Monday, June 24, 2013

A sad task

This post is just to correct some stats that have been floated on another blog about 7-Eleven wages. [To avoid embarrassing him in public, I emailed the blogger indicating where his errors lay, but he's intransigent. Since I don't want misleading information floating out there, I'm posting now.

The blogger claims the average weekly wage of a 7-Eleven clerk is $472.64 compared with a local independent restaurant's average weekly wage is $250. 

He gives the hourly 7-Eleven wage as $8.44. But instead of figuring a 40-hour week full time week, he divides the total hours of labor in the store by the number of personnel based on 7-Eleven's "7-10 employees per store."

As a result, his figure is for 56 hours per worker, not a 40 hour full time position (full time as defined by law).

But 56 hours would require overtime, which he didn't include. Correct sum should be:

(40hrs x $8.44) + (16hrs x $12.66) = $337.60 + $202.56 = $540.16

for 56 hours with overtime.

Obviously the franchisee isn't going to pay all that overtime. It's a 60% increase in his payroll! In fact, he doesn't have to pay any overtime. He can hire part-timers instead to take him through the week.

How many part-timers at a 7-Eleven? My guess: all the employees are part-time. If the franchisee uses only full timers, and a shift has to be covered for, say, an illness, the franchisee might have to pay expensive overtime to an employee. If all the employees are part-time, it's unlikely that any overtime will ever be necessary.

When 7-Eleven says it has 7-10 personnel per store, clearly they mean full time equivalences, not 7-10 individual bodies. To compare FTE's:

$337.60 full time at 7-Eleven (7-10 FTE's)
$400.00 full time at the restaurant (20 FTE's)

Perhaps more important, the total payroll of the independent is $8,000 per week if the $10/hr is correct; a 7-Eleven, $4,726.40 (unless the franchisee is an imbecile or a crook). A 7-Eleven occupies about twice the space of this particular independent restaurant, so the indie funnels $8,000 into its labor for a single storefront store, 7-Eleven only about $2,363.20 per single storefront store size. 7-Eleven provides less than a third (29%) of the wages of the independent. 

$16,000.00   per 25 ft wide storefront (independent restaurant)
  $4,726.40   per 25 ft wide storefront (7-Eleven)

At this point the blogger asks whether the independent, providing more than 3 times as much labor value, is sustainable. That question feeds directly to the justification for the NO711 program, since it's the chain stores like 7-Eleven that are raising commercial rents, closing down the indies. His question justifies NO711's program.

(NB -- The restaurant is busy. The 7-Eleven on Bowery looks deserted. The restaurant is staffed with twenty/thirty-somethings -- actors? film workers? students? -- 7-Elevens are staffed with 18-year-olds (?) in orange uniforms. Where are we headed if global capital wins? Everyone working in uniforms eating bad food? The one thing that I like about 7-Eleven is that they do employ a lot of non white employees. It's a shame they have to wear uniforms and work at such low wages with so little advancement.)

Now, I want to be very clear about the following. The blogger's very first comments about NO711 were derisive and smug, describing NO711 as full of "ridiculous claims." He's called us a variety of names that are false and derogatory. Now he has posted an animation that tells us "numbers are not your strong point." He brought a lot of derisive, ugly rhetoric into the space. I really don't want to be in that space, but here I am stuck in it. 

$4,726.40 published as the weekly average for a 7-Eleven clerk?

56 hrs/wk with no overtime?

At this point, NO711 deserves an honest apology. 

Here are the mistaken calculations on his blog:

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