Job Wage Fairness? Advice Needed...

haiggy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
1,319
68
Ontario, Canada
Hello MR,

Looking for advice as I'm in a dilemma. Let's get started.

I work in a chemistry lab in Canada. I have an 8 month contract position and my contract expires in one month. I test client samples with various laboratory equipment. Anyways, the person who trained me to do the job quit and I am lined up to take their place with a full time position (employer has told me this). They did not sign me right away even though I am doing the exact same job this person was doing previously. They had an online job posting for the position to which I applied and they decided to do no interviews. Because of this, it has been noted I will get the position when my contract ends. The way I saw it was, they wanted to pay me as little as possible until they had to give me a raise (however big or small). I sucked it up. This was about 3 months ago.

Fast forward to now. We just got some co-op students from local colleges and I am training them how to do the jobs I do and how to use the equipment I use. I was talking to a guy I've gotten to know pretty well (he plays D3, so we've been playing together) etc and have become friends and he told me how much they are paying him.

Summary so far:

Me:
- 8 month contract position looking to move into the full-time position
- 4 year university degree (completed)
- No relevant work experience other than the 7 months I have been in my current position
- training current co-op students

Them:
- 8 month co-op contract position looking to go back to school once finished
- 3 year college diploma (in progress)
- No relevant work experience
- being trained by me

Last month I got a $0.50/hr raise but from the sounds of it everybody in the building got this same raise. Even the co-op students who hadn't even started working there yet. They hadn't stepped through the door yet and they were granted the same raise I had been given. In that raise letter my job title also got raised from "Lab Analyst Level 0 to level 1" (lolololol). I'm mentioning this because sometimes people new to the company make the same as others with the same job title. I can only assume their job title didn't change (they hadn't spent even an hour in the lab yet). Also, it works out that if they didn't get the raise like I did, they would still be making more than me (with me getting the raise).

I'm not the type of person to complain and whine about life being unfair but this has struck me as being completely unfair. I'm getting married in 3 months so I'm looking to make as much as possible to support myself and my wife on our own and I can't settle for something that would be hard to live off of. I have the best interests of two people in mind now.

I'm planning on talking to my manager but I'm unsure of what would be a good thing to say or how to phrase it. My manager is a nice guy so I'm not afraid to talk to him.

Anyone experience a similar situation? What can I do? I feel cheated.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
You're a contractor there, I'd say since you have a month left of your contract. Don't get worked up about whether other people got the same raise as you.
 
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haiggy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
1,319
68
Ontario, Canada
You're a contractor there, I'd say since you have a month left of your contract. Don't get worked up about whether other people got the same raise as you.
The thing is I will be full time in a month. I've been doing the full time job description since 3 months ago.

I don't care that they got a raise. It's an interesting point. They would be making more than me even without the raise.
 
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bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,595
2,343
First ask questions seeking understanding of the pay structure.
I know where I worked co-op and entry level temps were paid the same but had two different grade levels classifications.
If a coop was making $19.50 and the new rate was $20 all coops were bumped.
Temps made whatever their current contract negotiated at. Wage levels changed with the individuals new contract.

When you are extended an opportunity to join the full time employee ranks you will be presented an offer.you have to take into account, paid time off, retirement programs, any contributions to health and wellness programs.
You may in yourself making less than when you were a temp.

However, the offer they extend you can be countered, unless they say take it or leave.
I generally shoot for a 11.35% increase to the initial offer. An odd number makes it appear you had a number in mind not just a flat 10% more than what's being presented.
The worst thing they can say is no or extend the full amount or a portion thereof.
If up are serious about working their be prepared to have to live with their initial offer and smile when you accept a lower than expected wage.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,937
32,287
Boston
First ask questions seeking understanding of the pay structure.
This is probably the best question because going into your manager's office with guns blazing won't really help but asking for an understanding will be better received
 
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samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
1,594
3,572
Atlanta, GA
I understand your position, but unfortunately, that's the way things have become these days.

