Which Side Are You On?

N7E Blocks Quilas!

I’ve been pretty busy at work lately, so I haven’t been able to check my Twitter account as often as I’ve done in the past, so I don’t know if what I’m about to report happened recently or a little while ago, but today I was scrolling down my feed and I noticed a distinct absence of tweets from No 7‑Eleven NYC. “That’s odd,” I thought. “Have there been no robberies at 7‑Elevens in the Southwest lately?”

So I went to their home page, and the Follow button twitter-follow-buttonwas active, instead of the Following button twitter-following-buttonthat I was accustomed to seeing. That’s odd, I thought, so I clicked it.

twitter-quilas-blocked

Well, blow me down! They’re blocking Quilas from receiving their tweets!

OK, no big deal. I can always go to their home page. I saw one thread I was interested in, and clicked twitter-view-conversation, and got this:

twitter-quilas-not-authorized

Apparently they’ve never heard the adage “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” They’re not my enemies, but if you follow this blog, you know we don’t agree on some things. Still, you would think that they’d want to know what I was saying on Twitter, if it had anything to do with them, no? Presumably, they won’t receive tweets of mine with their address in it twitter-n7e-address. How do you run damage control when you don’t know what’s going on?

Silly people!

Saving the Lower East Side?

UPDATED 5/21/13 – 9:22PM

I completely reject the arguments made in the comments section. I did not need authorization to write this piece.

Nevertheless, as a gesture of good will, I will redact the name of the company that was used in the example.

***

UPDATED 5/18/13 – 10:06PM

I posted the original version of this piece in the morning of May 18. In the previous version, I based my [Company Name Redacted] figures on shifts of 6.5 hours each (13 hours/day ÷ 2). After I received the comment below, I rewrote it using the new information.

***

There is a blog called Save the Lower East Side (SLES), where one of the most nonsensical contributions to the Great 7‑Eleven Debate can be found. This blog is maintained by someone whom many of you will remember as employing questionable copying/pasting practices, described in Trouble in the “East Village”.

According to SLES, […]:

… employs 6 persons per weekday shift, 2 shifts, 10 people per shift weekends; total: 21 full time equivalent positions, all behind the counter (no waiters/tips) all $10/hr. The store is only half the size of a 7‑Eleven which employs only 7-10 positions per store, so […] employs 4 to 6 times (!) as many people as 7‑Eleven, and all at a higher pay scale (I asked the guys behind the counter themselves, so it’s not management BS).

[…] is open from 7am-8pm, seven days per week.

[…] shifts are 8-hours each. It includes clean up after hours and a three-hour overlap during the day.

Let me just say, they could have saved me a lot of time if they had provided this information in their initial post. It’s not like I have nothing better to do than rewrite a piece that took two days to complete!

So does the clean-up time make it a 9-hour, paid shift, or is it uncompensated? Is it reasonable to assume there’s a set-up hour too? I assume the length of time for set-up/clean-up is 1 hour; how long would it take 6 people to clean up anyway?

I also need to point out that SLES is not calculating Full-Time Equivalencies (FTEs) correctly. An FTE is calculated by dividing the number of total hours worked by the maximum number of compensable hours in a full-time schedule. The scale ranges between 0 and 1. A person who works 40 hours in a 40-hour week has an FTE of 1.0; a person who works 20 hours has an FTE of 0.5. So whatever this 21 figure is, it’s not an FTE.

So again, let’s see if we can figure this out. …:

Shift Number of
Workers
Hours/
Shift
Days/
Week
Worker-Hours/
Week
Mon-Fri, Shift 1 6 x 8 x 5 = 240
Mon-Fri, Shift 2 6 x 8 x 5 = 240
Sat-Sun, Shift 1 10 x 8 x 2 = 160
Sat-Sun, Shift 2 10 x 8 x 2 = 160
____
Total 800

Since we don’t know yet how many people will be working at 7‑Eleven, I’ll use their 7–10 worker range:

Shift Number of
Workers
Hours/
Shift
Days/
Week
Worker-Hours/
Week
Sun-Sat, 3 Shifts 7 x 8 x 7 = 392
Sun-Sat, 3 Shifts 10 x 8 x 7 = 560

But how do the two companies compare from the workers’ point of view, since that’s what this exercise is all about?

