Sunday, December 4, 2016
CLIPPED FROM A WASHPOST STEVEN PEARLSTEIN COLUMN:
Under Trump, red states are finally going to be able to turn themselves into poor, unhealthy paradise
By Steven Pearlstein December 4 at 9:34 AM
TO BUTTRESS MY ASSERTION THAT STATES CAN FILL IN FOR MISSING FEDERAL SANCTIONS AGAINST UNION BUSTING:
"If the Trump administration makes good on its promise to pull back on environmental regulation, states can step up their own regulation of power plant emissions and oil and gas drilling. To combat climate change, they could impose a refundable carbon tax or, as California has done, create a cap and trade system for carbon emissions.
"If Republicans repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, many of those same regulations could be written into state law, either by legislatures or by state banking, securities and insurance regulators and consumer protection agencies. Taking a page from Louis Brandeis and the Progressive era, states could also provide incentives for the creation of state-chartered mutual banks, insurance and investment companies, financial institutions that are owned by their customers. The few mutuals that still exist offer competitive products and superior service at lower cost, all of it with less risk that the Wall Street mega-firms have turned finance into a head-I-win, tails-you-lose casino.
"Nobody expects a Republican Congress and White House will move to increase the federal minimum wage but there is nothing to prevent states from raising theirs. Nor is there anything preventing states from restoring within their borders many of the workers rights that the Republican Congress and President-elect Donald Trump are poised to eliminate.
"And if the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission give the all-clear signal for corporate mega-mergers, as you can expect they will, attorney generals from blue states can ban together to file federal and state antitrust suits to block them. The attorney generals could also take a page from the playbook of the Chamber of Commerce and other conservative activists and use of the federal courts to try endlessly delay or block regulatory actions or repeals proposed by the Trump administration."
Our US labor market is the only market where market muscle can be used with impunity to squeeze the other side in the bargaining even though such is officially recognized in law as illegal (NLRB lacks enforcement power). Our US labor market is the only modern, first world labor market where union busting happens -- doesn't exist over there or over there as far as I know -- just not in the culture (scabs; what's that?).
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Re: A Job Is More Than a Paycheck -- Dec 2, 2016, By Noah Smith
Life satisfaction = paycheck satisfaction = life satisfaction -- or is it the other way around?
Enter Walmart: the land of $400 paychecks. The mostly American raised employees are embarrassed to work there.
Enter McDonald's: the land of $400 paychecks. The mostly Mexican and Indian employees are happy and vibrant -- they know they are in a tight spot but they could be doing so much worse (in Mexico or India).
Enter taxi world: my former land of $800 a week pay (cash every day) -- and the former land of happy vibrant employees. The now world-wide raised employees are happy and vibrant -- but they know they are in a tight spot.
What happened to my Chicago taxi job?: one 30 cent rise in the mileage rate between 1981 and 1997 -- at which 1990 midpoint Chicago started building subways to both airports, opening up unlimited limos, putting on free trolleys between all the downtown hot spots -- and -- adding 40% more cabs. Since I left San Francisco (1996-2004) the city has doubled the number of taxicabs.
Enter Chicago's south or west sides: be a good idea to wear a bullet proof vest. 100,000 out of my guess 200,000 gang age males have opted out of the $400 paycheck, straight economy.
Go back to 1970 New York. My Teamsters local 804 had just won a contract for $800 a week (adjusted) for furniture warehouse stockmen at 60% of today's per capita income. Today's 804 pulls down more like $1200 a week for UPS driver (occupations with similar heavy strain). Ask Jimmy Hoffa why -- and how.
45% of the US workforce pulls down $600 a week or (a lot) less. The 45% pull in only 10% of overall income.
The next 54% pull in 70%. Top 1% pull 20% -- up from 10% a couple of gens back.
A unionized bottom 45% could (could) squeeze 10% of overall income out of the next 54% by raising prices at Walmart or McDonald's. Take more radical measures for the 99% to squeeze back 10% from the top 1%.
The 99%'s unions wont think twice about resetting the 90% fed income tax on earnings over $2 million, say. Or whatever it takes.
Overall, the money is there -- and so is so much efficiency through reform. Less financialization, less (much less!) pharma price gouging, fewer pro-profit ed ripoffs. Enough union density puts an reform cop on ever corner.
Come to think of it enough unions is the only thing that can clear up the last of the US crime wave: the drug wars on impoverished neighborhoods streets.
