In their annual post Christmas inventory clearance, American retailers have another kind of clearance program. It's called cutting employees' hours. From the big boxes to the smaller specialty and niche stores, anyone who's worked in retail for longer than they care to admit knows that the months after Christmas usher in a drastic cut in their hours. For the hourly wage slave whose pay is tethered directly to the time clock, these cuts translate automatically into a pay cut. It often comes as a shock to new retail slaves--I mean employees--especially those who were hired close to the holidays and may have even made some OT during November and December's hectic shopping days.
For retail companies, it's like shedding labor costs without paying unemployment benefits. Veteran retail workers have two or three other jobs to fall back on.
New York City Starbucks workers who've been fighting for recognition of their union know about this phenomenom, and have been vocal about it. Check it out at http://www.iww.org/
To all who are living through the lean times in Service Sector, USA, I offer this page from my Veggie Wage Slave Cookbook /in cocina pauperis: Eat like royalty on a peasant's paycheck. Copyright Cris D'Angelo, a compilation of tasty vegetarian recipes for folks living paycheck to paycheck.
Minimum Wage Spaghetti
1 pound box of spaghetti
3 TBS of olive oil, or any vegetable oil
4 TBS of ketchup
Garlic powder-- a couple of tsp, according to your taste
Adobo seasoning sin pimiento--a few shakes (It's salty).
Boil the spaghetti in a large saucepan until it's al dente. The spaghetti is al dente when you throw a strand of it at the ceiling and it sticks. When spaghetti is cooked, drain off the water. Return spaghetti to the pan and add olive oil, garlic, ADOBO, and ketchup. If you have some fresh herbs such as basil or oregano growing on your windowsill or in a garden, you can add that too. Adjust the amount of ketchup up or down according to personal preference. Toss all ingredients in the pan until they're well mixed. This serves four very hungry minimum wage workers or a family of four to six, including small kids.
For added texture, you can throw in a cup of cheese puff balls, whole or crushed with the back of a spoon; this would make the recipe not strictly vegan, but still vegetarian.
Note: Most of my recipes are a lot more substantial than the one above. Minimum wage spaghetti is an end of the month, day before payday, protracted strike meal.
Note to Labor Dept. and Wall Street: You might want to adjust the way you count unemployment figures. When full time and part time hourly workers get their hours cut in half for weeks at a time, and are technically still employed, but not eligible for unemployment benefits, their rent and mortagage payments don't get lowered. Neither do their phone bills, car payments, health or car insurance insurance premiums. And their kids still gotta eat.