Location Worker-Hours/
Week
Hourly
Wage
Total Weekly Wages
[…] 800 x $10.00 = $8,000.00
7-Eleven, 7 Workers 392 x $8.44 = $3,308.48
7-Eleven, 10 Workers 560 x $8.44 = $4,726.40

Then:

7-Eleven, 7 Workers$3,308.48÷7=$472.64

Location Total Weekly Wages Number
of Workers
Average
Weekly Wage Per
Worker
[…] $8,000.00 ÷ 32 = $250.00
7-Eleven, 10 Workers $4,726.40 ÷ 10 = $472.64

So a worker at 7‑Eleven averages $472.64 per week and a worker at […] averages $250.00.

I’m sure there are some at […] who work more than the average of 25 hours and make more than the average amount of money, but for every dollar more one person makes, another makes less, all else being equal. This is assuming the figures SLES provided on the number of workers is accurate! I don’t want to have to re-write this again!

[…] puts more money into the wage pool, paying $8,000/week, compared with $3,308.48 or $4,726.40 per week for 7‑Eleven, but is this sustainable? Time will tell.

Now for Fresh&Co.:

I also looked at Fresh&Co, which is about the size of a 711: 20 people per shift, 2 shifts, including weekends, all behind-the-counter (no waiter/tips) and well over minimum wage (except the delivery guys — they get tips so the law exempts them from the minimum wage, like waiters). Total: 56 full time equivalnt positions, not counting delivery staff. It employs 5-8 times (!!) as a 7-Eleven.

First of all, Fresh&Co is a chain! They have five locations, with three more opening soon. What next, comparing 7‑Eleven to Chase?! Secondly, delivery guys and waiters are not exempt from the minimum wage, their employers are exempt from paying the regular minimum wage. But waiters and delivery guys are supposed to be paid a minimum wage of $5.00/hour. Frequently, they’re not.

Back to Fresh&Co. Since I don’t know what “well over minimum wage” is, then I can’t test SLES’s figures, but I know that 56 FTEs is still meaningless. If Fresh&Co has more workers at a higher rate, then good for them! Again, I never said 7‑Eleven was the best place to work. But in all their efforts to demonstrate how bad 7‑Eleven is, they finally had to compare it to another chain store before succeeding!

7-Eleven is actually one of the worst franchises from a labor/employment point of view.

That very well may be, but SLES has yet to demonstrated it. And it’s better, from the workers’ point of view, than anything they’ve offered in its place.

***

There is one possibility that I just now thought of, which is that “21 full-time equivalent positions” could mean 21 actual workers. Given SLES’s history of obfuscation on this matter, I would not be surprised. So I’ll suggest one more possibility:

Location Total Weekly Wages Number
of Workers
Average
Weekly Wage Per
Worker
[…] $8,000.00 ÷ 21 = $380.95

It’s still less than 7-Eleven.

***

One more thing: why were they not so forthcoming back when we were discussing bodegas? Where was their concern then, for the number of workers and their pay? What are their priorities?

Luxury Listings NYC – May/June

First, let me say I was very disappointed that the current issue of Luxury Listings NYC was not delivered to my door, as the past two were. Instead, a stack of them was left in front of the mailboxes in the lobby, wrapped in a rubber band. I didn’t even find the one with our name on it, just two addressed to others in the building. I’m going to contact The Real Deal, which publishes Luxury Listings NYC, and bring this to their attention.

I don’t need the paper copy for my purposes, though. The online version is better for making screen shots. Still, I want it in front of my door.

