Salary-VS-Hourly $ 15.00 hr (50 hrs+) Salary with bonus??? hard decision

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I have been woodworking since 1986 in large and small firms. ( 2 - 85 employees) and have been offered an "upgrade" to a salaried position in a form where I am unsure of how bad things will get.
points without order cause I am fuzzy headed after a 13 hour day (normal) where the last hour was the "we are not making money the last 2 months and things are getting worse" speech along with the "I invite you to join the salaried and become one of the '5' and we will get rid of the 'helpers' as we do 800,000.00 of work before xmass.....
1. Owner of company seems to promote a mixed message.... a. will ask "How are you doing" without stopping as he walks by without stopping, but looks you in the eye. b. will not allow paychecks to be handed out until 5:31 on Payday even though payroll is for the 2dn and 3rd week back. c. workday is 7:00 am till 5:30 6 days with hour for lunch but whimsical overtime is mandatory (whimsical being no notice). 2. All of the salary workers (3) are appearantly unsatasfied because they are paid less that many of the 'workers' because they are not paid for overtime and have few if any benifits and are in fear of losing thier positions at anytime because the boss is fickle and irresponsible in his dealings with customers and vendors. 3. Currently the business does not seem to know if it is a door manufacturing facility or a cabinet factory. 4. Spray Booth is a Joke..... hole cut in wall with a Borg roll around floor fan screwed into hole and 'spraybooth' seperated by other area with a blue tarp screwed to rafters.... and 32 foot of flourscent lighting per 1,000 foot of space. 5. $ 150,000 edge bander and $ 20,000 scmi sliding table saw with a $ 12,000 Startech assembly drilling station and 1, 9.6 volt makita drill that works (1 battery( may be another but no one knows where)) and then a few other tools.... mostly 5 shaper heads, sander (singlebelt (needs help)), a couple specialty items,,, face frame table and single had pocket hole machine.... few tools are sort og new... shopfox 'tm bandsaw (large toy) 20'ish planer and a williams and hussey moulder (another toy). Big point is a few mid-high end tools and a few hand tools with a bunch of home version tools in the middle. 6. when I started there was; a. Owner (2 years~) b. Designer ( 2 years ~) c. Cad man (1 year ~) d. Foreman~ (1.5 years) e. Shop manager ( 6 months) f. Apprentice (3 months) and a handful of 1 - 2 month guys most are gone now........ within a week of my hire there were 16 total and now there are 15 but we will lose 6 on monday. 7. 1 month ago I was told that if I cut 6k per day of cabinetry for 5 days in a week I would get a $ 100.00 bonus..... this has not happened but then I have not made an issue to more than 2 of the 3 that made that offer to me. 8. Days will now go by where we have to get something out that is promised TODAY even though 'the shop' has not seen plans for such an item and there is no material to cot that item out of often because (I am told "we owe that supplier money") but we will send a driver on a 6 hour trip to get material from a new vendor 3 states away that will arrive at 4:00 PM on a friday.... "gotta be here saturday cause this is a RUSH". 9. Front shop is no smoking but paint room / Door shop is ok to smoke as long as you put it out when you see the boss..... so there are several people who find a need to "run to the back" so often we are not sure if they are comming or going at all times. 10. I believe in equal pay for work of equal value but do not see that in place.
There is no one - two or three year plan that I can see and only a hastly formatted green and brown bar graph to say that 'we are losing money'
I work the numbers and see that the $ 30,000 per week with 800,000 by years end is just not possible no way no how...
I am trying to get over how upset that I am that I am asked to become salary when as a hourly I only get a single day off and am expected to work all but sinday, xmass and possibly easter off (thank gawds that is on a sunday).
how can work in a cabinet shop be measured while still straying from a hierarchical managment structure that is fair, pays well and promotes success and a feeling of success?
Managment has decided to outsource door and drawer fronts and just build box's...... there does not seem to be goals (does "make money" count?)
Strategy is offer the moon .... deliver the cabinets at 75% for the draw and then scrabble to make up the rest when already overloaded with all the other dramas.
I am looking for guidance on how to negociate my best working deal cause I want to spend time with family, boat, cats, computer and not be a zonbie from just the average 70+ workweek....... even though the boss tells stories about his old job where he averaged 120 hour weeks,,,
Kevin Wade lost in Florida
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Snip

He is in over his head with problems.

