The Conspiracy To Avoid Paying Overtime

I’m actually writing this quickly and practicing sending post tags by email. So it’s not as good of an article as it deserves to be. I’m also not using caffeine or ginseng or any other herbal drugs so I am not very mentally focused right now.

How the conspiracy to avoid paying overtime works:

A huge number of companies are engaged in this collusion, even if they don’t directly discuss it or plan it with each other. It’s a conspiracy-by-result. The result is conspiracy, even if you can’t point your finger to this individual or that individual who
deliberately engaged in the conspiracy. It results in a lack of available options and alternatives for everybody everywhere at the same time.

One business decides that it will never pay anybody overtime, because overtime costs too much. You’re supposed to pay ‘time and a half’ for all the hours worked over 40 hours. So if you worked 60 hours, that’s 20 hours of overtime. If you normally get $8 an hour, you would get $8 x 20 hours x 1.5 (time and a half) = whatever, $240, plus $8 x 40 = $320.

Businesses prefer not to do that. They would rather forbid all their employees from working more than 40 hours (or, alternatively, work them more than 40 hours, don’t bother paying them overtime, and then bribe local officials who are supposed to regulate this kind of thing, because bribery is cheaper than paying higher wages).

But since the cost of living is so high, people absolutely must have higher wages, or else must get a second job, and must work more than 40 hours a week. The 40 hour week cuts people off at a particular maximum weekly pay. When employers forbid you to work more than that, you’re stuck with that maximum number which is never enough to live on. You either get a second job, or get some kind of government welfare payments.

All of the businesses in the entire town will simultaneously refuse to give anybody overtime pay. All employees are forced to go get a second job somewhere else, or tolerate working extra hours without getting overtime pay (at jobs that bribe local officials so they can avoid complying with the law). If every single employer does this, nobody has to pay overtime, and they also don’t have to bribe anybody. Every employer just hires the people who are looking for second jobs in addition to their job at some other local employer who is refusing to give them overtime.

The result of this is that nobody anywhere can find any jobs that actually pay overtime. It is only a small minority of jobs that do. Everyone has to continue working 80 hours a week at the same minimum wage without getting overtime pay, and there are no other options available because all the businesses in the entire town are doing the same thing. The businesses that do pay high wages and overtime have a tendency to be startup companies operating on borrowed money and venture capital, and they quickly bankrupt themselves and shut down.

The other businesses that pay high wages are mega-companies that I won’t talk about now – they can afford almost anything, and they can pay dozens of people to sit around all day doing nothing (I’ve been there, I worked at temp jobs where this happened, where I was the only person doing any actual work, while all the other people, usually women, sat around doing nothing and chit-chatting).

Conspiracy by result. Even if nobody got together and discussed this, it just so happens that the entire town, or the entire country, has all agreed to do the same thing, without allowing people to find any alternatives.

Why is overtime so important?

Because when you are working 80 hours a week, you totally lose the ability to take care of yourself or control your life. You have to do things like eat restaurant food for every single meal all day long, take taxicabs to get to work if you don’t have transportation, and so on. The *cost* of working goes up. It starts to cost you so much money just to go to work every day that you would actually profit more by working fewer hours and doing things to reduce your costs, like cooking at home. No one cooks at home when they are working 80 or 100 hours a week. The cost to your health of not getting any sleep is much worse than people realize – it prevents your brain from functioning, it prevents you from having any insight into your own life, it prevents you from self-growth and self-development, it keeps you stuck in stagnation, in a rigid life where nothing gets fixed. You have no time to run any errands, no time to rest, no time to have fun, no time to do any hobbies, no time to learn or study. If you are going to sacrifice your entire life just for your job, then you had better be making an extra-high wage to compensate for it.

At my current job, my underpaid overtime isn’t even optional, it’s mandatory – there is no one else who can take my hours if I need time off. In addition to the hours that I spend working, there are also the hours that I spend away from work doing work-related things, such as riding the bus or getting ready for work in the morning. All my work-related activities go from about 8am till 11pm (15 hours), 6 days a week. Sometimes I can get done earlier than that in the evening. It takes a while to ride the bus to and from work, which is a work-related cost of time, and also money for the bus pass.

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