About 10 years ago, I started to get fed up with the job I had been at for 4 years at that point. I was a top-level assistant doing a job very few others were qualified to do (at least to the degree I was). The company decided to redo their pay structure, and decided that all assistants should make the same, no matter time with the company or special skills/experience. So instead of the standard yearly raises we had been getting, suddenly raises stopped for those of us who had been there for several years until the others could "catch up". I moved up to a lead the following year and quit halfway through the season because the team I was saddled with was so awful, it was beyond words...and the company would do nothing. That's what happens when you cut yearly raises.
 
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haiggy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
1,319
68
Ontario, Canada
I understand your position, but unfortunately, that's the way things have become these days.

About 10 years ago, I started to get fed up with the job I had been at for 4 years at that point. I was a top-level assistant doing a job very few others were qualified to do (at least to the degree I was). The company decided to redo their pay structure, and decided that all assistants should make the same, no matter time with the company or special skills/experience. So instead of the standard yearly raises we had been getting, suddenly raises stopped for those of us who had been there for several years until the others could "catch up". I moved up to a lead the following year and quit halfway through the season because the team I was saddled with was so awful, it was beyond words...and the company would do nothing. That's what happens when you cut yearly raises.
Well I only mentioned the raise part because it just compounds to the problem I see with all of it. These students are making MORE than me. Raise or no raise. I wouldn't care if I made the same as them.
 
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calderone

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2009
3,679
99
Seattle
Well I only mentioned the raise part because it just compounds to the problem I see with all of it. These students are making MORE than me. Raise or no raise. I wouldn't care if I made the same as them.
Happens all the time. This is why you never talk about money with co-workers.

Don't like it, quit.
 
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Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
Well not much you can do if you already accepted the job. The only thing I would say is on the full time job ask for more.
If they say no I would still take the stupid job but start looking for a newer hire paying job. Reason being is it would be a clear sign the company does not respect you. It is easier to find a job while you have one but I would have zero issue looking if they were treating me like that.
 
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CalBoy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2007
7,849
37
Well I only mentioned the raise part because it just compounds to the problem I see with all of it. These students are making MORE than me. Raise or no raise. I wouldn't care if I made the same as them.
You know this for sure and not based on what you believe?

It's very odd to me that an employer would pay a student more than a worker, even if you were under a short contract. Is there some piece to this puzzle we don't know, like maybe the students are part of a program with the company that commits them to return to the company after they've completed more education?

In the end, your best course of action is to get the full-time position, and then quietly look for the same or better position elsewhere and use it as leverage if you want to bother staying at the same place. I don't know how your particular occupation is doing in the market right now, but if you can find a way to make yourself valuable to the company, then you gain more leverage.
 
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haiggy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
1,319
68
Ontario, Canada
You know this for sure and not based on what you believe?

It's very odd to me that an employer would pay a student more than a worker, even if you were under a short contract. Is there some piece to this puzzle we don't know, like maybe the students are part of a program with the company that commits them to return to the company after they've completed more education?

In the end, your best course of action is to get the full-time position, and then quietly look for the same or better position elsewhere and use it as leverage if you want to bother staying at the same place. I don't know how your particular occupation is doing in the market right now, but if you can find a way to make yourself valuable to the company, then you gain more leverage.
Yes I know this for sure and not on what I believe. He told me what he makes. After he told me he showed me the pay cheque. It's a fact.

The company has no such program you suggest but I appreciate the effort to think of something maybe I haven't thought of.

The ONLY thing that I can think of is that the company gets some sort of tax break hiring co-op students in Ontario. But I wouldn't think that would make sense to be paying them more money...?

I'm going to get the full-time position meanwhile looking elsewhere for employment. My occupation isn't doing great in the market which makes it harder to find other related work as I'm fresh out of school with not much experience.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,937
32,287
Boston
These students are making MORE than me.
Welcome to the world of business.

