Paid volunteers....what do you all think? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-14-2005, 08:45 AM
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I bring this up, because my husband's Aunt and Uncle dropped everything here at home, to go to the devistated areas down south to help out. Uncle Jerry is part of the Coast Guard Auxilary (whatever that means) Him and Auntie M decided they wanted to help out, so the Coast Guard Auxilary sent them somewhere to get training, and then sent them to TN where FEMA has a facility set up. What Aunt and Uncle do, is sit down with families and get them into the system, because if they aren't in the system, they get nothing from FEMA. They have been humbled by their experience, and are extending their 30 day stay to a 60 day stay...and possibly longer.

In discussing what is going on with their volunteering, I find out that FEMA is paying them $24 an hour, plus setting them up in a Marriott Hotel. They get a car for transportation, AND a credit card (on top of their salary) for all of their expenses.

Now....Auntie M and Uncle Jerry are VERY well off. They live in a 1.7 million dollar home, they both drive Mercedes, they vacation all over the world....$24 an hour is a drop in the bucket for them...really. Aunti M is retired, and Jerry is about to retire as well....so baiscally what I'm saying is, they don't NEED the income....and I know that is not the reason they went.

What I'm bothered by is this.......Why set volunteers up in a Marriott, when they can be set up in a Super 8 for half the price. I believe a car is neccessary, but a credit card on top of a salary that many people can only DREAM of having.....and to me, PAID VOLUNTEER is such an oxymoron. If people are going to *volunteer* their services, why are they getting paid a *salary*? I can see setting them up in a hotel, giving them a rental car, and even giving them an allowance for incidentals...but a salary seems ridiculous to me....it seems that money can be better spent on the relief efforts.
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#2 Old 10-14-2005, 08:55 AM
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because you're talking about the government.



duh.
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#3 Old 10-14-2005, 09:13 AM
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Personally I don't think that any position that's "paid" is volunteer... although it could be called "volunteer" since they can't list them as a job reference.



Or maybe they can, but I wouldn't think so at least... as activities, or other things, but not a reference. Maybe that's the reason for the difference.
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#4 Old 10-14-2005, 09:14 AM
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I think the term "paid volunteers" is an oxymoron...
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#5 Old 10-14-2005, 10:11 AM
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I was truly under the impression that anyone going to volunteer had to provide entirely for themselves. Hmmmm
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#6 Old 10-14-2005, 12:44 PM
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i think it is good that the volunteers are "paid" and get to stay in a quality place to live.



first, if they weren't paid, many people could not go down to help out. secondly, why should they have to stay someplace unsafe? maybe marriot is high end, but i would rather that than the super8.



maybe the extra credit card, and $24/hr is a little much (altho i don't know the tasks they are assigned to do)...



but i think the principal of paying them/ taking care of their living expenses while down there is a good idea.
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#7 Old 10-14-2005, 03:26 PM
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a little much? lol.



that's 3 times my starting salary.



It's wasteful government spending at it's worst. Volunteers ha!
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#8 Old 10-14-2005, 04:41 PM
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does that mean that they're paid too much, or that you're paid too little?
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#9 Old 10-14-2005, 04:48 PM
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Did they know they were going to be paid before they volunteered? If so, I'm not really sure it could be called "volunteering." It's good that they're helping out though.
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#10 Old 10-14-2005, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
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Did they know they were going to be paid before they volunteered? If so, I'm not really sure it could be called "volunteering." It's good that they're helping out though.



I'm sure they knew they were getting paid....but their "position" is actually called "Paid Volunteer"......like I said, they aren't doing this for the money, they don't *need* it....but damn!!! $24 an hour is A LOT of money. My husband works for a great company, he works his tail off, and is only making $18 an hour....and that's his salary after 6 years of working with this company in the aerospace industry. He isn't underpaid for his position either.
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#11 Old 10-14-2005, 05:26 PM
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does that mean that they're paid too much, or that you're paid too little?

too much. They should be paid a "living stipend". Since housing is paid for an appropriate living stipend would be around, lets say $1.56/hour.
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#12 Old 10-14-2005, 05:33 PM
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Uhm.. so how did they go about becoming "paid volunteers"? Just out of curiosity, of course..
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#13 Old 10-14-2005, 06:18 PM
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too much. They should be paid a "living stipend". Since housing is paid for an appropriate living stipend would be around, lets say $1.56/hour.



oh, ok.
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#14 Old 10-14-2005, 07:00 PM
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I think you all are missing the point here.



