A recent Toronto Star newspaper column reported that Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder, Andrew McCutchen, receives a pay stub for each regular pay period in the gross amount of U.S.$820,659.88. As of May 22, 2015 McCutchen’s batting average was a modest .240.
But baseball is not alone when it comes to inflated salaries. The Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team recently signed new coach and current savior, Mike Babcock, to a reported annual salary of $6.25 Million for each of the next 8 years of work ($50 Million in the aggregate). We’ll see when the Leafs next lift the Stanley Cup. They last did so on my 14th birthday, 48 years ago. Canada’s Sesquicentennial might be good timing.
Even more dramatic is the fact that the NBA minimum annual salary is over a Half-Million dollars and this is for players who sit on the bench and just watch the games! No wonder my seats cost several hundred dollars per seat, per game, for the same privilege (sitting & watching!!).
At the same time an accomplished senior healthcare professional earns a salary of approximately $40 per hour and the Provincial Minimum wage is less than $12 per hour.
Mother’s don’t let your offspring grow up to be cowboys, or nurses, or lawyers and such. Get them a glove and teach them how to field a ground ball or if they are left handed … teach them to throw a curve ball.
What then can be said for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) campaign for a $15 per hour minimum wage for workers in the fast food sector (#FIGHTFOR15). My hotdog or pizza slice already seems to expensive as it is, particularly if I purchase it at the ball game.
Clearly, a significant number of workers feel that they are mired in precarious low wage earning positions where they receive wages at or near minimum wage. Business and Government need to act collaboratively to find solutions to this and related problems. Indeed, the viability of our economy depends upon such initiatives. But that does not mean arbitrarily mandating a $15 minimum wage either across the board or in certain regions such as Toronto as some have recently urged.
Rather, what is called for is greater creativity in the form of improved access to education, skills development and training to permit low and middle income earners to migrate to better paying and sustainable permanent jobs in the new technological economy. Such initiatives may include: greater tax incentives for in-house training within corporations; direct and indirect subsidies to families for child care; and, free education at the post secondary level for prescribed college and undergraduate courses. These issues need to be made a Provincial/National priority particularly in an election year.
Let’s be serious, people can’t build a future on Minimum Wage earnings (unless we are talking about the MLB/NBA Minimum Salary). So, the Fight for $15 is really missing the point.
We need meaningful actions not slogans and sound bites from politicians.
It’s time to bring the closer in from the bullpen. Closers make really good salaries.