Unfortunately this is necessary in many shops as almost always at least one employee will take off immediately to cash that check.

That good part about the over time when you are an hourly worker is that you should be paid overtime. If you go as a saleried employee, the over time pay will disappear.

That can happen, I once worked for a LARGE automobile dealer ship and I had a mechanic that made more money than the owner. The mechanic was of course paid by the hour. The flip side of that coin is that you get the same pay day in and day out even during the slow times if you are a salaried employee.

From all the information above, you have painted a picture of a business that is not long for this world. I would star puttin gfeelers out for another job. I think you see the writing on the wall.
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says...

My $0.02 and probably worth less:
1. It appears that you are working for a company that is either at, or near bankruptcy from the description you give of equipment, pay policy, and vendor blacklisting. This company has a serious cash-flow problem and is attempting to enforce heroic efforts on the part of its employees to postpone a reckoning. You have to decide how much you are willing to sacrifice for something you don't own and will not share in any rewards.
2. Despite the boss indicating that he worked 120 hour weeks in the past, he's claiming to have worked 7 days at over 17 hours per day. How long did he do that? I would guess he did so in expectation of certain rewards, what rewards are you being offered to make such heroic sacrifices? This is not being greedy, lazy, or self-centered. You are the only person who is going to care about your career growth and opportunities, you need to assess whether what you are being offered is worth the sacrifice it is going to take to get it. You also need to factor any promised rewards in light of item #1 above; from your description of conditions, be very wary of any long-term reward promises, it sounds doubtful that this business will be in place long enough to provide more than your last paycheck, if that, when it goes belly-up.
3. Being converted from non-exempt to exempt. Unless your job responsibilities are changing significantly, this seems to be a potential fair-labor standards act violation (note, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I have been associated with these types of issues where I work) -- there may be sufficient wiggle-room however for this to be a valid change in status.
4. You indicate that you believe the conversion to salaried is being done to avoid having to pay overtime. i.e. you are going to be "donating" 30 hours per week to this business enterprise if you continue to work 70 hour weeks. You have a couple of ways to approach this if you are given any choices at all and are not simply being offered a straight take-it or leave it choice. First, you can figure how much you are currently making at the 70 hour per week rate you are doing now, determine how much of that amount you can ask for, determine whether any benefits are also being forfeited and add those to your salary demand (you indicate the salaried workers are not drawing benefits, do you as an hourly worker get benefits while they do not? If so, you need to determine how much it is going to cost you to make up this amount). A second possible approach would be to accept the salary you are offered, but negotiate how much overtime is "casual" overtime to be uncompensated (where I work, it is 8 hours); any amount of time over that "casual" overtime (and typically including that casual overtime after you hit the threshold) is to be compensated at straight salary levels (i.e. you won't get time and a half, but you will be compensated for those extra hours at your regular salary).
5. Decide whether you would be better off walking away. You might meet all of this employer's demands and still wind up having it go belly-up -- especially if it is as poorly managed as you indicate. You might have to relocate, you may have to find a different career path, only you know what limits your mobility.
Good luck to you, this is not an easy situation with which to have to deal.
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Kevin Wade asks:
snip of absolute horror story

