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Target Employees Won The 'Fight For $15' but Weren't Ready for the Trade-Offs


Muda69
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https://reason.com/2019/10/21/target-15-bucks-per-hour-didnt-work-out/#comments

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Under pressure from activists, Target announced in September 2017 that it would hike wages for all 323,000 employees to at least $15 per hour by 2020.

This was a major victory for the "Fight for $15" movement—a win that was supposed to have repercussions for retail and fast food workers everywhere. "Our momentum is unstoppable," a Minneapolis Fight for $15 organizer told Common Dreams.

Two years later, the story is pretty different.

"I got that dollar raise but I'm getting $200 less in my paycheck," a Target employee named Heather told CNN. Heather's hours have been cut from about 40 per week to around 20, she explained.

And she's hardly alone. CNN Business (which withheld employees' last names) has interviewed 23 Target employees in the past month. Many tell the same story: They are working fewer hours and have lost some employment benefits as a result. Target only provides health insurance benefits to workers who average at least 30 hours of work a week.

It's almost as though hourly wages are only one part of a worker's compensation—and that hiking wages might cause other, unintended consequences.

Unlike businesses in states that have recently set higher minimum wages, Target made the decision to raise their wages voluntarily. So it's likely the company undertook its decision with a more holistic view of how to compensate its employees—and how to offset a wage increase with reductions in hours or benefits, or by overhauling its operations. Target COO John Mulligan told CNN that the company created more specialized positions focused on efficiency.

It's also possible that the employees interviewed by CNN don't represent the norm across the more than 360,000 workers at Target stores in America. In any company of that size, there will always be some people who are having their hours reduced while others are taking on larger roles.

But the bottom line is that wage increases do not exist in a vacuum. And that's not just true at Target. Minimum wage increases are "not a net good, and zero-sum at best," according to a recent analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a free market think tank. In a report released earlier this month, CEI found that mandated wage increases include a wide number of trade-offs, including reduced non-wage compensation, fewer job openings, reduced hours, increased automation, higher insurance co-pays, less vacation and personal time, and reduced employee discounts.

"The negative economic trade-offs for minimum wage workers, unfortunately, cancel out most of the paycheck gains," says Ryan Young, CEI senior fellow and author of the report.

That sounds like exactly what's happened at Target.

"The company keeps hiring more and more people part time," Target staffer Lee Beecher—a member of United for Respect, a workers' advocacy group—told CNN. "I'm a loyal employee. I'm trying to pick up a second job for the hours I'm not getting at my current job."

He's able to do that because Target raised their wages—and make the associated trade-offs—voluntarily. Other companies might offer a different set of wages, hours, and benefits that are more to Beecher's liking. That's how labor markets work. But if a $15 minimum wage becomes federal law, there fewer alternatives will be available.

Agreed.    As one of the comments states:

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Best case: outlaw all “benefits” and pay all employees what they are worth, and allow them to purchase such benefits as they freely choose in an open market.
How many employees with a degree would choose tuition reimbursement?
How many (real) men would choose OB/GYN care?
How many child free singles would choose on-site daycare?
All “benefits” do is further warp the tax structure, and prevent individual freedoms.

 

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https://www.businessinsider.com/target-walmart-increase-automation-2018-7

As labor costs continue to rise, both Target and Walmart are adding new automation initiatives, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Here's how these retail giants are automating jobs that used to be done by staff to decrease labor costs:

  • Target is adding automated cash-counting machines. These devices, known as cash recyclers, count bills and coins, allowing Target to digitally manage its cash and removing the need for employees to perform these tasks by hand. The retailer will add the machines to 500 stores in August before rolling them out to all US locations.
  • Walmart plans to expand its use of autonomous robots to manage inventory. It's worked with startup Bossa Nova to bring robots, which can detect out-of-stocks and guide staff and customers to products, to 50 Walmart locations, freeing up store associates who previously had to do these jobs. Walmart plans to increase the number of stores featuring the technology by next year.
  • Walmart will also be adding automatic conveyor belts to backrooms. This technology will automatically sort products and reduce the amount of labor necessary to unload the trucks that arrive at Walmart stores each week.
These new innovations are part of an ongoing trend toward using automation to free up staff and enhance the customer experience. Kroger has been planning to use its partnership with Ocado to build automated distribution centers, Macy’s has been using virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technology to display furniture and minimize the need to build physical showrooms, and the race to create the ideal cashierless retail model is still hotly contested, with Amazon Go stores in the lead. All of these initiatives focus on streamlining and reducing labor costs for different parts of the retail process.

