Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Peter Swanson indicates that wages have gotten much worse, and yet the StarTribune is complaining about low wages.
An article in City Pages (not exactly a friend of the free market) from 2000 describes the compensation for Star Tribune delivery carriers. Calculating the pay on an hourly basis depends on several variables: the fee per newspaper, the length of time it takes to complete a route, the cost of gasoline, and customer complaints that result in fines. A new carrier will presumably take longer to complete a route and will make mistakes that generate more customer fines.I later drove a route dropping papers at honor boxes and morning residential clients in Manchester. I made about $110/wk -- in 1977.
The carrier profiled in the City Pages article receives 18 cents per paper, delivering more than 200 papers on a 34-mile route. After gas and fines, he estimates that he makes "a little more than nine bucks an hour." He finishes his weekday route an hour before the 6:30 a.m. deadline, with papers first available at the depot for pick up starting at 2:00 a.m. This means that fines and gas cost him approximately $5.00 each weekday.
A carrier who has similar fines and a similar route, but who takes the entire 4.5 hours to deliver 200 papers could easily make less than $7.00 per hour for this "thankless and difficult" (quoting the editorial) job.