The irony that it remains undone is that the path to high union density is as simple as protecting that path from management muscling. The American labor market is the only market we have where unfair market power operates completely unchecked (it is illegal) -- it is the only labor market in the modern, first world as far as I know where management even tries to muscle labor.
Repub Congress not going to add enforcement power to NLRB (love to see mandated elections with a finding of busting). But -- if there were no other labor laws whatsoever -- states could certainly legislate protections of employees in their separate labor markets. Federal preemption should not effect that power (just as states can add to the min wage but not subtract).
Just open up the path for employees to organize a collective bargaining unit if they want to (no more gauntlet) and get out of their way.
Whatever high union density does or does not accomplish in wages and benefits -- union employees will understand they have squeezed the maximum that can be squeezed out of the consumer in the free market = happy and vibrant former gang bangers stacking shelves, hopefully not in too tight a spot.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
None of this below has ever been vetted by the courts -- but no time like now to start -- the workability seems very compelling.
First, (progressive) states can add to federal protections like the minimum wage or safety regulations. Don't know why they could not add to labor organizing protections.
LEGAL dissection: Suppose that the opposite of today there were no federal setup for establishing a collective bargaining unit -- people in the free market established their units ad hoc when and where they were able. Suppose that unlike today that federal law made interfering with establishing a collective bargaining unit a crime. [This reverse combination might do more for labor than today's actual situation -- but I digress.]
Examples of federal fed and state parallel statutes: bank robbery, RICO (33 states), etc. If there were no organizing setup to PREEMPT, there would be no question states could make union busting a crime. With today's fed set up I would still think it perfectly obvious that states merely protecting that setup is not preempting.
Now we add the CONSTITUTIONAL dissection: Given the established First Amendment right to organize (commercial association), the fed cannot setup an exclusive path to collective bargaining if said path is in a permanent blocked condition.
The process of labor organizing is by definition adversarial situation where history in the US (recent decades at least) shows unchecked market power -- MONOPSONY! -- all on one side.
6% union density in private industry -- and it wouldn't even be 6% if they had to start from scratch today -- 6% union density (and dropping) is all proof anybody should ever need that the road to collective bargaining is permanently blocked.
Put at its simplest: the fed cannot preempt something with nothing -- not with a fundamental constitutional right at stake. This should make the open path to states criminalizing union busting doubly unduckable.
Logically IF THE FED CANNOT PREEMPT SOMETHING WITH NOTHING -- if it's difficult to get people to think that any radically new way of doing things is possible -- logically: states should be able to erect their own labor union certification setup UNTIL THE FED REFORMS.
What I'd like to see at the state and eventually federal level is mandated certification elections on a finding of union busting. Simpler, more streamlined than using up law enforcement resources, no businesspersons go to jail (big business more pin-downable than small, just like with discrimination statutes).
In Wisconsin the Republicans force recertification of public employee unions every year -- with 51% of membership required, not just voters. So what's so alien about forcing a certification election with reasonable cause?
Interestingly, California (and maybe others, I don't know) have a separate union certification setup for farm workers only. This is done on the strength of FDR telling Congress that it did not apply to farm workers, probably just to get it through.
6% union density is like 20/10 blood pressure -- it starves every other healthy economic and political process. I am sure that all these stories we see about big pharma making drugs so expensive nobody can use them (think Sovaldi which could eliminate Hep C overnight for the cost of half a billion dollars manufacturing, but Gilead wants 300 billion!), for profit colleges (Trump), trillion in student loans, etc., would never have gotten so bad in the first place if there were anybody minding the store.
David Broder, late dean of the Washington press corps said that when he came to DC fifty years earlier the lobbyists were all union -- the economic cops on the blocks.
10,000 gun homicides in US -- 8,000 gang related. Ever want to stop the shooting in Chicago, $400 jobs will have to start paying $800 AGAIN (my old taxi job, supermarkets -- be nice if regional airline pilots didn't have to take food stamps, answer to the latter is centralized bargaining, look it up). Meantime 100,000 out of my guesstimate 200,000 Chicago gang age males are in street gangs to try to make a living. Only unions will stop the shooting -- absolutely no other way.
Want to ruin Donald's day -- in case that's the only thing that matters to you: actually help poor blacks (who did not vote against) and blue collar whites (who did vote for) -- unlike O and the Clintons who never did anything for either of them; not enough to make their lives promising again anyway.
