Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Sorry, you’re too stupid for employment

Posted in class divide, unemployment, wealth divide, worker rights by allisonkilkenny on July 2, 2010

Go home, morons

The persecution of the poor continues with employers now accusing the unemployed of being too stupid (or let’s be generous and say “inexperienced”) to be find jobs with decent salaries. (h/t)

Here in this suburb of Cleveland, supervisors at Ben Venue Laboratories, a contract drug maker for pharmaceutical companies, have reviewed 3,600 job applications this year and found only 47 people to hire at $13 to $15 an hour, or about $31,000 a year.

As Atrios points out, it never occurs to the good people at Ben Venue Labs that they’re not paying enough to attract skilled workers, or that maybe they should provide on-site training to attract new talent.

It’s become a commonplace line of attack to hear right-wing loons like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle place the onus of unemployment on the unemployed, and of course this has been the territory of Conservatism for years: it’s your fault you’re unemployed. Intellectual giants like Rush Limbaugh constantly say things like unemployment benefits “do nothing but incentivize people not to find work.”

The danger in this kind of talk is that these attacks help to stigmatize the unemployed. Call them worthless leaches long enough, and that mentality bleeds past the parameters of Loonyville, and enters the workforce. Employers grow resentful that workers aren’t arriving to the office already trained and ready to go.

The wealthy universities observe these employer demands, and tailor curriculum to match the pace of industry, but those who can’t buy access to the highest echelons of education are left out in the cold. Where once they could make up ground with on-site training, now they’re told they’re too stupid and under-trained for employment, thanks so much for the interest, best of luck to you in the future, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Of course, the private sector didn’t always work this way. There used to be this thing called cooperative education, which combined classroom-based education with practical work experience. Basically, co-ops provided academic credit for structured job experience, so young people could smoothly make the school-to-work transition. Huge corporations like GM used this model, which helped them attract new talent because human beings don’t usually exit the womb understanding how to construct automobiles.

I’ve been writing a lot about this demonization of the poor and unemployed, including how some employers now conduct credit score checks during the hiring process, and Senator Orrin Hatch proposed an amendment that would demand mandatory drug tests for welfare and unemployment beneficiaries. Congress recently joined in on the class-bashing when they nixed unemployment benefits for over 1 million laid-off workers.

And of course, some employers don’t even consider the resumes of unemployed people. Yes, you read that correctly. In order to find employment, that means you already must possess a job, and are looking to upgrade, or something. But if you’ve been let go from a prior occupation, you’re shit out of luck.

When I posted a link to the above story, I was contacted on Twitter by a rather proud right-wing employer, who mimicked the sentiment that he doesn’t even consider the resumes of unemployed people. If everyone adopts this attitude, soon we’ll be pining for the days when unemployment was “only 10 percent.”

3 Responses

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  1. History Punk said, on July 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Given the harrassment that I received and dealt with from the MD unemployment system, I was incentivized to find work. Hell, I stop receiving benefits because I got tired of dealing with them.

  2. Monica said, on July 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Allison, I don’t even know how to feel about this except white hot anger. When I was working, I remember how the job search made me feel. Employers made me feel like I was never going to have the qualifications no matter what I did, no matter what I learned.
    Now I fear for my adult daughter and my family, as she has been unemployed for almost 2 years! I fear that she will not get a job because he gap in employment, but it was not her doing. One good thing is she has been volunteering at her little sister’s school, but I don’t know if that will help. I hope it will, but reading stories like this makes the future look pretty bleak for us. In San Diego, my daughter also has a disadvantage because he doesn’t drive yet. I had been driving her to and from work. Now employers want more than before candidates to have drivers license. Also, my daughter told me that her friend had to go on like 3(!) or more interviews for a bus boy job. That’s right I said a job as a BUS BOY! In my view, employers are out of control. At this rate, so many people will be unemployable.
    I am not old, I’m only 41, but I remember when you could get a job with on-the-job training. Can’t find that anymore. It’s discouraging and disheartening. To and to the injury, these repug fucks want to take our only lifeline, unemployment from us. We don’t have anywhere to go but the streets. As it stands right now, my family and I can’t even pay our full rent and our other basic household bills. The owner of our home has been really, really good and not evicted us yet, but how long can he wait for his money. We are running up a huge debt to him just to have a roof over our head. Thanks Rethug fucktards for making our lives a living hell. It’s like they want to eliminate the poor and working class people and I take that very personally.
    Well, I needed to vent. Thanks for speaking out! Keep up the good work!

  3. Ignatius Crumwald said, on July 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    These little digs and incendiary opinions on the disposition of the unemployed are nothing but a sideshow.
    There are not enough jobs and and the monetary base in the real world is through the floor. Nearly all the money is in the financials and it exists due to leveraging 100 to 1 on future production that will never in a million years materialize, the congress using what little capital they control to monetize the myth through TARP, and cheap money handed out by the Fed based on said myth. As long as any government has to borrow from those same fraudulent financials at interest in order to produce the currency necessary to a regular functioning economy, then it will only get worse.

    Why a credit check? Credit checks are now a regular part of the insurance risk assessment process. As an aside, this more evidence that the mandatory insurance law provisions for Auto and now Health are simply a scam to expand the securitized asset base. Insurance companies don’t “profit”, so to me their demonization in the healthcare debate/debacle was sort of laughable, albeit understandable. They’re actually just a layer of straw men and harvesters in a large scale money farming business – nothing but tools to keep the bond market running by using their constant cash flow to buy more and more bonds that are then leveraged for more funny money that can be spent to move real people and real resources without respect to necessity.

    How does this factor into the ridiculous education and experience requirements on even the lowest of the low paying jobs? Businesses are credit and insurance risk assessed on the “quality” of their workforce/employees, among other things. In a tiered system that is completely currency starved on one side and drowning in free money on the other, even small business has no choice but to step up to the money farmers.
    These days, even human resources are over-leveraged.

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