Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Voice On The Stoop

Baldman pal Andrew is a good friend of the Stoop. He's a lawyer who worked full time while attending law school at night. Andrew wrote the piece below as a reaction to the NYC doormen threatening to strike. Andrew raises an excellent question: why spend 8 years attending college and law school in the attempt to open your own door to the future when you can get a union job with great perks opening doors for others?

Momma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Lawyers

Last night, the doormen's union in New York was able to extract at 10 percent wage increase for their next contract period and without the doormen having to make any concessions as to their Cadillac, gold-plated health insurance plans, pension and other unheard of benefits. The New York Times reported that the average beginning doorman's salary package (including benefits) is currently $68,000 per year. This amount excludes other add-ons, such as overtime pay (double time and a half on holidays, etc.) and mandatory cash tips during the holidays (think they pay taxes on those tips?). Thus, a starting doorman in New York could theoretically make six figures if he or she really tried. The qualifications for being a doorman? A high school diploma. In essence, all you have to do to your employer (the building's owners) is to threaten a strike and, voila! you get raises! Similarly, recent reports show that the median salaries for federal employees, in virtually every category of job, are higher than their private sector counterparts. Of course, if you are a federal employee, you also get a fat pension, the above-mentioned Cadillac insurance plan for your entire family, and, it seams, a mandatory bad attitude towards citizens.

Not bad work in the "Great Recession" if you can get it, right? This leaves me thinking, why become a lawyer? According to most reports, the average lawyer in private practice makes $74, 684. I think that this number is inflated. The Great Recession has caused lawyers to take a huge hit in job losses, salary reductions, and in employer contributions to health plans. Of course, lawyers have no pensions. Lawyers also have to pay thousands of dollars for mandatory continuing legal education and bar fees. Lawyers notoriously work very long hours and, unlike doormen, don't get overtime. Moreover, in order to be a lawyer, one must pay for college, and law school, take and pass a very difficult exam, and pay a number of associated fees. Most lawyers graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Now just imagine what would happen if a rank and file lawyer at a company went to his employer and did what the doormen did, "Give me mandatory salary increases for the next four years, mandatory bonus, full contributions to my health plan, and a pension or else I'll strike!" The answer is obvious: Goodbye and good luck!

Decades ago, Willie Nelson wrote a song, "Momma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys", and, instead, he wrote, they should grow up to be doctors and lawyers. Thinking about it now in 2010, who really wants to be doctor or lawyer when you can just graduate high school, be a unionized doorman or work for the feds?

My point is this: why work hard to educate yourself and get ahead in this country by becoming a lawyer or doctor if we are going to greatly penalize them? The class warfare continues.

1 comment:

Legalbgl said...

Andrew, an excellent post!