LABOR UNIONS ARE THEIR ONLY WAY BACK -- AND THE POWER WILL BE ALL THEIRS TO DO IT.
Nobody can stop the march of collective bargaining once progressive states wake up and realize they -- not only -- can but -- only they can -- restore healthy labor union density to our undernourished, moribund democratic process.
PS. Don't be daunted if Repubs force right-to-work nationally. In the German labor market, the platinum standard of labor effectiveness, I don't believe there is a single majority union -- mostly "freeloaders" -- but mostly collectively bargained -- that's the difference.
BUT THE LABOR UNION ROAD IS THE LAST THING ACADEMIC PROGRESSIVES -- INCLUDING BERNIE AND WARREN -- EVER THINK TO TRAVEL. WHAT'S WRONG?
Friday, November 18, 2016
One huge industry where the US seems to be holding its own is manufacture of airliners — namely Boeing …
… or are we? First I saw TV reports that manufacture of the body and wings were being off shored Italy and Japan.
“The final assembly for the Boeing 787 takes place at Boeings’ plant in Everett, Washington. The plant employs a mere 800 to 1,200 staff who are responsible for the final assembly of the major components of the aircraft. As with the Boeing 737, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will have the construction of it’s major components contracted out to manufacturers around the globe.” http://www.modernairliners.com/boeing-787-dreamliner/boeing-787-dreamliner-assembly/
“Subcontracted assemblies included wing manufacture (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan, central wing box) horizontal stabilizers (Alenia Aeronautica, Italy; Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea); fuselage sections (Global Aeronautica, Italy; Boeing, North Charleston, US; Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan; Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita, US; Korean Air, South Korea); passenger doors (Latécoère, France); cargo doors, access doors, and crew escape door (Saab AB, Sweden); software development (HCL Enterprise India); floor beams (TAL Manufacturing Solutions Limited, India); wiring (Labinal, France); wing-tips, flap support fairings, wheel well bulkhead, and longerons (Korean Air, South Korea); landing gear (Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, UK/France); and power distribution and management systems, air conditioning packs (Hamilton Sundstrand, Connecticut, US).” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_787_Dreamliner#Manufacturing_and_suppliers
As with everything, the economic rape of America can only end with the re-constitution of high union density. European labor unions would not tolerate this kind of de-industrialization — they would react politically. 6% unionization in private firms (which wouldn’t even be 6% if it had to start from scratch) is equivalent to 20/10 blood pressure: starving every other healthy process.
Anybody -- everybody?! -- understand that making union busting a felony can be done on a state by progressive state basis — the only open path with Repub control of Congress? Do this or do nothing!
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Anti-wall campaign slogan:
Pink Donald: The Wall (afraid of swarthy skins)
Situation: 12 million illegal immigrants — maybe 2/3 overworked/underpaid Mexicans.
Just think: 1 out of 40 persons among us is an overworked/underpaid Mexican — and it’s all our fault for not spending tens or hundreds of billions of dollars building a Maginot Line barrier to keep them out. Just imagine: we still have time to build the laughing stock of the world. Can’t think of the link but: according to US and Mexican authorities, Mexican emigration to US steadily down for 10 years — one source said by three; the other by ten.
Hundreds of years from now archeologists are going to dig up the ruins of American civilization and find that it was 8 million underpaid/overworked Mexicans who brought everything down.
Friday, November 11, 2016
We can always hope.
What would happen if Donald Trump was impeached?
The Independent – 1 day ago
This guy has such an overactive scurrilous past that a Watergate type Albatross could hang over him his whole term — however short (fingers crossed) that may be.
NBC decides not to air ‘SVU’ episode about President-elect Trump’s rape accusation
Death and Taxes – 1 day ago
Trump Rape Accuser Dismisses Suit [technicality -- unaided by attorney filed under wrong statute -- will be back]
The Daily Beast – 2 days ago
Woman accusing Trump of raping her at 13 cancels her plan to go public [death threats]
The Guardian, Nov 3
With Bloom coming on board Doe appeared – until the press conference fiasco – to have acquired considerable additional legal and media firepower.
The founder and owner of The Bloom Firm, which handles family, civil and criminal cases in California and New York, has in the past sued the Boy Scouts of America and the Los Angeles police department. Bloom hosts a Court TV talkshow and is a legal analyst for NBC News.
