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Minimum Wage and Ice Cream

     I am not a big fan of Geico. Still, I have to give them their due. Their camel “Hump day” ad makes me laugh. So, in my mind, I am imagining the camel walking around and saying, “What day is it? What day is it? Yep, it’s Joel’s Friday blog”. 

     Today’s  “Did You Know” is also a trip down memory lane for me.  What was the very first federal minimum wage that was required pay? Before the answer, my story of my first minimum wage job.

     I was sixteen and started interviewing for my first “real job”. I had cut grass, sold kool aid, the Williamsport Grit newspaper, flower and vegetable garden seeds and a host of other things for spending money. Still, this was going to be my first job where I had to “clock in”.

     I was hired at Burger King, Then, I also was hired for a night job at Roses Department Store. Each had their own life long memory experiences.

     For pay, I was paid an extra 5 cents an hour at Burger King, That 5 cents was supposedly to cover the washing of my Burger King uniform. A uniform that was red and yellow. Yes… the color of ketchup and mustard. Now that is some real marketing genius!

     At Roses, I was paid 10 cents less than the minimum wage. They had some kind of summer program under probationary hiring. At the time, it allowed them to pay less than minimum wage. The fact that I was called the Assistant Manager for Toys and Stationary just gave me a grand title. It really meant that a bunch of sixteen-year-olds were running the store.

     I used to say to the manager, “Mr Blackwelder, I want a raise. You are paying me less than minimum wage. Do you want me to do less than minimum work?”  He would just smirk and say something like, “Get those boxes out of the back”. I would just keep working… for less than minimum wage.

     And now to our minimum wage question. The first federal minimum wage labor law went into effect in 1938. (Oregon State University) Previously, some states had enacted their own minimum wage laws.  At that time,  the federal minimum wage was 25 cents per hour. The attached graph shows that the current minimum wage has not kept up with that initial rate. Some states currently require a higher rate of pay. (State labor map)

     And for pic o’ day:


The Joel Bieber Firm Team

I reached into my sport coat pocket and found a small note from the manufacturer that said the following: “It took 121 people a total of 233 hours to complete this garment. We almost hate to let it go- wait… wait… we said almost!”

My experience with a team concept started small. I worked at a Burger King. I was called the Porter, which meant that I pretty much did it all including trash and mopping. That included getting there at 7AM to pick up trash in the parking lot. Later, I would be in charge of sticking burger patties on the broiler.

I would hear an order for two burgers, french fries and a coke come over the intercom. I just kept the burgers coming down the broiler chain. Sometimes I would have to run to the freezer to grab another box. Someone stood on the other end and would put them on a bun with include pickle, ketchup and mustard.

Of course, you could “have it your way” and hold the burger and bun if you wanted. At the register, the crowd would pay for their bag of food, and that doesn’t even include the adventure of the team at the french fry station or the apple pie station. Somehow, everyone got fed.

During college, I found myself working at Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation. As a pipefitter’s helper, I really had little to add. I was assigned to work on a new ship called the “Aquina”. Hundreds of employees all did a little bit. By the end, there was a ship ready to be taken out of dry dock and placed into the water. Low and behold… it floated. I did try to find a picture of it to post. I couldn’t… I hope it’s still floating!

We just finished moving our  Joel Bieber Firm Richmond law office. It was a reminder of teamwork as we boxed for the movers. We have that same feeling everyday as we work on cases. The lawyers might be the face of the case but its the paralegals and investigators who help build the foundation.

It is not unusual to finish the disbursement to a client and then have the client ask me if they can say thank you to the paralegal.  A reminder of  team.

For pic o’ day, I had to go with teamwork!

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