Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Custodians Are Not Overpaid (Well, Maybe a Little, But Still)

Oh, the Post. Apparently Rupert Murdoch believes that only hedge fund managers and himself are entitled to make comfortable wages, ones that might allow them to support a family on less than, say, 80 hours a week. Since teachers have finally proven their collective worth by holding a car wash on a weekend to pay for lost supplies, Murdoch's minions had to find a new target: school custodians.

Don't get me wrong. I do think it's sort of crazy that custodial engineer pay maxes out at higher than the max pay for teachers. And maybe the overtime is a little out of control. But the answer is to pay teachers more, not pay custodial engineers less.

First of all, the actual custodial engineers are not pushing brooms around. They are in charge of keeping complicated systems running smoothly around the clock, stuff that you and I probably don't even think about: kitchen equipment, elevators, boilers, fire alarms, plumbing...the list goes on. They are in charge of the physical plant at a school and answerable only to a principal. It's a job with serious responsibility that should be compensated accordingly.

But the the ladies and gentlemen who do push the brooms around should make decent money, too. So should the checkers at the grocery store and the truck drivers and the fry cooks. Somewhere along the line in this country, we lost the belief in the idea that someone who works at an honest full-time job shouldn't be poor and shouldn't have to work another one to make ends meet. I feel like, once upon a time, we believed that. But anyway, maybe I've just been spoiled, but the janitors at my old school in particular were some of the nicest and most helpful people I worked with. One of them would help me move furniture and organize stuff after school, which was definitely not in his job description. They go above and beyond just like we do. To me, that's worth something; namely, money.

You know who's overpaid? Rupert Murdoch.

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