They are volluntering to do a job that pays. They were not recruited.



Anyway I wish that i had volluntered to work hurricane relief. Sometimes when i am sitting in ym office during the day I wonder what I am doing to impact the world. I think that they could bring any recently graduated architect to come in and do the same thing i do.
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#15 Old 10-14-2005, 07:02 PM
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$1.56 dollars an hour?



$12.48 a day? Yeah they can eat easily on that....



YOu expect people to work for nothing? People are doing this to make a difference in the world. Odds are they are putting their life on hold and could have easily left a job that paid well to do this.



But hell make them work for $1.56 an hour....
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#16 Old 10-14-2005, 07:23 PM
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I think you all are missing the point here.



They are volluntering to do a job that pays. They were not recruited.



Anyway I wish that i had volluntered to work hurricane relief. Sometimes when i am sitting in ym office during the day I wonder what I am doing to impact the world. I think that they could bring any recently graduated architect to come in and do the same thing i do.



I didn't even think of that Mikey! I know they are doing this out of concern for others, and they have put their lives on hold to do this. They are enjoying the work they are doing...I totally respect my Aunt and Uncle for volunteering, I wasn't trying to judge them at all. I was just a bit perpelexed at the amount they are being paid, on top of having all of their expenses paid, and being put up in a high end hotel.
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#17 Old 10-14-2005, 07:46 PM
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Gee, Frenchie, I'm a little confused by your post, because you seem to be raising several different issues at once.



1) The semantics of "paid volunteer." Maybe that is oxymoronic; maybe not. If FEMA could fill all those positions with qualified people for those wages and benefits, just on the basis of the "market" attractiveness of those wages and benefits, then maybe it would be wrong to call them volunteers. But if the only way FEMA could fill those positions was due to the compassion, patriotism or altruism of the job applicants PLUS the wages and benefits, then I would say that it is appropriate to call them volunteers, because a large part of their motivation is altruistic. But I think the semantics could be argued either way.



2) The issue of rules and standard wages for jobs. Basically, jobs--particularly government jobs--are classified and paid at certain rates. Wages are not "individually tailored" to the needs or financial backgrounds of the employees. So, I see nothing wrong with your relatives being paid the standard rate for their work, even if they don't "need" the money.



3) The issue of "temporary" vs. "permanent" compensation. Your relatives are making 4x per hour while your husband is making 3x per hour. But your relatives are at a temporary job, while your husband is at a permanent job--at least as permanent as jobs can realistically be (you said he was there 6 years). Would a rational person really leave a normal, full-time job for a 33 percent increase in hourly pay if he knew the job was only likely to last 30 to 60 days, or maybe at best 6 months? Would a reasonable person relocate for such a temporary job? I don't know, but comparing a temporary job to a permanent one is like comparing apples and oranges. (To say nothing of the value of the non-salary benefits that your husband may be getting like health coverage, pension plan participation, etc.)



4) The issue of whether the wages and benefits are too high in general (leaving your relatives out of this, for the time being). I don't know the answer to that question. It does not really strike me as being outrageously high if the FEMA hirees are really helping the displaced appropriately. Maybe I'm jaded, but I live in a state capital city where I've walked into government offices only to have the government employee hastily close down the "Solitaire" game he had been playing on his computer before I walked in; had employees sit around and do the cross-word puzzle rather than help me, and many more horror stories about "do nothing" jobs, etc. If the FEMA hirees are really working and doing their jobs during this national emergency, then I don't feel its necessary to quarrel with their wages and benefits. That's just my personal feeling or opinion.
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#18 Old 10-14-2005, 07:55 PM
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Its business as usual for a currupt Govt.



They should be given the choice of being compensated, but the pay should be accpetable but not excessive. Especially when the tax payers are footing the bill.



The fleecing of America.
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#19 Old 10-14-2005, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyVT View Post

$1.56 dollars an hour?



$12.48 a day? Yeah they can eat easily on that....



YOu expect people to work for nothing? People are doing this to make a difference in the world. Odds are they are putting their life on hold and could have easily left a job that paid well to do this.