For those who didn’t read my last installment, or for those who want to be reminded: Luxury Listings NYC promotes every neighborhood-commodity in Manhattan below 110th Street: Upper East Side; Upper West Side; Midtown; Gramercy; Chelsea; Greenwich Village; Soho; Tribeca; Lower East Side; and Financial District. Every section has a “Celeb real estate in the neighborhood” listing too, telling which celebrities live in that neighborhood! (Who doesn’t want to live near celebrities?!) And as it is almost Summer, this issue has a section on the Hamptons and the North Fork of Long Island. I don’t have any screen shots of those though because, frankly, they just weren’t that interesting. The next issue, which I expect to see in front of my door in July, will certainly report on the merry-making decadence going on there, and I might comment then.

So, let’s get on with this!

llnyc-100mil
I said something very similar to this just the other day. “$100 million is the new black,” I said. Really.

llnyc-mayjune-supply-demand-2
Silly Luxury Listings NYC. It’s not supply and demand, it’s 7-Eleven! (But really, it’s not supply and demand. That doesn’t explain anything.)

llnyc-mayjune-supply-demand-1
It’s beyond human control. This is what they’d have people believe. It’s an immutable law of physics. Supply and demand is the new black hole.

Anything they want to inure us to?
llnyc-mayjune-drones
You might find them scary too, but relax!

And finally:
llnyc-mayjune-concierge
Certainly not! Privilege is privilege! It doesn’t stop when you come home.

***

Here’s a look at some of the places for sale.

llnyc-mayjune-4sale-midtown
Too much white.

llnyc-mayjune-4sale-ues3
Too much purple.

llnyc-mayjune-4sale-ues1
Who lives here, a monk? Do these people not own a single book? This place is crying out for something to be dropped on the floor.

llnyc-mayjune-4sale-ues2
It looks like Quilas, no?

***

OK, finally we get to my neighborhood. There’s really only one thing to report, and it’s a doozy! Check this out:
llnyc-mayjune-les-community-news

Two groups?! Does Luxury Listings NYC employ fact checkers? Do they think Quilas is some kind of petite bourgeois outfit, too? I can’t have been doing my job very well, if that’s that case. I have to contact The Real Deal about this (separately from my request to resume delivering my copy of the magazine to my door).

***

Finally, I leave you with a song:

It doesn’t make a difference
if we make it or not
We’ve got each other
and that’s a lot

llnyc-mayjune-bonjovi
$42 million is the old black!

Suicide Among Adults Aged 35–64 Years — United States, 1999–2010

In 2009, the number of deaths from suicide surpassed the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Traditionally, suicide prevention efforts have been focused mostly on youths and older adults, but recent evidence suggests that there have been substantial increases in suicide rates among middle-aged adults in the United States. … [T]he annual, age-adjusted suicide rate among persons aged 35–64 years increased 28.4%, from 13.7 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 17.6 in 2010. Among racial/ethnic populations, the greatest increases were observed among American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) (65.2%, from 11.2 to 18.5) and whites (40.4%, from 15.9 to 22.3). … The findings underscore the need for suicide preventive measures directed toward middle-aged populations.

Suicide Among Adults Aged 35–64 Years — United States, 1999–2010.

Trouble in the “East Village”

Well, either you’re closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of Stalin in your community.

One thing I came to realize in my exchanges with N7E is that we got trouble, my friend, right here, I say, trouble right here in the “East Village” and that begins with S and that stands for Stalin!

From an email:
stalin-1

From a comment to Restaurants:
stalin-2

From a comment to a post on EV Grieve:
stalin-3

So beware!

***

Unrelated to the Red Menace, take a look below at something I noticed. The first of these is dated 4/28, and was received as a comment to Restaurants (second excerpt above). The second one was posted the very next day on a blog called “Save The Lower East Side”. The first was posted by “Bob,” the second by “Rob.”

In order to spare you having to read these, I’ll just tell you that the areas marked in yellow are identical in their wording, with some variation in punctuation.

