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Why workers quit? Blame the stingy boss!

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Why workers quit? Blame the stingy boss!

With apologies to country songwriter David Allan Coe, the 2021 job market’s theme song is “Take This Job and Quit It.”

In September, 4.3 million U.S. workers quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest number on record and evidence of the public’s broad rethinking of employment and whether it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

Why is the “I’m outta here” movement such a hot workplace trend? The easiest way to get a better raise these days is to switch jobs.

This unfortunate career tactic is bolstered by my trusty spreadsheet’s review of detailed wage stats from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Job switchers — those changing employers or job duties or going to a different occupation or industry — got a median 5.4% annual wage increase during the three months ended in September.

Now, compare that with folks keeping their jobs, who only saw their wages go up 3.5%. Or overall U.S. wage growth at 4.2%.

This is the largest gap between raises for “switchers” and “stayers” in 23 years. Talk about a incentive to quit.

So perhaps bosses should ask themselves if they’re part of the problem.

Hunt for raises

Workplace analysts, policymakers and business leaders have debated the motivations behind all the quitting.

Suggested factors range from fear of catching coronavirus on the job to plenty of openings to choose from and a lack of childcare for younger members of the workforce. The seemingly illogical tactic of bosses paying up for a new person vs. giving existing staff more cash has to be part of the discussion.

Stats show employers became incredibly stingy with salary raises during and after the Great Recession.

Let’s look at an odd workplace stat tracked by the Atlanta Fed: workers who got no raise at all. In the 2010 decade, wages were stagnant for 15% of the workforce. That was up from the 2000s when only 12.3% got no salary bump.

Then came the pandemic’s economic volatility, and surprisingly, workers were again valuable: The share of “no raises” fell to 13.4% by August.

We’re witnessing another chapter in the evolving give-and-take between boss and worker.

Before the pandemic, career stability and workplace culture — rather than pay — felt like the most-desired traits. Workers focused on higher pay were often forced to job hunt while bosses got their stable flock ping-pong tables and gourmet coffee machines.

Today, it seems like it’s all about the money. Let’s look at the varying size of the financial carrot offered to those claiming a new job.

From 1998 to 2007, the bubble-fueled boom years, job switchers got 4.9% raises vs. 4.1% for those who didn’t. That’s a 0.8 percentage-point reason to change jobs.

When those good times turned extra sour — the Great Recession era of 2008 to 2012 — the clout of job switchers diminished with 3% raises barely ahead of 2.9% for “stayers.”

Then came the 2013-19 economic rebound and the pay-hike edge returned for switchers: 3.3% raises vs. 2.6% for stayers — a 0.7 point gap.

And these premium raises only grew in the pandemic era: Switchers averaged 4.2% raises since March 2020 vs. 3.2% — a full-point gap.

No uniform pay

So, who’s getting the better raises?

This summer only two job-market slices offered larger raises than job switching, according to my spreadsheet’s analysis of 32 worker characteristics tracked by the Atlanta Fed using 12-month moving averages.

You’d either have to be among the youngest workers — ages 16 to 24, whose typical wages jumped 9.5% in a year — or be among the lowest-paid workers, who got 4.8% raises.

Workers in hard-to-fill, entry-level or poorly-paying positions got nearly the same pay hikes as quitters. Pay for leisure and hospitality industries rose 3.9% in a year while workers without college degrees and those in “low skill” positions got 3.8% pay hikes.

And only the two groups got smaller raises than people who stayed with their employer. The highest-paid workers got just 2.8% raises while the oldest workers, age 55 or higher, got only 1.9%.

Bosses are learning that workers know pay jumps if you jump ship, especially for low-wage positions. And in 2021, it’s all about the paycheck.

Quitting is the new labor movement.

Jonathan Lansner is business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Patriots-Bills inactives: Kyle Dugger out, all 8 questionable Pats active in Buffalo

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Patriots-Bills inactives: Kyle Dugger out, all 8 questionable Pats active in Buffalo

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Questionable? Ha.

For the third straight week, every Patriot listed as questionable on the team’s injury report is active. Starting right tackle Trent Brown and defensive tackle Christian Barmore were among the eight supposed question marks, but both will play in windy Buffalo. Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, cornerback Shaun Wade and linebacker Jahlani Tavai are the Pats’ most notable inactives.

The Patriots also activated linebacker Jamie Collins off injured reserve and elevated defensive lineman Daniel Ekulale and safety Sean Davis from the practice squad.  They are without starting safety Kyle Dugger, who remains on COVID-19 reserve.

For the Bills, run-stuffing defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is active after returning from injured reserve. Wide receivers WR Marquez Stevenson and Isaiah McKenzie are both out.

Both teams’ complete inactive lists are below.

PATRIOTS

QB Jarrett Stidham

LB Ronnie Perkins

TE Devin Asiasi

OL Yasir Durant

BILLS

WR Marquez Stevenson

WR Isaiah McKenzie

FB Reggie Gilliam

OL Jamil Douglas

DT Vernon Butler

DE Efe Obada

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Parents, teachers push for prompt transition to elected Boston school committee

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Parents, teachers push for prompt transition to elected Boston school committee

Boston Public School parents, teachers and graduates called on city councilors to shift the mayor-appointed school committee to an elected body in a public hearing Monday, demanding follow-through on the resounding 79% memorandum voters passed on the identical ballot question in November’s election.

