Why is he only working 27 hours/week? If he's serious about raising himself out of poverty, finding another part-time job would seem to be a priority.
It's probably not terribly easy to find another part-time job when you're a Haitian immigrant without the best English skills and not much on your resume. Even if he found another job would it conflict with his current job? Most jobs don't care if you have another job on the side, they want you there when they want you.
Also sounds like his ego/pride has taken a beating from the treatment he's received. When you live at the bottom for awhile you start feeling like you're going to be there forever. The honest truth is that many do stay at the bottom forever.
I am not sure why the food industry loves to underpay people. I think the last thing we need are lowly paid workers, with no healthcare, pressured to come in when sick making our food.
Because they can. Your boss or company would do it too if they could. Or if they're too nice, the rest of your industry would do it if they could, and then your boss or company would feel that that's just the way it is.
The article doesn't make that claim. But at the same time, unless he's here on a student visa or some such, his employer is required to pay FICA taxes, AFAICT. I think that's true for Haitians with refugee status.
EDIT: I see the title has been updated. With the exception of the "Americans" issue, I liked the old title better. "Amber Waves of Green" doesn't tell you much about the link.
Maybe they won't let him work more hours per week? Many businesses do just that so they can claim the worker as "part-time" permanently and not pay for their benefits or give them leave.
As for a second part-time job, as others have mentioned, it's hard to look for work when your commute can eat up to 5 hours of your day and you don't get off work until 1AM.
Could Maurose Frantz raise himself out of poverty if he just pulled a little harder on them faithful ol' bootstraps? Maybe! You'll never know, of course, since you don't know his actual situation and have almost certainly never known anything like it, but your go-to move of imagining that this is the case--that it's basically 'his fault' he's poor--is definitely a good way to calm your conscience. We all sleep better when we're convinced the world is just.
Maybe you've gathered from my tone that I don't think this is exactly the smartest way to go about fixing America's problem with poverty.
And seriously: The article doesn't tell us, but we can assume he's a first or second generation immigrant from Haiti, a place of truly grinding poverty. "We" have already given him an absolutely tremendous hand up by giving his family a chance to be here. We could easily deal with the "problem" of poverty like Frantz's if we simply didn't let Haitian refugees and other extremely poor individuals migrate here. But I think it's for the best that we do offer that opportunity when we can.
Many documented US citizens live in poverty. Shall we just deport them back to the USA?
Actually people have raised themselves out of poverty by working far less. IIRC, one guy in the article, just chanced upon Jezz Bezos and invested a small sum in Amazon.
That said, there are people unable to work themselves out of poverty even by working more than 40+ hours per week. Try talking with people working on your nearest Walmart for example, for some insight. Those kinds of salaries are spent as soon as they are received, in gas, rent, utility bills, foods, the kids, etc, rarely leaving anything to pursue something more, enroll in some educational program, etc.
Plus, people working 50+ hours a week in some office job, a lot of times slack, browse the web, gossip around the water cooler, and such, that in the end their productive time ends less (and much much easier on their body and mind) than a guy working 27 hours a week in a restaurant kitchen, which could be a no-breaks, work constantly, hell.
Not a good example for "raising oneself out of poverty"
> His parents made good money in the pillow trade, and after college he set up a few okay businesses
That is not poverty.
Have you accounted for the commuting time? Like the bus that eats away 2 hours every day, and that he sometimes he has to wait for 3 hours?
Plus, nobody raised himself out of poverty by getting multiple part-time, bad-paid jobs. The way to do it is to get a better paying job.
Also: those 27 hours, are they regular, or the boss can reschedule him as he pleases (as often happens)?
This book is an eye opener of how people doing these jobs get by:
(the journalist forfeited her money et al, and worked and lived as a minimum wage employee for a year or so, in order to write the book).
See also the book "Scratch Beginnings", about how a guy started with only $25 and got himself into a stable financial situation (e.g., apt, pickup truck, $5k in savings) in only 10 months with only hard work.
As explained in the article, Mr. Frantz has been promised promotion many times only for the company to renege. Is this because he does a poor job? I can't really say. It sounds like he is at least somewhat ambitious in getting ahead. Also it sounds like his employer isn't above being unscrupulous.
I've also found myself moving up the chain only to suddenly have the position eliminated and demoted further back down the chain. One job I worked at, getting a promotion was the first step to getting fired what with how often they fired managers. In some cases it's better to keep your head down, but it all depends on the situation. I think it's a bit of a fairy tale to say you'll start in the mailroom and end up an executive in 20 years by "working hard". Does it happen still? Probably, but rarely.
My guess is that criticizing some local supermarket (unknown outside of portland or wherever it was) wasn't as sexy as criticizing big evil Walmart.
Your guess is wrong. From the online book synopsis:
Ehrenreich is eventually hired by both Wal-Mart and Menards (a large-box building supply retailer), passing both the personality and drug tests and enduring their respective new-employee orientations. After discovering that Menards not only back stepped on the initial starting wage of $10 per hour but would demand 11-hour shifts, Ehrenreich opted to accept the Wal-Mart position, despite its lower wage scale.
Yes, and by also being white AND highly educated AND not having a family or people dependent on her AND not having a history of abuse and poverty to NOT draw strength from. Which was hardly the case for most of the other employees.
Not that I remember those cases for "promotion" in the book.