The headline for the CBS News story in Boston
is titled "MBTA Offers $30 an Hour to Shovel Out Tracks."
The first five paragraphs describe just how severe the weather has been in Boston and how it may take a month for track conditions to get back to normal. The article then transitions to the great opportunity for union workers and students to make some extra cash - $30 an hour extra to be exact.
A mixture of union workers, students and others just looking to make some extra cash are shoveling MBTA tracks, WBZ-TV’s Nicole Jacobs reports. The MBTA is paying $30 an hour to workers who help clear the snow.
But did you notice the 8th word in that quote? It's "others" and by others they mean prisoners. 50 of them
. Except these prisoners aren't being paid $30 an hour. They aren't even being paid minimum wage. Hell, they aren't even being paid what minimum wage was decades ago. Go lower, much lower. $1 an hour would be 5x more than what prisoners are making shoveling snow in Boston.
They are making $0.20 per hour. Yes, you read that correctly - twenty cents per hour. In other words, those making $30 per hour are making 150x what the prisoners are making for the same work. Now, we could debate all day whether prisoners deserve $30 an hour, but paying them $0.20 per hour is pseudo-slave labor. At the end of a work day, they will have earned $1.60. At the end of a 5 day work week they will have earned $8 - which is what the college students will earn, literally, in 15 minutes of work.
Any way you look at it, this is wrong and an abuse of the system.
Thanks to Allan Pyke from Think Progress for making this story known.