Wage Woes of DC Baseball

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In Working for Peanuts Jeff Horwitz interviewed one Elijah Scrivner who cleaned up four times after the Nationals played in RFK stadium.

Mr. Scrivner and 200 others agreed to work for $7 an hour, but it turns out Federal law requires that "janitors" at Federal and District government agencies -- and their contractors -- must be paid at least $12.71 an hour ($10.12 plus $2.59 for health and welfare). And RFK is overseen by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission.

In other words: Doh!

Nobody is sure why the new contractors weren't informed of the legal requirement after the old contractor was fired, though it might have something to do with incompetence.

What's really amusing is the response by a subcontractor after being told about the Federal Minimum of $12.71:

Another Knight-hired subcontractor, Maryland-based Paj Business Staffing, also concedes that its employees were paid far less than prevailing wage. "We have told all of our people they have an additional $5.71 [an hour] coming to them," says Phyllis Stevenson-Jenkins, Paj's owner. She would have loved to pay that rate initially, she says, because "It's a win-win situation for us�we can bill higher." She says that Knight allowed her to bill only $10 an hour for each worker�"way, way under [SCA] wage determination."
What a great way to set up a compensation system, boys!

But Mr. Scrivner says that this wage is too high!

Besides, he adds, the newly higher wages are more appropriate for the job. "People should feel like they're getting a little more than minimum wage out of the work," he says. "The tasks we had to perform, picking up other people's trash�that was worth at least eight or nine."

Let's recap:

1) Market clearing wages are at $5-$7
2) Feel-good efficiency wages are around $8-$9
3) Government regulations require $12.71 an hour

It might be helpful to note that the Washington, DC unemployment rate hovers around 7.5%-8%.

1 Comment

Sheesh, if there were ever a job that deserved no more than minimum wage, tops, picking up trash is it.


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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on May 11, 2005 1:22 PM.

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