American Experience
Early Years: Pivotal Decisions
Pivotal Decisions: Higher Wages or a Better Classification?

You chose Choice Three, which is what actually happened. Dr. Blalock looked for more money for Thomas.

"[Blalock said] he didn't know anything about it, but would talk to Miss Alford about it. Several paydays later, both James and I received increases that put our salaries a little more in line with at least one other technician. We never knew or inquired whether we were reclassified or whether they just decided to give us more money to keep us quiet. We were aware that higher classification did not of necessity guarantee us a higher salary but, as individuals, we decided to take the chance, and it produced the desired results."
                    -- Vivien Thomas, in his autobiography


For the work Thomas has taken on in Blalock's lab, he should be compensated more fairly.
With more money, Thomas can better provide for his family.
Thomas will remain a key player in Blalock's surgical shock research and he won't need to look for other work.
Dr. Blalock will not have to argue for a revision of university policy to get more money.


Blalock still can't offer as much as Thomas could make as a carpenter, meaning Thomas will remain unsatisfied.
Even with more money, Thomas will still be considered a janitor by the university.
It will be a strain on the already small laboratory budget to give Thomas a raise.

See choices again