I hate to sound harsh but other then asking how they handle raises and pay structure, you'll not get anywhere. They make what they make and you make what you make. Its your employer's money and decision on how much they pay their employees. Be content with what you have and not worry about how the other employees are getting paid.
 
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chrisbb

macrumors member
Nov 7, 2008
78
48
I also graduated from a College with a Lab. Tech Diploma - in Canada.
I got a summer job after grad (I was one of the 6 or some that got a school related job.... there was about 28 of us that graduated)

I was on $13/hr, at 40/hr a week.....
Long story short, my Lab manager/boss at the time said to me, "go back to school whilst you are still young, get a degree in something Science/Chemistry related".

I am in school right now, finishing up my last year.
If you factor in the taxes, rent, car payment + insurance, cost of actually living alone.... $13/hr is going to make it tight for a new grad. to live on.

Can I ask you what lab you are at?
I see that you're in Ontario, same as me, and I've heard that commercial labs in the London and TO areas don't pay that well to start off with.....
 
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haiggy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 20, 2003
1,319
68
Ontario, Canada
I also graduated from a College with a Lab. Tech Diploma - in Canada.
I got a summer job after grad (I was one of the 6 or some that got a school related job.... there was about 28 of us that graduated)

I was on $13/hr, at 40/hr a week.....
Long story short, my Lab manager/boss at the time said to me, "go back to school whilst you are still young, get a degree in something Science/Chemistry related".

I am in school right now, finishing up my last year.
If you factor in the taxes, rent, car payment + insurance, cost of actually living alone.... $13/hr is going to make it tight for a new grad. to live on.

Can I ask you what lab you are at?
I see that you're in Ontario, same as me, and I've heard that commercial labs in the London and TO areas don't pay that well to start off with.....
I don't want to say which lab specifically but I am in Kitchener-Waterloo. I make $12.13/hr... just got a $0.50/hr raise so I started at $11.63. The new co-op students are starting at $12.80/hr. Right now I live at home but I will be moving out in 3 months as that's when I'm getting married. Gonna be kinda tight... I'm lucky to have a lot of savings to hold me by until I can somehow manage an increase in wage. I realize $0.67/hr isn't that much of a difference but I feel it's the principle. I've decided to wait until my contract is done (1 month) and renegotiate better terms for myself if they decide to take me on full-time as they have previously said.

I have a 4 year degree in Chemistry and to be honest it seems the job opportunities are the same as college jobs. I don't really see much university only positions... it is open to both. However, the university only positions I've seen want a lot of experience that is hard to get when they aren't willing to hire new graduates. I've asked about volunteering places but they have said the required training and safety etc is too much to just have a volunteer.
 
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chrisbb

macrumors member
Nov 7, 2008
78
48
I have an idea what lab.... doesn't surprise me that they pay so low.
Such a pain in the a$$ to go trough all that school and end up with some low-paid position :(

I hope that they do honour what they told you.
Good luck!
 
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jgc

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2012
202
0
Canada
I can't comment too much on your getting paid less issue, but my experience with contractors is that when you sign on for a certain period of time, you agree to a wage that can't be changed. So to me it's unsurprising that they're not giving you tons of increases. I'm surprised you even got one.

I'm an engineering student on co-op currently. My first work term (in NB) I was getting paid the same as a new grad lab prep contractor. I think as far as the company is concerned a co-op student is equivalent in functionality to a contractor since you're both working temporary, termed positions. You may be full time in the future but you're not yet, and they have to honour your contract while it's valid.

From another angle, I'm on my second co-op term now (in Alberta). As far as my pay is concerned, it's relatively high considering I'm still a student. There's a low chance that the company is benefiting financially from hiring me. But companies realize that students still have to pay for university etc. and consequently they offer very fair wages knowing that they'll be saving every dollar they can to pay for their next semester of tuition. It's also a four or eight month job interview to them so there's some more of the "value" in paying students to see how they'll perform before considering them for FT in the future.
 
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