Start job hunting. Your boss is full of shit (a common failing), and the company is teetering.
Charlie Self
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain
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Kevin, I have one word for you Quit, Find another Job and find it fast, I have been in and around woodworking & business for 48 years. I have been where your boss i, and he is in a hole and all the walls are covered with oil he will never get out,
I can say a hundred things and tell you a hundred storie's about your situation and what you are seing The main thing as i read your post is that i was wondering if you were in another country, Maybe Florida has some weird labor laws, but this guy is breaking so many Federal labor laws it is pathetic.
I see nothing wrong with him trying to hold his company together with lack or failing equipment as long as they do not put someone in harms way, Neccesity is the mother of invention.
Game playing is bad everywhere in life, Hustling cash flow is an art, one that is not taught in schools other than the school of hard knocks.
Nothing wrong in outsourcing its the way most companies operate nowaday. I make a lot of my own doors, i am a custon shop and generally add that little something that you just won't find anywhere, give me acut and dried raised panel door and it is cheaper for me to buy them from a door company that does nothing but, an average red oak raised door cost me about 10.00 per sq.ft. and the good part is i have not given up any quality.
I from what you wrote I thought that your boss was just having a rough time in a hard economy, I say stop your bitching a show some loyality, This is a rough business even when times are good. But as I said this guy is in a hole so deep there is now way he can get out, as they say the writing is on the wall.
Most vendors will still ship to you if you get behind, they will ship to you COD and 10% of your back bill, they do not like it but they really do not want to see you go under and loose what you completly. No company can make overtime mandantory, IT is criminaly illegal. Uncle Sam says that even salaried people have to have there salary based on a set amount of hours and after that you get paid extra.
The other reasons are the best reason for leaving there, You are not happy there for one, to me if you are not happy at your job then you are not giving it your best, and your best is what your boss deserves under any conditions. The other is the hours, tell your boss 120 hours a week is nothing to what i used to do, I was a true down and out workaholic and trust me when I say that is just as bad as a herion addict, or an alcoholic.
Best wishes and Good Luck George

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FWIW, I am an attorney who works in this area of law and want to correct a few of George's misstatements: 1. There is nothing illegal about requiring mandatory OT so long as the employer compensates for it as required by law. If you don't want to work it, you can refuse. 2. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), an employer is not required to pay a lawfully salaried employee additional OT compensation after the agreed upon base number of hours. 3. Most importantly, given the work you describe, there is no way you could lawfully be classified as a salary-exempt employee under the FLSA. The U.S. Department of Labor or its Florida equivalent can help you.
George M. Kazaka wrote:

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Yep, lawyer all right. In the first sentance you say that an emplyer can mandate overtime. In the next sentance, you say it is volentary. If we average your two statements, one would have to conclude that you really don't know. Thank you for sharing your lack of knowledge with us. It was totally uninformative.
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Man speak with forked tong. ;~)

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Yes, and we'd also have to conclude that I can't spell.

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snipped-for-privacy@horatio.agresource.com () wrote in message wrote:

You left out at least one critical word up there.
However, you are incorrect if you believe that 'exempt salaried' people cannot be paid bonuses for additional work, or required to work specific hours etc. 'Exempt' means simply that they are doing work that is exempt from Federal Wage and Hour laws. There is nothing that prohibits the company from applying all of the FAVORABLE provisions of Federal wage and hour law to them. IF the company applies certain unfavorable provisions, like docking their pay for working less than 40 hours/week then the company looses the exemption. Ditto if the company assigns them to do more than 20 hours of nonexempt work a week and so on.

Non-exempt may be hourly or salaried.

Indeed.
Sure, they can fire you, but they can;t make you work.

Not necessarily. There are fifty states and the District of Columbia each with their own laws and legal prececents. The Federal Labor laws all allow states to provide workers with more favorable laws.
A person who redufes to work a 40 hour shift, or who refuses to come to work while his wife is giving birth etc etc may have some recourse. See an attorney for any real case.

No they can't. They can fire one for not working overtime but they can't make him work. A similar argument applies to the payment of Federal Income tax. The Feds can't make you pay, but they can take your maoney and put you in jail.
--

FF

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Thanks. But a salaried employee may be exempt or non-exempt, right? If non-exempt and required to work OT, that employee must be paid at time-and-a-half for that OT, right? A slaried-exempt employee has no such legal guarantee of overtime pay, right? Further, an exemption cannot be claimed for an hourly employee, right?

Yes, but that help might get teh shop shut down entirely. That might be a good thing to have happen before the OSHA violations result in loss of life.
--

FF

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100% correct.

For any work over 8 hours in one day, *or* 40 hours in the week, *YES*
Example: if you put in 5 12-hour days, you're entitled to time-and-a-half for the last 4 hours of the 1st three days, *AND* everything after the first 4 hours on the 4th day. Thus, out of 60 hours actually worked, you're earning 'straight time' for 28 of them, and time-and-a-half for 32 of them.

For an *exempt* employee, _regardless_ of how they are paid, that is correct. An hourly exempt, however, is guaranteed the hourly rate for _all_ hours worked.