“Bob”:
bob-on-wages

“Rob”:
rob-on-wages

Now if these were talking points of the organization, that would be one thing. But this goes beyond talking points. Do they really both have a Maoist friend who voted for Giuliani? OK, it’s possible. But would they really both tell the story of his/her voting using precisely the same words? That’s very hard to believe. It seems more likely that “Rob” is plagiarizing “Bob”.

thing1_and_thing2

N7E and Labor (Again): A Recapitulation

When discussions take place across separate blogs, and in the Comments sections of even different blogs, the focus begins to blur. Early on, I maintained that, as opposed to a bodega, a 7‑Eleven moving into the vacant space at Avenue A and 11th Street would raise the income of the neighborhood, against the assertion that 7‑Eleven would: 1) reduce the number of jobs; and 2) lower income in the neighborhood via the requirement that part of the profits be sent to the corporate headquarters. I believe I defended this position adequately at The Local Economy?.

Since that time, the conversation has shifted. This is a recent post from the leader of N7E (click on the image if you want to read the entire screed):

rob-on-wages

There appear to be two assertions here — only one of them is direct:
“…replacing a 7‑Eleven with a restaurant in NYC would improve the wage prospects of immigrant workers, documented as well as undocumented.” But the inclusion of wage statistics just before that indicates that they’re making the argument that wages in a restaurant would be higher (for the cook, in any case) than for clerks in a 7‑Eleven, and that a restaurant is, therefore, preferable.

There really isn’t anything to say about “improve the wage prospects of” except that it does not follow from “Mean average for a cooks wage…” just before it. You find this all through their literature. And it’s ambiguous. “[I]mprove the job prospects of” makes more sense. They may be right that it lowers the “wage prospects” of undocumented workers, but they’re going to have to tell us exactly how many people they’re talking about. Are they ready to claim that X number of jobs at less than minimum wage, with employer threats of deportation, are preferable to a similar number of jobs at ≥ minimum wage, with the increased opportunity to organize a union? (I’m going to deal with the topic of organizing in a future post. For now, let this suffice as an example of what 7-Eleven workers can do. I’ve also maintained that, as a large company, 7-Eleven is susceptible to pressure from outside its workforce.)

Now, to the money question. To begin with, why would they cite the mean, average wage for cooks across the country after reading what I posted in Restaurants, which examines the pay of restaurant workers in New York City? Hmmm? Maybe they just skimmed it, and thought “Look, numbers. We should get some numbers too.”

quilas-restaurants-min-wage1

The problem with the BLS figures they cite2 is that they’re not accurate hourly rates. Many are extrapolated from flat rates divided into hours scheduled per week. Others are determined by taking the mean, average annual income (e.g., $23,300), dividing it by 52 weeks, then dividing that by 40 hours, as if cooks worked eight hours a day, five days per week. As already established:

quilas-restaurants-typical-hours1

$23,300 ÷ 52 weeks ÷ 6 days ÷ 12 hours = $6.22/hour.
÷ 10 hours = $7.47/hour.
÷ 8 hours = $9.33/hour.

As we narrow the discussion to increasingly-specific details, like the hourly rate of a cook in a hypothetical restaurant, it becomes more difficult to generalize. A 7‑Eleven at that location that hires ten people instead of seven, or a restaurant that employs a chef instead of a regular cook, limits the inferences we can make. But there are a couple of observations that can be made with certainty: there is no evidence that a restaurant would be significantly better than a 7‑Eleven for either total number of people hired or total wage receipts; and everyone who works at the 7‑Eleven will be paid at least minimum wage, while many of those who work at the restaurant will not be. It’s nothing to write home about, but this discussion has never been about why 7‑Eleven is good, just about why it’s less bad.

***

Finally, almost as an aside, I will address this last claim:

    “The majority (66 percent) of low-wage workers are not employed by small businesses, but rather by large corporations.”3

I have no doubt that this is true, but it’s completely irrelevant to the discussion! (You find this all through their literature.)

It’s funny they should refer to this report. If they had bothered to turn to page 2, they’d have seen the following:

nelp-table-1

Oh well. This isn’t their forte, after all.

=-=-=-=-=

1Unregulated Work in the Restaurant Industry in New York City
2Occupational Employment and Wages News Release
3Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the Minimum Wage

Previous Older Entries