Governor Pence and “Good Paying Jobs”

Indiana’s always-embarrassing Governor was thrilled that Lowe’s chose Indianapolis for its new call center. The IBJ quoted him as saying “I don’t think you can overstate the importance of 1,000 good-paying jobs coming to Central Indiana.”

What our Governor considers “good paying” (for other people–he certainly wouldn’t work for these wages) is $10-14 dollars an hour. Even assuming full-time employment (40 hours a week and two weeks paid vacation, a rarity with these sorts of positions), that’s 20,000 per year at the low end–a salary that would allow a family of four to qualify for food stamps.  Those lucky folks getting full-time employment at 14 dollars per hour would be paid 28,000. (As I read Indiana’s somewhat confusing online TANF charts, children in families of four making less than 37,024 annually are eligible for support.)

And what did Indiana taxpayers shell out for the privilege of paying people wages that will qualify at least some of them for welfare? A reported 5.5 million dollars in “incentives” plus another 100,000 for training grants.

Lowe’s spokesman said they chose Indianapolis based on Hoosiers’ “work ethic.”

Sorry to tell you this, Mr. Spokesman, but that isn’t a “work ethic.” It’s desperation for a job–even a crappy one.


  1. I’d rather have those jobs here paying $10 per hour than at some overseas location where the employees might make $10 a week.

  2. Would be interesting to see Governor Pence & family live on the money he considers “good-paying”. Will these workers receive good benefits as well, ie health/dental insurance, fair amounts of paid time off? Even if he didn’t stoop to actually working in a call center for a month, I’d love to see him get ONLY the paycheck these workers get and see if it would alter his view.

  3. Ugh, I worked in call centers for over a decade all together in my career and those are soul crushing jobs. I made much more money because of my experience in IT but it did not lessen the stress. Turnover was high. Every moment of your 8 hrs is counted and recorded. You had to be professional or risked getting fired. Your breaks, lunches etc were taken in turn with the others and thankfully, I didn’t have to sell anything. Burn out was very high among staffers.
    Imagine…sitting at a desk that is 3 feet wide and up against a wall or divider and you are poised to staring into a computer screen. Your neighbor is 6 feet away from you and you have headsets on. Every word and breath is recorded for the boss and higher ups to listen to. Your tone is judged. You have to speak softly otherwise get drowned out by your neighbor’s call. Your callers yell at you in their frustration. You get cussed at. You have to try to calm them down. You can’t go to the bathroom until your call is up and you have to press the right key in order to not have the next call land in your queue before you go. You have to feed/type the call into a software program that is tracked and escalated to the next level of support and you will be judged about why you sent it on and didn’t complete it when you had the person on the phone. Now do that over and over for 8 hrs a day, 40 hrs a week and 50 weeks a year. Your pay is based on this escalation theory and It was Maddening.
    Let me say this, after doing that job for awhile, I made a promise to myself that I would never be mean, cuss or be rude to someone on the other end of the line WHEN I was the one calling for support. The only time I have ever broken that promise is when I had to deal with AT&T/Direct tv while I lived in Indy. The right hand did not know what the left hand was doing and after my third or fourth call, I lost it. I still feel bad about acting out my frustration but after swallowing it for over a decade, I think I can forgive myself and that was about 5 yrs ago. Be nice to people. As often as possible.

  4. Well, Governor Putz is just helping to ensure that while millions of Hoosiers tumble down the economic ladder and right out of the middle class because of 30 years of supply-side voodoo economic policies, they’ll have a soft landing in a $10/hr Lowe’s call center job. With that and 2-3 other part-time jobs they should get along just fine. Thankfully our fair state ranks among the lowest in achievement of post-secondary education and training so we were a very strong candidate for this economic development grand slam. 😉

  5. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we’d just kept the high paying skilled manufacturing jobs that have been traded in for executive bonuses by sending them overseas. Or reduced the competition for jobs like these by not recruiting desperate people across our border.

    Those at the top will benefit tremendously from the conversion of once econmically successful America to a third world banana republic.

    It’s our country. We, the people. Vote, consume and invest in our best interest. Turn off mass media and turn on life long learning. Take back America.

  6. For all policymakers who think these are good-paying jobs, they are invited to live on these wages
    for a year.

  7. Krugman had a good article in today’s NY Times comparing CA to KS – loved it.

  8. I grew up in Terre Haute, a minimum wage town, and in my opinion Indpls is just a larger size Terre Haute. What is sad is $14/hr is not bad when you realize you live in a state where it seems minimum wage is all there is. (Sigh) It’s time to move.

  9. If announcing low wage jobs is a success, Governor “help the wealthy ” Pence is a success. If his misled supporters would let him, he should be working to help the one million plus public school students with outstanding programs. Instead, he helps undercut the one million with religious vouchers and corruption tainted corporate profit making charters and unre
    gulated charters.

  10. I am all for raising minimum wage; I keep signing on-line petitions and posting on Facebook. My income of $794 monthly from Social Security and $277.62 monthly from PERF adds up to slightly less than a 40 hour week on minimum wage. I paid off my home with the inheritance from my father and still drive his 17 year old car; no idea how I would live in this city if I had rent or mortgage payments to make. I commented on an earlier blog about living well in Florida in a retirement county; at that time I did have a mortgage payment and much lower income. Indiana has been known for decades and “the land of taxes”; it is also the land of high cost of living for this area of the country with middle-class sliding into lower-class status. I have only myself to support; cannot imagine how a couple can live on the current minimum wage even if both work; frightening to consider a family with children to feed, clothe and educate here. It would be a major help if women were paid the same level as men doing the same job – oh wait – wasn’t that signed into law? Who can women contact to put this law into effect? Has the battle for raising the minimum wage taken attention from this already enacted law regarding women’s salaries?

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