Being paid hourly does -not- automatically make you 'non-exempt'. Again, *EVERYTHING* depends on the actual job duties. *That* is what determines whether the job is 'exempt' or not. In broad, "exempt" is management, "professional" and/or some "technical" staff positions. Rank-and-file "labor", including 1st-level 'supervisory' positions, is _almost_always_ the 'non-exempt' category.
If you _are_ paid hourly, there are other sections of Federal Labor law that require that you be paid that hourly wage (at least) for *all* hours worked. E.g., *even*if* "exempt", but paid hourly, they have to pay "straight time", at least, for _all_ hours worked. It *IS* illegal for them to require an 'exempt' _hourly_ employee to put in "unpaid overtime". However, an exempt hourly employee is -not- "entitled" to time-and-a-half, or any other 'differential' (holiday, night, week-end, etc.) for excess work. Caveat: if employer has a practice of paying any such differentials to _any_ such 'exempt' hourly persons, they must do the same for *all* such exempt hourly persons.

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After being away from the group for a couple of years, I have just been poking through the last 30,000 messages or so, and was reminded of David Marks, whose program appears in our area at an hour I try never to see on Saturday morning. His Web site shows a lot of work spectacularly decorated with patinated silver and copper leaf. (If this is what he does on TV, I'll have to get up earlier, Saturday or no!) Does anyone know how he achieves those effects? Can anyone point me to a how-to or other source of information? I would love to be able to try this on some of my own "work." At the moment, it would be more wasteful than gilding a pukey duck, but my skill level pretty much has to come up eventually.
Thanks.
Owen Davies
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We don't get any of his ww programming anymore on cable and I'm not sure DIY is taping any more of his stuff. I do some metal patina stuff and broke down and bought his gilding/patina tape he describes on his site. On the tape he shows how he makes the patinated silver and copper. The woman he 'coauthored' with on the tape adds very little and Marks, essentially, goes over the same processes again in more detail. It might be questionable whether the $65 I spent was worth it..I dunno. Larry
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Lawrence L'Hote
Columbia, MO
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You must be seeing him on HGTV. He's on 8 times a week on DIY network. While the network is mostly worthless as far as other woodworking programs go, David Marks is definitely a must-watch.
His show page on DIY's web site has lots of details. In at least one, he's explained how he treats copper (gauze saturated with the appropriate 'stuff', seal the whole thing up in a garbage bag, and wait).
The projects on his show tend to be just a little tamer than what's on his personal website. Here's the link to his show:
<http://www.diytv.com/diy/shows_wwk/0,2044,DIY_14350,00.html
Kevin
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Thanks, Larry and Kevin. I was really taken with his work, but too pressed for time to check out the program or product pages. I'll go back and see what he offers.
Owen Davies
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On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 21:02:01 GMT, "Owen Davies"

Don't you have a bloody VCR, dude?
If you haven't been to http://diynet.com/ , go and take a look at their info (search for "woodworks") and links to David's site.
------------------------------------------------------- Have you read the new book "What Would Machiavelli Do?" ---------------------------- http://diversify.com Dynamic, Interactive Websites! --------------------------------------------------------
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Larry Jaques reasonably asked:

Two or three of them. Unfortunately, unlike computers, which in something over 20 years have rarely given me trouble I couldn't handle, I have never been able to program a VCR reliably. Half the time, I can't even get the %&#*!!! things to record something when I'm sitting there with them, much less on a delay.
Owen Davies
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;~) LOL... Then you would not want to watch David Marks anyway as his stuff is more complicated than a VCR.
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Leon courteously, but erroneously, wrote:

WADR, if it's made of wood, it can't be more complicated than a VCR.
Actually, for me not much is. In years now long past, I repaired my Vector Graphics System B with circuit diagrams, a chip handbook, and a soldering iron (absent-mindedly turned off my state-of-the-art Hayes 300 baud modem before shutting down the computer); debugged RS-232 ports; and wrote my own stock-charting program in Gee-Whiz Basic. (I also walked miles to school uphill in both directions.) I don't know whether it's what passes for a "user interface," the crappy manuals, or some odd blind spot in my own mental processes, but none of those chores was as hard as getting a VCR to work properly on the timer. (Configuring Linux did come close; next time, I buy one of the consumer-oriented versions.) I can set them up blindfolded; I just can't use them.
Owen Davies
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