Two Janitors – Their Prospects and Compensation, 35 Years Ago Vs. Now

The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end.

Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.

Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

Yet the biggest difference between their two experiences is in the opportunities they created. A manager learned that Ms. Evans was taking computer classes while she was working as a janitor and asked her to teach some other employees how to use spreadsheet software to track inventory. When she eventually finished her college degree in 1987, she was promoted to a professional-track job in information technology.

To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now
Neil Irwin
NYTIMES

Wes Moore Interview, Fresh Air

Moore says the deaths of Freddie Gray and George Floyd highlight injustices that go beyond police brutality.

“The justice that’s also being sought must be an economic justice. It must be health justice. It must be housing justice,” Moore says. “If we permit these tragedies to recede from our memory, we will risk the opportunity to change the systems that are ultimately responsible for all of these injustices.”

Fresh Air

Inequality, some numbers – The New York Times

Overall, the richest 0.1 percent of American households own 19.6 percent of the nation’s total wealth, up from 15.9 percent in 2005 and 7.4 percent in 1980. The richest 0.1 percent now have the same combined net worth as the bottom 85 percent.

The wealth trends have been especially hard on younger Americans. The median net worth of Americans under age 35 — who started off substantially poorer on average than older Americans — is 40 percent lower than the net worth of Americans under 35 was in 2004. The net worth of Americans over age 65, by contrast, has risen 9 percent over the same period. The Boomers, in short, are richer than their predecessors, and Millennials and Generation X are poorer than their predecessors.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/10/opinion/coronavirus-us-economy-inequality.html