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U.S. Companies Now Charge Employees for Their Training After They Quit

By Thomas Neuburger

“I can always choose, but I ought to know that if I do not choose, I am still choosing. ... Man is condemned to be free.”

― Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions

"The beatings will stop when the billionaires are rich enough."

—Yours truly

The War on Wages

The whole U.S. economy, it seems, is determined to destroy wage growth (more properly understood as "wage recovery") as we emerge from the Covid Economy. The Covid Economy stressed many industries, the airlines, for example, causing the government of find ways to give them money. This they immediately spent in other ways:

When it came time to hire workers back, most companies balked, claiming "no workers available," when in fact the real reason was, "We won't increase their wages, customer service be damned."

Eventually the Fed joined the War on Wages bandwagon:

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said his goal is “to get wages down.” ...
According to a transcript of the presser published by the Wall Street Journal, Powell blamed this inflation crisis, which is global, not on the proxy war in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia, but rather on U.S. workers supposedly making too much money.
“Employers are having difficulties filling job openings, and wages are rising at the fastest pace in many years,” Powell complained.
The Fed’s proposed solution: bring down wages.

They could have added supply chain issues to the reason prices have risen. But they didn't. Wonder why.

Clawing Back Wages

That war has expressed itself in a delightful variety of ways — including retroactively reducing an employee's total compensation after she quits. The tool to do that — charge her, as she walks out the door, for the training she received when she walked into it.

More U.S. companies charging employees for job training if they quit
WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - When a Washington state beauty salon charged Simran Bal $1,900 for training after she quit, she was shocked.
Not only was Bal a licensed esthetician with no need for instruction, she argued that the trainings were specific to the shop and low quality.
Bal's story mirrors that of dozens of people and advocates in healthcare, trucking, retail and other industries who complained recently to U.S. regulators that some companies charge employees who quit large sums of money for training.
Nearly 10% of American workers surveyed in 2020 were covered by a training repayment agreement, said the Cornell Survey Research Institute.

Training repayment agreements are, appropriately, called Training Repayment Agreement Provisions, or TRAPs, and yes they are. They're traps.

Living with Predators

We live among predators, lions and tigers and bears, all determined to eat what they can of us before other predators get to us first.

Our monetary flesh is rendered off our bones inch by bloody inch by those that surround us. Unlike our earlier ancestors, however, our present predators are our own species, women and men functionally identical to ourselves.

Which means our use of the term "predators" is a bit wrong. An animal who preys on humans is a predator, yes. But a human that preys on humans is also a psychopath. And we have permitted our society to structure itself so that our most successful psychopaths ... are also our rulers.

No wonder this is a pre-revolutionary nation. Too bad the Democratic Party is fervently opposed to revolutionary leaders that come from the left of the Right:

The Democratic Party’s Real War in 2020 Was Against Bernie Sanders

As it stands now, all of the revolutionary energy in the country — which might be called "anti-predator defense" — is forcefully funneled to support of right-wing demagogues, who will do their own kind of damage.

A Future No One Wants

It's a sorry situation. And not a stable one, as Chris Hedges well tells us here:

The reconfiguration of society under neoliberalism to exclusively benefit the billionaire class, the slashing and privatization of public services, including schools, hospitals and utilities, along with deindustrialization, the profligate pouring of state funds and resources into the war industry, at the expense of the nation’s infrastructure and social services, and the building of the world’s largest prison system and militarization of police, have predictable results.

Those "predictable results" are what we see before us, emerging as we watch. The beatings will stop when the billionaires are rich enough, and not before. In other words, never, unless those billionaires are deposed and replaced.

Seems impossible? Not for an existentialist. Even in the face of a gun aimed at our head, we're never without a choice.

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