I’m Appawlled

Corporate greed has reared its ugly head again.  I would say greed in general, save for the fact that it is a business to which I am referring.

I went to a job fair a couple days ago and spent 2 hours filling out an application and interviewing for a AAA customer call care center.  I had a nice rundown of the history and services provided.  It was impressive to find out that of all membership organizations that exist, AAA has the most members second to the Catholic church!  Nationwide, and including Canada, AAA has 52 million members.  There are 6 locations in the United States, and each of these have a call center to answer incoming consumer questions and provide support.  I don’t know how many people are in each call center, but I think 100 sounds like a decent estimate.

At the end of the interview, ended by me of course, I found out that the position was only offering $8.50 an hour.  Seriously?  So I decided to venture down the road of a little math, taking some liberties by providing my own estimates, and here is what I’ve discovered.

Let’s say each call center has 100 people.  Six centers would then be 600 call center representatives.  At $8.50 an hour, that is an annual salary of $9,792,000. There are 3 plans of membership, costing $85, $123, or $158 depending upon customer preference.  If all 52 million members had the lowest plan that’s an annual $4,420,000,000; if all members had the middle plan that’s an annual $6,396,000,000; and if all members had the highest plan that’s an annual $8,216,000,000.

So a company/organization/membership/whatever brings in between 4 and 8 billion dollars a year, yet only spends 9 million on its employees who are central to the daily operation and success of the business.  How many 9 millions are in 4 billion? 444 9 millions are in 4 billion.  That’s 444 times the annual expenditure in employee wages.  What a profit, huh? Of course there are other business expenses and other salaries such as travel agents, supervisors, various levels of management and CEO’s.  But still, it gives an idea of how unfair the wages are, not to mention $8.50 an hour is not a living wage.  It is poverty level.

I know this is ‘nothing new under the sun’ as they say.  I do know that even the bible says to give a worker his fair due wages.  I’m glad I’m not one of the people who may someday be accountable for this horrible discrepancy, which exists in spite of my estimates and liberties of calculation.

So yes, I was definitely appalled once I got to thinking about things and doing the math.  There’s probably nothing I nor anyone else can do about it, but I do know one thing.  When I do get a job that pays at least a living wage if not more, and I’ve got the flex room to afford a membership card so that I can have savings benefits for travel or shopping or whatever, I will definitely not be applying for AAA membership.  Out of respect for the grunt workers whose backs are aching and wallets are breaking, I will not get my piddly discounts for a piddly annual fee.  It’s simply unjust, and I can’t  justify partaking in it now that I know that AAA’s wealth is so unevenly distributed among its employees.


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