I had another one of my brilliant ideas. This time, I decided I would help out my family by getting a part time job. At the supermarket. As it often is with my brilliant plans, it ended badly.
If you ever read about me making plans again, please stop me? Thanks.
It started off with me wanting a little extra money. We moved to a more expensive place, and besides, I really wanted the Canon Digital Rebel.
I didn’t want a full time job, I didn’t want to deal with daycare, so I looked to the place that had the best hours, where I could work without anyone having to watch the kids. I figured the local supermarket would be a good idea. Open 24 hours, and just a few minutes by bus, or a 15 minute or so walk if necessary.
It starts off badly — when hired, I am told to come in on Saturday for orientation and paperwork. That it should take 4 hours, but don’t worry — I’ll get paid. Well, I guess I am some sort of paperwork genius, because I am done in 2 hours. Because of this, they refuse to pay me AT ALL. I’m not pleased.
They tell me I have to join the union. They say it is “about” $25 initiation fee, and “about” $4 a week. As I later find out, neither of this is true. The pay is a grand old $6 an hour, to go up to $6.50 after I am actually in the union, in 30 days, and an extra percentage (again, an unknown number) for working overnight. Note, I’ve been in unions before, they normally don’t take anything out until after you get that raise, until after that 30 day trial period is over.
First paycheck, 11.5 hours, they take out $12 initiation fees, and $5.75 dues. After all that, I take home just under $46 dollars.
Second paycheck, 17.5 hours, $12.94 dues, another $12 initiation fee. A total of just over $72.
Third and final paycheck, another $12 initiation fee, and $11.14 dues taken out. What the hell? I worked five hours, and got a whole extra dollar an hour for working midnight to 5am. I came home with a $7.34 paycheck. This is obscene. Not only are the initiation fees too high, I feel, for such a crappy union, but the dues are outrageous! And why not the same amount, and why more in a week where I worked LESS? Of course, no one has any answers for me.
My husband’s initiation fees are $100, but he works for a great union. Starting wages are more than three times as much as the supermarket (and rightfully so). For his dues he gets fantastic benefits. The supermarket only had that night time pay, no more than 24 hours worked a week, and double time on Sunday. That is IT. If you needed medical benefits you would have to ask for a special consideration, because it was for full time workers only. So really, what use was the union to me, other than a way to suck money out of my pocket? They didn’t train me, like my husband’s union does. They did nothing.
I took home anywhere from under $2 an hour to under $5 an hour in those three checks. Was it really worth it to be away from my family, wear myself out doing double duty as mother and cashier? Was it worth it for my husband to stay home from his well paying job because after working midnight to 5am I was too exhausted to function? No.
I can’t see how anyone can live on that salary. How it can be worth it to work for them. It’s not like it is an easy job, either — it was a lot more work than I thought it would be. I always respected people who worked, no matter what their job was. But this was a real eye opener.
I am just very glad that I don’t HAVE to work that job. It would be demoralizing to get such a small paycheck for all that work, every week. Especially in New York City.