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About those vilified $10 an hour jobs

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POSTED June 13, 2014 12:38 a.m.

Manteca doesn’t need $10 an hour jobs.

You hear that all the time.

I beg to differ. Manteca needs more $10 an hour jobs plus better paying jobs as well.

If you doubt that I know more than a few young adults between 19 and 22 who spent well over a year pounding the pavement in search of someone who would hire them. Then they landed jobs – those $10 an hour jobs that some people seem to detest with a passion.

They know better than anyone else that it’s tough to support yourself on $10 an hour especially when government policies governing healthcare have forced many employers already squeezed not to provide more than 25 or so  hours a week for most of their entry level employees.

But they also know no job is even worse.

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you they are antsy and want to make a decent wage so they could pursue simple, basic dreams of having their own place and being able to stand on their own. They know $10 an hour jobs aren’t going to cut it. They also know without experience and a steady work history the chances of them opening the door to a higher paying job is almost nil.

Curse those offering $10 an hour jobs all you want but I don’t see lines going out the doors of businesses such as Raley’s and others that pay their employees better than Wal-Mart. 

It’s funny, but may of those who complain about $10 an hour jobs make it a point to patronize those retailers known for being a haven for low wages. They say they shop in stores because prices are lower. Here’s a shocking little tidbit: Wages are the biggest cost factor in the price of virtually everything we buy. 

And if you buy on the Internet, you eliminate even more jobs.

That’s not to say the marketplace on how we buy and work shouldn’t keep evolving. It’s just that you can’t have your low-priced cake and high wages too.

The fact Manteca is located where it is close to the strong Bay Area economy gives us a better shot at better paying jobs locally than most other places in the San Joaquin Valley. It also drives the price of living up, primarily shelter.

Distribution – which Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy are aggressively pursuing – provides solid second tier employment. Wages are high enough that one person could squeeze by while a couple working $15 to  $18 an hour full-time jobs could find themselves in a  position to rent or buy decent housing. So would a couple where one is working full-time at $18 an hour and one 20 hours a week at $10 an hour. They’re not going to live high on the hog but they can stand on their collective four feet.

There are numerous examples real estate agents can cite where a part-time job such as working in a Stockton cannery or at one of those vilified $10 an hour jobs coupled with a spouse that makes $18 or so an hour has allowed families to buy their own homes.

Can you thrive on $10 an hour as a solo act? No.

Rest assured if Great Wolf built in Manteca and the vast majority of their 570 jobs are $10 or so an hour they will have 20 people applying for every one they need to fill. They will be able to create that number of jobs in Manteca because of their business model – a self-contained indoor waterslide resort hotel that some like to slam because it would be too expensive for them to go there.

Bringing back the Manteca waterslides as they were won’t create that many jobs and none of them would be year round.

Entry level jobs are just that – entry level jobs.

They get a worker’s foot in the door.

Alex Spanos – the wealthiest man in Stockton and owner of the San Diego Chargers – did not start out making a wage that would allow him to live comfortably and buy a home. He didn’t even make minimum wage. He started working in a bakery at age 8.

Not everyone can go from the son of immigrants to a self-made billionaire.

But you can take what is available and parlay it into something else. Call it delayed gratification, ambition, self-discipline, motivation – whatever you want. But nothing can happen without currency, which is money.

A $10 an hour job is the entry ticket for anyone wanting to pursue dreams or simply be able to support themselves.

You can’t get your life going anywhere without a job.

And for many people a $10 an hour job either gets them started or back on track.


This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209.249.3519.

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