Self-proclaimed TikTok socialist @socialist_mac_miller posted a viral video detailing why “unskilled” laborers should be paid a livable wage. It’s sparked quite a debate.
In his clip, he rejects another user on the platform’s argument that if folks want to get better paying jobs, then they should learn a trade or seek employment with a company that’ll pay for their schooling, while paying a trainee salary until they complete their certification.
@socialist_mac_miller contended in his video that there aren’t enough skilled labor jobs to go around, even if everyone were to get certified for them, arguing that everyone deserves to be able to get paid enough to live a decent life, regardless of the job they work.
The TikToker posted his response to fellow app user Nicole Bass (@jointherades) who uploaded a video stating that unless you’re an individual with absolutely no work experience, there is no reason anybody should be settling for a “minimum wage job.”
@socialist_mac_miller #stitch with @Nicole Bass #socialism #communism #capitalism #fyp #foryou #essentialworker #minimumwage #workersrights ♬ original sound – P
Bass specializes in putting folks into “trade” jobs and indicates in her video that there are plenty of unfilled positions that she has difficulty finding suitable applicants for.
She says that while 55% of people working minimum wage jobs are over the age of 25, they don’t necessarily need to place themselves in that position, citing that there are “literally millions of career jobs out there” for folks to nab, like HVAC installation. She highlighted that there are companies that’ll even pay for the technical training of a hired employee to become certified to service and install air conditioning units, adding, “and they give them a salary while they do it.”
Bass went on to state that in just the HVAC industry alone there are 41,100 jobs each year for the next 10 years that need to be filled in order to “meet the needs of the HVAC industry,” but says that “we just can’t do it, we don’t even have a path to make that happen.”
@socialist_mac_miller, however, stated that it’s not so easy for folks to just up and get a job in an entirely new industry. He responded to Bass’ clip in a stitched video, which he opens up with a rant against this opportunity-seeking mindset: “…no matter how much I try to hammer this home some of y’all are still allergic to getting the f*cking point so let’s go through this one more time. I’m gonna lead with this point this time because maybe it’ll resonate with someone if I frontload it.”
He first calls into question Bass’ mention of overqualified people working minimum wage jobs: “Do you realize how many people you see working these quote unquote low wage jobs that are insanely overqualified for them? Serious, nine times out of 10 when you see someone over the age of 25 waiting tables or working a drive-thru or stocking shelves or anything of that nature it’s not because they’re lazy and they’re unskilled.”
The TikToker goes on to highlight that numerous people who have demonstrated strong work ethics and technical acumen are often relegated to working low-wage jobs out of complete necessity as they cannot secure gainful employment by any other means: “More likely they did everything they were supposed to. They went to school, they spent time and money they probably didn’t have learning a trade or learning your precious skills only to find out that what they wanted to go into didn’t have enough room for them.”
@socialist_mac_miller then delineated a story about a friend of his who, despite having multiple grad-level degrees, has to supervise a popular drug store chain location in order to make ends meet: “There is a friend of mine who has master’s degrees in biochemistry and mechanical engineering. You know what they’re doing for a living right now? They’re a store manager at a f*cking Walgreens.”
He then appeared to slam the notion of marking the vast majority of available jobs in the United States as “unskilled labor”: “This is what the ‘learn a trade’ crowd just refuses to wrap their heads around. What y’all refer to as unskilled labor makes up 82% of the workforce in the United States. That is comically too large of a demographic to be held down by teenagers and people just starting out in the workforce. Even if these jobs were not essential, which by the way, they are, you remember during the pandemic every single one of these low wage jobs were considered essential, let’s not get that twisted, but even if we didn’t need these jobs to be done at all hours of the day and they could just be held down by teenagers and people just starting out, even if every single person over the age of 18 went out to learn a skill, or even if they learned a wide array of skills, there would still not be remotely close to enough room to accommodate all of them at these higher skilled positions.”
@socialist_mac_miller ended his tirade against Bass’ line of thinking by stating because so many jobs in America are categorized as “unskilled labor” then it would be physically impossible for every single person in the country to qualify for, and get placed in trade positions or industries that require the acquisition of an additional skill set.
And because of this employment disparity, ultimately, even these skilled workers would have to fall back on jobs that are qualified as “unskilled labor” and thus, these jobs should offer folks a living wage. “The vast majority of them would have no choice but to fall back on a quote unquote unskilled low wage job. That is why every single job should pay a livable wage. And if you disagree with that you are pretty much admitting that our current system cannot function without people being kept in poverty.”
While the topic of wages is a problem, there’s also the question of inflation, which has sharply increased since 2021, and, historically, salaries have not matched the rates of inflation in the United States. In addition to the spikes of the costs of goods and services, housing is another massive issue that has yet to be properly addressed in America: In fact, it was easier for the average U.S. citizen to purchase a house during the Great Depression than it is today.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that nearly 80% of all jobs in the country are classified as unskilled labor. Bass’ claim that there are plenty of unfilled trade labor jobs in America does appear to be true, though.
Skillwork writes that there are “nearly three million unfilled trade jobs” in the United States, with 500,000 of them in the manufacturing industry alone. Industrial Skilled Trades also posted a 2022 piece re-affirming this fact, stating that there is a massive dearth of skilled laborers in America, writing: “There were 388,345 jobs posted for skilled trades-related workers between May and June of last year [in 2021], a 50% increase from pre-pandemic levels. The more sobering data here is that most positions remained unfilled for an average of 24 days.”
GV Wire penned that U.S. Chamber of Commerce representative Stephanie Ferguson stated there are over 10 million unfilled jobs in America, which is more than the number of unemployed individuals, which currently sits at 5.7 million.
The outlet went on to say: “And a disproportionate number of those unfilled jobs are skilled labor, not white-collar work.”
Pittsburgh Duquesne University associate professor Antony Davies states that a large part of the blame for the lack of skilled laborers in America rests on political agendas that prioritize university educations over folks securing trade jobs, some of which carry close to six-figure average salaries, not factoring in potential overtime hours.
According to Credit Karma, elevator mechanics can earn $97,860 per year, and Power Plant operators can rake in $94,790. Radiation therapists can also bring home around $82,790 annually—and all of these positions are classified as trades.
A number of TikTok users agreed with @socialist_mac_miller’s post, with folks sharing anecdotes from their own workplace experiences. One person wrote: “I’m a manager of a dominos one of my drivers (until he moved away) WAS A DOCTOR delivering pizzas.”
Another said: “Also: early childhood education and elderly caregivers are INSANELY IMPORTANT JOBS… but are minimum wage”
Someone else highlighted the uselessness of some degrees when it comes to applying for jobs: “My mother has a master’s degree and does doordash….”
Kind of makes one want to go all Alex Jones and speculate that maybe the U.S. government’s decision to alleviate financial aid limitations, which spiked the increase in applicants to universities, and subsequently increased the cost of institutional tuition rates, along with private loans given out by big banks, was a concentrated effort to empower massive financial institutions. It doesn’t help that the companies managing Federal Student Aid debts are private investment firms, either.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @socialist_mac_miller via TikTok comment for further information.