Should employees of licensed locksmith shops be paid prevailing wages?
One of the excuses from many who sought to impose licensing was to "raise the bar" of what they perceived as the need for greater professionalism and the ability to charge higher prices for services. However, the pay scale of the employees working for these people has not increased. Given the requirements an employee must now do to maintain or meet the criteria of a license to continue to work, the question as to why their salary has not been elevated to reflect prevailing wage has to be asked. In most cases when an employer services certain commercial work, public schools, local, state or federal buildings they are required by law to bid at prevailing wage to that of a carpenter or equivalent which is in the average range of $25+/- per hour.
Are you as an employee receiving your fair wages with the licensing requirements you now have?
Have you ever had your pay reflect such work in the past?
The fact is that many hardworking locksmiths who are employed are being exploited. Those who have used the excuse of "raising the bar" are raising their prices, obtaining bids where their business is paid at prevailing wage, yet they continue to pay their employees sub-standard wages.
If those who continue to force unwanted licensing upon the locksmith industry look upon it as improving conditions for their businesses or their image, then one would think that would also apply to the employees wages and standard of living.
The United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some very compelling employment and wage information that all employees of licensed locksmith businesses should examine and bring back to their employers. There are no provisions to indicate employment or wages that are regulated under a locksmith license. This new occupational requirement certainly adds more worth according to those promoting licensing, so why should that worth not translate into a benefit for the employee in a wage increase?
That fact is many locksmith employees are being exploited and are underpaid. Although many businesses offer incentives or a sales bonus, many simply do not pay their employees to scale even when they are billing out at prevailing wage. The employees who are now being forced to maintain an occupational license are being cheated and should see their wages increased immediately.
Rumor has it that one locksmith owner petitioned an industry trade magazine to stop posting help wanted ads that reflected the hourly wage being offered. He was upset that his staff was reading these want ads and seeing that other companies were offering far more then he was and he did not want these employees learning that they had better opportunities elsewhere. If this person was actually paying a fair wage, he would not have to worry about his employees leaving his employment!
Compare your wage and post them here! You can send them to the SOPL and we can post it for you if you desire anonymity for fear of retaliation from your employer.
Learn more about your rights from the National Labor Relations Board.
Do you think employees of a licensed locksmith business should receive higher wages or prevailing wage?
Let's hear from you!
In recent months someone in NY State attempted to sneak through one of those "model" locksmith licensing bills. The same "models" that have caused damage to many hardworking locksmiths in other states. The excuses being used to push this agenda by a minority group are all over the map. The most recent excuses is that licensing will stop what has been reported as scams against the consumers.
The facts show that in the states where locksmiths have been licensed, that it has had zero impact on stopping any scams and has only served to harm the hardworking locksmiths who have done nothing wrong. The Society of Professional Locksmiths and other educated professionals intervened in the NY Assembly review of these model bills. The NYS Assembly killed these bills after being educated to the facts and hidden agendas of those supporting them.
During this intervention a proposal was presented that addressed a solution to the concerns of consumer protection and identifying the Good Actors (locksmiths) and the Bad Actors (undocumented foreign nationals posing as locksmith). The identity issue was presented since it was being used as the latest excuse of the day justifying the need for licensing and continued education requirements. I never understood how identifying a person had much to do with continuing education until I examined the source of the excuse, who has a financial stake in forcing such regulations. At the end of the day, and after listening to all the nonsense random excuses used to see which will stick, the only one that is relevant is the idea of identification.
Every Good Actor is willing to identify themselves. Bad Actors hide in the dark and those who hide in the dark do so for evil purposes. Ask any person who desires to be a locksmith or participate in this industry and they will be more then willing to come forward and identify themselves as such. Bad Actors won't do this. So the solution to all the craziness is pretty easy and cost effective. So much so that several NYS Assemblymen/women got it and backed off the damaging licensing act others were trying to pass. But as always the misinformed chest beaters are once again giving it a 3rd try.
Luckily, the proposal that the Society made to those educated individuals in NY seems to be getting traction and there are similar proposals surfacing around the country.
Texas for example there is actually an opportunity for the locksmiths to make recommendations to change the existing law. Can you imagine? The Good Actors are being given a chance to change things only after they took a kick in the teeth and many suffered. But this is an opportunity so it should be taken and taken seriously. If the locksmiths of Texas do not participate and do not engage this shot at fixing the things that are harming them, then shame on them and they will deserve what they get.
A locksmith in Texas by the name of T.F. Stern has put out the word on such an opportunity. After receiving an email from a attorney with the Institute for Justice, he began to alert other locksmiths in the state. "T.F." is a retired City of Houston police officer, self-employed Texas Locksmith License B12254, and gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings , has been up and at it since January of 2005. He is also the Senior Editor of the The Moral Liberal – www.moralliberal.com
The Society of Professional Locksmiths supports Mr. Stern’s observations and recommendations regarding costs, continuing education, and simplicity. In addition the SOPL supports his recommendation to participate in shaping future legislation as pertain to the locksmith industry. He suggests sending recommended changes in policies which regulate locksmith licensing in the State of Texas to The Texas Red Tape Challenge, a project arm of House Government Efficiency & Reform Committee, which will accept suggestions from all members of the locksmith industry until July 31, 2012.
The Society of Professional Locksmiths National Solution
The Society of Professional Locksmiths proposes a “registration” of companies and individuals engaged in the locksmith industry and or related sales/services. The Society does not endorse licensing or regulations that place undue burdens and/or unjustifiable requirements on members of the trade. We believe this solution provides a much more reasonable and effective solution for everyone.
It is our position that "registration" will be accepted by the locksmiths, particularly if it provides registration for anyone and everyone who possesses the tools and equipment, practices the skills, or are individuals involved in the locksmith industry, and those who provide related services. This requires everyone from a student in the craft, retirees, hobbyists to business owners, their staff, and other service and retail companies to come forward and register with State Consumer Protection agencies and be identified and listed in an accessible database. No exception or exemptions. A reasonable fee can be included for this registry to cover the cost of maintaining these records not to exceed the current charges applied for individuals applying for a driver’s license or renewal of a driver’s license.
When you analyze just how many locksmiths are in any given state, the cost to support actual licensing enforcement or compliance does not make sense, and is not self-supporting over the long run. This will become a burden on our already struggling state budgets. Registration, as the Society is presenting, would remedy this and encompass many more individuals who currently operate without oversight under current licensing exemptions. This type of registration can easily be implemented and accelerated through every state DMV that has already confirmed identity and photo identification.
Drivers Licenses can quickly be marked to provide such verification. A “code” included on that document, no different then a code for having correctional lenses or a code to indicate the ability to operate a motorcycle. This would save the states considerable expense and simplify implementation of this proposal while reducing paperwork.
The idea of demanding a certain level of education is subjective, and the state consumer protection agencies are more interested in knowing who is who, than trying to handle the broad spectrum of skill sets that the marketplace dictates. The registration can also serve as a resource for the residents of each state to locate a person in the craft by county and registered status. State consumer protection officials could then offer an actual webpage which identifies who is "registered" and it would become more relevant than the current gaming of the internet search engines, yellow pages, etc.
The Society of Professional Locksmiths has spoken with several locksmiths across the country and they agree that a reasonable "registration" is far more beneficial than licensing that has been proven to be a failure, and particularly when it has been shown that the existing “model” of legislation used in several states has had a negative effect on businesses and their bottom line.
Tom Lynch, CRL