“With this appointed school system, I feel that my voice goes unheard,” said BPS parent Suleika Soto, summarizing what many petitioners highlighted: a lack of both accountability and communication from the current structure of the committee.

“We, the students, families, and educators are not the constituents of the Boston School Committee,” said BPS teacher Neema Avashia. “We find ourselves begging to be heard.”

The Boston School Committee is responsible for managing Boston Pubic Schools’ annual operating budget, hiring and overseeing the superintendent, and regulating policies and practices within city schools. Members of the 13-person council had been elected by city residents from 1982 until 1989, when voters decided to transition the council to a mayor-appointed body.

Question 3 on November’s ballot to restore the group back to an elected body got overwhelming support from voters, with more than 99,000 votes cast in favor of the change.

“What we have to do now is listen to what people have said and how loud they’ve said it,” said John Nucci, who served four years as the president of the Boston School Committee during its most recent era as an elected body.

The City Council provided an early draft of what the transition back to an elected body could look like. The first step, in January 2022, would maintain eight appointed members and add one member elected through the BPS student population. By January 2024, the body would become a hybrid mix of seven appointed members, one student-elected member and three at-large elected members. Finally, by 2026, the entire 13-person committee would consist of elected members.

But the question of how those members are elected is one of many details councilors will try to hammer out through future hearings and meetings. One topic of debate is whether the majority of committee members should represent specific districts, or act as at-large officials, representing the city as a whole.

Newly elected city councilor and former BPS teacher Erin Murphy suggested at least nine of the members should represent specific districts, fearing “many voices would be left out” if they don’t have specific representation.

Pam Kocher, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau — a neutral party on the issue — cautioned that an elected governing body is not a guarantee for a representative body.

“Elections can reward the loudest voices and those with the most resources,” she said.

Councilors assured attendees this meeting will be the first of several on the issue before action.

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Maguire: Stand up for Boston students – be a substitute teacher

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Maguire: Stand up for Boston students – be a substitute teacher

I invite you to join me — if only for a day — in the best job a person could have: teaching. This year we are back to in-person learning, a goal for which the teachers have long strived. However, many teachers with underlying health concerns took leaves of absence. Some teachers in their 60s took early retirement. And the rest of us often have to take time off to either care for our own children and/or to quarantine due to close contact situations.

This year the Boston Public Schools is in great need for both short- and long-term substitute teachers. The need for substitute teachers in some schools is desperate as they need coverage for one in five classrooms.

Therefore I ask my fellow Bostonians to substitute for at least one day in our schools. Applicants can choose what days they work, where they work, what grades or subjects they would cover. Such selectability allows applicants to tailor their work with their personal responsibilities. Let me assure you, whatever time you have available, the BPS will have a spot for you.

Our traditional substitute pool is retired teachers. This year that pool has all but dried up. Concerns over COVID keep many of our retirees at home. Those who are still subbing are not enough to fill all of our vacancies. So who can help us now? I believe we have untapped resources in our local universities and in the Boston business community.

When the pandemic burst upon the scene in 2020, many medical and nursing students were fast-tracked into full-time positions to meet the sudden and enormous need for more doctors and nurses. I am asking the local schools of education to do the same right now to help us fill our vacancies. The colleges have eager aspiring teachers. Putting the two together is a classic win-win.

I am also calling upon the Boston business community. Over the years, many businesses have used their corporate retreat time for community building. They come into our school for a day of service. Such days traditionally entailed painting classrooms or helping to plant a garden. This year, why not come into the classrooms and share your knowledge with our students?

Accountants could come into a math class and tell the students how what they are learning now could lead to good jobs later. Graphic designers could tell students how art and computer science classes blend into an exciting career. Students love hearing from adults in their community. Such contact makes their learning tangible instead of theoretical.

You could talk about how you got to your current career — was it what you always wanted to do or did you take many roads on your journey? If you have seventh or eighth graders, share your hobbies, your travels, your culture — this age craves exposure to the world around them. If you are in an elementary school you can read your favorite book, talk about your favorite games as child, bring your best Dad jokes — these kids just want to feel like you like them.

If you are worried about what substitute teaching would be like and would you be good at it, let me assure you that all you need is an open mind and a kind heart. When you enter the school building, you will be given a substitute folder. In it will be all the materials you will need for the day: seating charts, class lists, assignments and directions.

My own career began as a substitute teacher. I wasn’t quite Glenn Holland in “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” but I was a young man who thought substitute teaching would be a good way to earn some money while I studied for law school. And like Mr. Holland, I fell in love with a job I never knew I wanted. Twenty-eight years later, I can tell you that I love the job more now than on day one. I invite you to experience this joy for yourself.

Substitute teaching in Boston is not volunteering, you will get paid. If you work one day at a time, the pay is $170 per diem. If you work in the same class for a longer period of time, greater than 25 school days, the pay increases to $330 a day.

So go to bostonpublicschools.org/jobs and help our schools, ours students and our teachers. We need you now more than ever.


Michael J. Maguire teaches Latin at Boston Latin Academy and serves on the Executive Board of the Boston Teachers Union.

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