated and more importantly unfair. Cultural influence plays a huge role in the compensation a person receives. Globally, the issue of gender discrimination is virtually always present. From the beginning of modern human development, women took care of children while men did most of the heavy lifting, hunting, and provided protection for his family and mate. This trend continued almost uninterrupted until about the 1950s when women in large went to work in some cases for the first time in history; it was believed that women were simply not a working class of people. An excerpt from the social journal Sex Roles writes The number of female workers employed outside of the home has been steadily increasing since the 1950s from 29.6% to 53.6% in 2010 (US Department of Labor Statistics 2011). These statistics signal fundamental changes that have occurred in the United States over the past sixty years and suggests greater egalitarian standards that have been historically seen.

Ciavarella 2 (Sex Roles, 289). In 1923 the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) was put before congress to become integrated into the United States Law, after Alice Paul wrote the first draft in 1922. It stated, Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. This would have give rights to both men and women to do the same jobs, and made it illegal to tell a man or a woman otherwise. While both men and women supported it, it didnt pass congress until 1972. Even still, in the 21st century, the year 2013, men and women are paid unequally according to a study at Vanderbilt University. Across an average of job salaries from CEOs positions, to management jobs, men earn up to one and a half times more than women (IOMA Report). The Journal Sex Roles also continues stating, Despite these extensively publicized egalitarian standards, economic and educational gender inequalities favoring men, although declining continue to exists in the United States For example, the current ratio of womens to mens median annual earnings is 82.2 in the United States, and there continues to be fewer women than men in leadership positions. (Sex Roles, 289). Discrimination in the work force is not solely limited to gender. Other physical factors such as height and weight also can play a role in the kind of opportunities a person has. An except from the economic journal The Enterprise writes, Kelsey Eller, a dietitian who studied weight issues while at Utah State University, said stereo-types and myths about weight lead to discrimination against overweight and obese people, who often are seen as lazy, greedy, selfish, addicted to food and lacking self-discipline and initiative. Research on workplace weight bias shows that heavy women are paid $100,000 less than normal-weight counterparts over a 40-year career, she said. This means that without any

Ciavarella 3 emphasis on skill or productivity, a mathematically identifiable trend can be seen which clearly and undeniably shows a pattern of underpayment. Historically careers, which are undesirable, typically fluctuate most in pay. But a study out of the U.S. Department of Labor suggests otherwise as a report written by Eric Heisler from the St. Louis Post states [The US Department Labor] examined wages of more than 600,000 workers at 292 job sites across the St. Louis region last year. Perhaps most significantly, the hourly wage difference between white and blue-collar workers was tiny: just $2.07 on average. (Heisler, A.1). Along with the discrepancy, there have been a few obvious and justified explanations for this gap, some more complicated than others. My uncle, a blue collar Electrician had some input on the issue. Tim Peschel, a certified electrician became involved in the career when he was only eighteen. Now fifty-two years old, he still only makes a fraction more than what he first made nearly thirty five years ago. Yet despite this, Tim has no regrets in his decision to be a blue-collar workman. I asked him what he thought about his job in general, how he likes his pay, if he regrets his choice, and why he stayed. My job required a fraction of the education most others got. I paid a fee for the classes I needed and I was on the job fast making money. In this way I got a head start, sure I knew I wouldnt make too much but to be using my hands and making money, it wasnt a job for me. I ran into problems sure when contracts changed hands, and also in this way I couldnt climb the salary ladder most others got the chance to, but it kept me on my feet I guess you can say. Tim, registered in New Jersey, and only working in New Jersey, hasnt witnessed the ill effects of the lack of education as well as the lack of pay typically discussed by those in the Blue Collar careers. But perhaps he is an exception.

Ciavarella 4 To explore this possibility I interviewed another uncle of mine, Daniel Gerne. Daniel is not only an automotive technician giving him experience in the blue-collar work force, but he has also gone to school late in his age to become certified as a teacher. Daniel has been an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified for approximately twenty-seven years. Working in the automotive industry he has seen all types of jobs big and small. And has been a teacher for the last four of those years. I asked him what he thinks about the white-collar/blue-collar pay gap. He had this to say. You know, I love my job. Teaching kids to do what I did, and I guess still do. Sometimes I wish I started teaching earlier. Then other times I think, I couldnt do this job if I didnt do it for all these years. The pay was sometimes an issue sure but at least I wasnt at a desk. I make probably twenty percent more now than I did as a technician. Hard to say exactly, automotive careers arent the most stable. Some months were good, others bad, still, there was never NOT a demand for us [automotive technicians]. Still, I was hard pressed to find what he thought of how much teachers were paid. So I asked him if the more pay he got was justified. I think so. Im not fuckin with you, school is hard man you should know. You kids are smart now; get it done thats what I think. I didnt have a stitch of homework when I was your age. Now Im grading papers and doing fairly complex math daily. So yeah sure, teachers deserve more. This example solidified my feelings on the issue. The value we give to jobs is justified to an extent. Those requiring less education, less effort to achieve, pay proportionally less. The blue-collar workmen should be in such a career because it is their passion. Perhaps the ones who feel cheated are the ones not fit for such a career. But to say so would be too rash. Globally, we must realize that there is unfairness in compensation. The real issues we must focus on to achieve fairness, are the issues that are out of the

Ciavarella 5 control of the people physically. Those factors such as gender, height, age, race. While the Civil Rights Act of 1963 attempted to fix these problems, the problems in one form or another still exist, and will continue until these traits can be looked passed for their true value of compensation.

Ciavarella 6 Works Cited Heisler, Eric. Blue-collar workers are paid well here: [Third Edition] The St. Louis Post. A.1. 2006. Print. Fry, Amelia. Alice Paul and the ERA. Social Education. September 1995. Volume 59. 285289. Print Anonymous. IOMAs report on Salary Surveys. Bureau of National Affairs. 7.5 (2007): 8. Print. Kidd, Michael. The gender wage gap in Australia- The path of future convergence. Economic Record. 78. 218 (2002): 161-174. Print. Sex Roles. Perceptions of Gender Discrimination Across Six Decades: The Moderating roles of Gender and Age Sex Roles. 69. (2013): 289-296. Print. Brice, Wallace. Bill barring discrimination based on height, weight fails to advance. The Enterprise. 42. 30 (2013): 1. Print