Eric Adams was the new mayor of New York City. He called for local white-collar workers and encouraged them to go back to work just a few days per week. He explained that remote work and COVID shut downs had severely affected businesses that depend on commuter customers for survival.
This observation is evidently true and supported by plenty of data. But Adams angered people when he noted that many service workers don’t have the option to work from home and don’t have the skills for many office jobs: “My low-skilled workers, my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoeshine people, those who work at Dunkin’ Donuts—they don’t have the academic skills to sit in the corner office.” Instead of discussing the effect of COVID, many people clutch their pearls and pretend to be shocked that the mayor called them “low-skilled”. Adams wasn’t pointing out how COVID shutdowns are affecting New York’s less-privileged workers but rather as an insult.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) weighed inTweet: “The notion that any job requires low skill is false. This myth is perpetuated by the wealthy to justify poor working conditions, inhumane wages, no healthcare and inhumane working conditions. Plus being a waitress has made me and many others *better* at our jobs than those who’ve never known that life.”
It is all phony. Everybody who has heard the mayor’s initial statement is aware of what he meant. Adams explained the obvious yesterday on CBS. Adams stated that if you’re a dishwasher you won’t be able to remotely perform your job.” “If we don’t have an accountant in an office space coming to a restaurant…that dishwasher’s not going to have a job….We need to open the city so low-wage employees are able to survive.”
Low-skill is an economic term that refers to jobs that are easy to learn and don’t require long or extensive training. However, this does not mean everyone can do a low-skilled job well. This means most adults are capable of learning how to do the job.
It is basic Econ 101 that low-skilled jobs have low salaries. These jobs are easy to learn for most people, and the supply of labor is much higher than average. This means that these workers don’t usually have the leverage to ask more. Ocasio Cortez says that it isn’t a myth perpetuated by wealthy interest. It is economics. This is because of the continuing “Great Rectification” in people leaving their jobs. The lack of availability has seen these wages rise. They are an essential part of our economy. This has nothing to do the way they are labeled or what thin skin people pretend to have.
Adams is correct in stating that low-wage workers are hurt by shutdowns. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ November data, which is a non-partisan institution that studies policies that reduce poverty and inequality shows that those who are the most vulnerable have taken the hit during shutdowns. In low-wage industry, the unemployment rate dropped 5.3 percentage between February 2020 and September 20,21. All industries saw an average decline of 3.1 percent.
New Yorkers are one in five who report falling behind with their rent. An entire 30 percent of New Yorkers say they are struggling to make ends meet. New York City is not in recovery. It has a 9.4 percent unemployment rate, which is twice that of the national average.
Or you could scream in anger at the expression “low-skilled,” but the harsh reality is that this city’s shut down has caused harm to those whose honour these twitterers say they defend. You can call them what you like. Simply open the city up again to allow them to survive.