mechanic working on car (l) $5 poking out of jean pocket (c) mechanic working on car (r)

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‘I was a bit shocked since we started only 4 months apart’: Worker discovers there’s a $5 pay gap with his co-worker. They do the same job

'Employers do this sort of thing all the time.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jul 26, 2023

It always feels like a slap in the face when you find out that someone at your job—who performs the same duties as you and has roughly the same output—is earning more.

That’s the subject of a viral Reddit post penned by user @pickaxe46c, a 26-year-old, self-taught machinist. The worker said that he became proficient at his selected vocation while performing various on-the-job tasks with his previous employer.

Found out there’s 5 dollar pay gap between me and my coworker . We both do the same job
by u/pickaxe46c in antiwork

After some haggling, the machinist said that he was able to secure a $25 per hour position at his new job. He also said the pay was “more than I made at my last job.”

But it’s not more than what his co-worker apparently makes. In fact, @pickaxe46c said he learned that the only other machinist on staff made $30 per hour.

“I was a bit shocked since we started only 4 months apart,” he wrote in his Reddit post, where he solicited advice from others. “We do the exact same job, same parts, etc.” (According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly wage for a machinist ranges from $13.70 to $34.86 per hour).

The Redditor said that he asked his manager for more money, but they could only agree on a $1 per hour pay increase. The manager also gave @pickaxe46c paperwork to sign-off on in order to accept the rate—which the worker did not sign. And, in the end, he noticed that the paperwork meant nothing since his next paycheck already included the $1 increase. 

“There was no chance of negotiation,” @pickaxe46c wrote. “Now thinking of leaving. F*ck Work.”

In the comments, one person wrote that this is a standard practice among employers. Many bosses, they said, will also “illegally” request that their workers refrain from revealing their respective salaries to each other. “Employers do this sort of thing all the time,” they wrote. “That’s why they so often illegally threaten workers for discussing their pay with one another.” But according to the National Labor Relations Board, “policies that specifically prohibit the discussion of wages are unlawful.” 

Still, @pickaxe46c is not alone. Another commenter said that their daughter, who is around the same age as the machinist, had a similar workplace experience. The commenter said that their daughter ended up quitting.

“A few months in, new hires with no certification and/or no experience were starting at a wage higher than her. She approached management and HR to no avail,” the commenter wrote. “When she gave her notice, her supervisor and manager were ‘shocked’ as she was one of their ‘best employees.’”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @pickaxe46c via Reddit direct message.

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*First Published: Jul 26, 2023, 7:35 am CDT