In addition to cutting labor costs, this new technology will allow Target and Walmart to reallocate and further train staff for other functions. While retailers could just use the new technology to trim jobs completely, they can also choose to repurpose employees whose jobs are now carried out automatically. At Target, for example, workers who used to count cash will now be assigned to “spend even more time helping our shoppers,” a Target spokeswoman told WSJ.

Additionally, Walmart has said that the money saved on labor in the backroom can be rededicated to “pickers,” the employees who put together online orders for customers to pick up in the parking lot. If retailers can continue to find new ways of making staff available — by creating a chatbot to help with customer service or a system customers can use to scan items and put them into layaway without help from associates, for example — they may be able to refine a more highly trained workforce that's dedicated to helping customers with more specific, complex problems.

Meanwhile at McDonalds......

Image result for mcdonalds automated kiosks

Edited by swordfish
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13 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

Is Target formally unionized?

From what I can dig up, no.  But some very small groups of target employees have voted to unionize over the last several years.  Case in point:  https://gawker.com/target-which-hates-unions-gets-its-first-union-1731620945.  But this is kind of a hollow victory because since that vote Target has sold it's pharmacy business to CVS.

 

 

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13 hours ago, gonzoron said:

I'm sure this is an improvement on the service usually obtained there from humans. 

In my experience, not really.  I can usually place my order and pay faster with a human being manning a register than  I can having to navigate those self-service kiosks,  especially if you deviate from their standard offerings (change condiments, ask for extra of this, minus that,  etc.).

 

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59 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

In my experience, not really.  I can usually place my order and pay faster with a human being manning a register than  I can having to navigate those self-service kiosks,  especially if you deviate from their standard offerings (change condiments, ask for extra of this, minus that,  etc.).

 

Congratulations, you played yourself.

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1 hour ago, Muda69 said:

In my experience, not really.  I can usually place my order and pay faster with a human being manning a register than  I can having to navigate those self-service kiosks,  especially if you deviate from their standard offerings (change condiments, ask for extra of this, minus that,  etc.).

 

My experience has been it's much easier to use the self serve kiosk. Of course it doesn't make the wait any shorter, but I don't have to deal with people. In several places I've been that have the kiosks, there's only one or two registers, and it's hit or miss whether a human will be manning either of them. 

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1 minute ago, Impartial_Observer said:

My experience has been it's much easier to use the self serve kiosk. Of course it doesn't make the wait any shorter, but I don't have to deal with people. In several places I've been that have the kiosks, there's only one or two registers, and it's hit or miss whether a human will be manning either of them. 

Guess we will agree to disagree. I've been in a situation where the kiosk crashed in the middle of taking my order so I had to actually, you know, talk to another human being.

 

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4 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

There's always another McDonald's right across the street, or the BK next door. 

The fries at BK are gross.  I refuse to eat them.  But the one in Frankfort doesn't have a self-service kiosk, just that stupid all-in-one coke machine. 

 

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5 hours ago, Impartial_Observer said:

It literally takes NO effort to be smile and say please and thank you. There's a reason why they're working minimum wage jobs if they're not in school

Factory workers don’t have to smile and say thank you, and they are paid better than minimum wage.

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57 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Factory workers don’t have to smile and say thank you, and they are paid better than minimum wage.

"Factory Workers" is a very broad range......and normally what a factory produces is worth more than french fires and hamburgers.....

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1 hour ago, swordfish said:

"Factory Workers" is a very broad range......and normally what a factory produces is worth more than french fires and hamburgers.....

I don’t know ... Mickey D’s french fries are awfully good.

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10 hours ago, Muda69 said:

In my experience, not really.  I can usually place my order and pay faster with a human being manning a register than  I can having to navigate those self-service kiosks,  especially if you deviate from their standard offerings (change condiments, ask for extra of this, minus that,  etc.).

 

Muda, how did I know you'd be the kind of guy who orders "off menu" at a McDonald's!  

If you want it "your way" go to a goll darn French restaurant or a BK, and quit clogging up the line between me and that Big Mac I'm craving. 

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