But hell make them work for $1.56 an hour....



Actually as I was driving to the store I was thinking about this, and thought that $20 to $25/day would be more reasonable for a humanitarian volunteer position.



I know when I did AmeriCorps 6 years ago I was paid $3.75/hour but room and board was not included in the arrangement. We were expected to (and told to) live in poverty. (However after a year of service I was given an education grant worth $800 before taxes).
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#20 Old 10-14-2005, 10:20 PM
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I was paid $18/hr + meals + travel allowance for the oil spill clean up. I worked harder then I ever have in my life. Many days I came home and couldn't make it down the stairs without help. Some days I just slept on the sofa upstairs because I could not walk down the stairs and no one was home to help me.



If they are doing the work I was doing + added in the chance of seeing dead people, they are volunteers and being paid basic money for what they are doing.
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#21 Old 10-15-2005, 12:25 AM
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I was paid $18/hr + meals + travel allowance for the oil spill clean up. I worked harder then I ever have in my life. Many days I came home and couldn't make it down the stairs without help. Some days I just slept on the sofa upstairs because I could not walk down the stairs and no one was home to help me.



If they are doing the work I was doing + added in the chance of seeing dead people, they are volunteers and being paid basic money for what they are doing.

Well said...you worked harder then you ever have in your life and perhaps harder then most of us in this thread at our current jobs and yet some find it unreasonable that you or any volunteer in such conditions be compensated.
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#22 Old 10-15-2005, 12:41 AM
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And having many stressful office jobs in my time (including one where if I screwed up, someone could die) -- nothing came even close to the clean up job I did. I just cannot compare what I did in an office to this. Dead animals, injured animals, dead plants, oil everywhere, layers upon layers of protective equipment in 33 C degree weather, then in 0 C degree weather thigh-high in water.



Trust me, it was volunteer work
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#23 Old 10-15-2005, 12:50 AM
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I'd have no problem with my tax dollars going towards something like that as people should be adequately compensated for their time and efforts. But I think they could scale the accomodation perks down a little, I don't think the Marriott is really necessary.



And just being nosey, I wonder how much the limit was on the credit card they got? I like to think it wouldn't be more than about $500.
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#24 Old 10-15-2005, 05:25 PM
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In reality, I doubt the government, any government really, could afford to have hundreds/thousands of individuals on the payroll (it'd ad up quick... 60K/day would be easily hit for it) just for "standby" in the event of an emergency. But they'd have to in order to keep the people from doing other work, otherwise they'd not have them when needed. Even with military personnel, it hits some companies hard when they'll called away, and that's even with notice.



At the same time... I've known individuals working in jobs that had a "someone with me now, I'll be at his/her funeral by the end of the job" position... and they only made about $12/hr.
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#25 Old 10-15-2005, 07:03 PM
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I'd have no problem with my tax dollars going towards something like that as people should be adequately compensated for their time and efforts. But I think they could scale the accomodation perks down a little, I don't think the Marriott is really necessary.



And just being nosey, I wonder how much the limit was on the credit card they got? I like to think it wouldn't be more than about $500.

i know that marriott is supposed to be some upscale hotel but I've stayed at a few in my time and they weren't that great and probably $50 more a night then a normal hotel. All I had was room with a bed or two and a bathroom and maybe a mini fridge. I doubt volunteers stay in the honey moon suite. One main difference could be the location. The super 8's I've stayed in weren't always in the best part of town, didn't have security and that could be dangerous so I can understand the choice. Also, maybe there's some kind of contract between marriott and the gov for discounted prices in exchange for tax breaks etc.
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#26 Old 10-16-2005, 08:04 PM
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paid volunteer = oxymoron
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#27 Old 10-16-2005, 08:29 PM
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paid volunteer = oxymoron

At first glance thats certainly what it looks like. When I volunteer I usually get to live in my house, take care of my pets and plants, go about my daily routine. I usually only volunteer 5 or 6 hours a week. When someone has to leave their home and go to another state they dont have their life anymore. They are volunteering 24/7 for months. So one way to look at it is, these people are certainly volunteering their time, just not all of it, which I think is reasonable. Do you spend 24/7 volunteering at what ever organization you volunteer at? Probably not.
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