On October 1, United Airlines is planning to outsource 630 gate agent jobs at 12 airports to companies that pay near-poverty level wages. The airports affected include Salt Lake City; Charlotte, North Carolina; Pensacola, Florida; Detroit and Des Moines, Iowa.
As a result hundreds of employees who formerly made middle-class, living wages will be forced to transfer to other cities, take early retirement or seek employment elsewhere. Union employees who have been with the company for years -- many making a respectable $50,000-per-year salaries -- will be replaced by non-union employees who will be paid less than half -- between $9.50 and $12 per hour.
Nine-fifty an hour is a poverty-level wage if you are trying to support a family -- and $12 barely exceeds the poverty level. In fact at $12 a family of three makes so little that they are eligible for food stamps.
That, in effect, means that United and its subcontractor will be subsidized by American taxpayers for the food stamp payments made to their new low-wage workers.
United's move to convert middle-class jobs into near-poverty level jobs is shameful -- it's that simple.
And United's move to cut employee pay is emblematic of corporate America's systematic campaign to lower wages and destroy the American middle class in order to increase returns to Wall Street shareholders. It is exactly the kind of action that must come to a screeching halt if the middle class is to survive -- and our children are once again be able to look...
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