. . .
Judge Ronnie Abrams has ordered counsel for Trump and Epstein to appear in his New York district court along with Doe’s legal team for an initial status conference on 16 December. That raises the extraordinary prospect, were Trump to win the election, of counsel for a US president-elect being called into federal court in proceedings relating to allegations of rape of an underage girl.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
As my old Bronx doctor, Seymour Tenzer, put it: "All these histories are bullshit -- I got punched in the chest; that's why I've got a lump."
Trump's victory is down to the disappearance of the $800 job for the $400 job. That subtracted from the vote in the black ghettos – and added to the vote in the white ghettos -- both ghettos being far off the radar screen of academic liberals like Hill and O.
I notice the white ghettos because that is me. My old taxi job (much too old now at 72 3/4) was “in-sourced” all over the world to drivers who would work for remarkably less (than the not so great incomes we native born eked out). Today's low skilled jobs go to native and foreign born who willing to show up for $400 (e.g., since Walmart gutted supermarket contracts). Fast food strictly to foreign born who will show up for $290 a week (min wage $400, 1968 -- when per cap income half today's).
Don't expect the 100,000 out of maybe 200,000 Chicago gang age males to show up for a life time of $400/wk servitude. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gang-wars-at-the-root-of-chicagos-high-murder-rate/
6% union density at private employers = 20/10 BP which starves every healthy process in the social body = disappearance of collective bargaining and its institutional concomitants which supply political funding and lobbying equal to oligarchs plus most all the votes ...
... votes: notice? 45% take 10% of overall income -- 45% earn $15/hr or less -- a lot of votes.
To shore up my usual assertion that states can make union busting a felony (taking same as as serious an economic crime as taking a movie in the movies – couple year fed hospitality), state and federal laws against bank robbing coexist side by side (so could copyright violation penalties, no?).
Right now, at the federal level we have placebo protection for organizers. Jobs can be reinstated after years of waiting – mostly fired again for something else. No deterrence to suffocating unionizing – nor recourse, like mandating elections on finding of union busting – zero; nothing at all.
As such today’s federal law sets up a union certification gauntlet most all employees cannot survive – an inherently lopsided contest in an inherently adversarial process. Being forced into the straightjacket of an inherently unworkable organizing process – preempting something with nothing -- is the equivalent of forbidding employees to organize a collective bargaining unit – a First Amendment right.
Interestingly, California has its own certification process for farm workers only. Seems FDR told Congress – trying to get the union law through; not written in the law – that it would not apply to farm workers. With this as an excuse states are able to set up certification of their own.
Leaving the esoteric aside – states can inarguably back up the federal labor organizing scheme by instituting criminal penalties for muscling in our most important market (would anybody doubt states may penalize unions for the reverse?).
Deterring union busting at state level should breeze through legislatures in progressive states (WA, OR, CA, NV, MN, IL, NY, MD?) which also happen to be our most prosperous states and therefore potentially the most influential.
From there it is "clear and hold."
I see collective bargaining as such a core social as well as economic right that I think that a US Constitutional Amendment should be prepared to enshrine it specifically – going beyond an (recognized) First Amendment protection.
A couple of years of Donald and I am sure we can take back the House and the Senate. If progressives' number one push is for re-unionization I'd be absolutely sure we could take them back. (Remember, Bernie beat the hell out of Hill versus Donald.)
The Wage That Meant Middle Class
By Louis Uchitelle, APRIL 20, 2008
"Leaving aside for a moment those who have lost their jobs, what of those who still have them? Once upon a time, a large number earned at least $20 an hour, or its inflation-adjusted equivalent, and now so many of them don’t.
"The $20 hourly wage, introduced on a huge scale in the middle of the last century, allowed masses of Americans with no more than a high school education to rise to the middle class. It was a marker, of sorts. And it is on its way to extinction."
Monday, November 7, 2016
My view of the big world — foreign policy — is the Rick Steves, Anthony Bourdain outlook: middle class-workers of the world unite (or at least middle-classes): the people everywhere who (to borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton) work hard and play by the rules.
There seems a commonality of outlook to be discovered from Russia to Turkey to Syria to anywhere. Somehow we (the middle class) people ought to be able to coordinate our countries’ interactions.
Classically, middle classes — all the way from the Middle Ages — were the vanguard of democratization. No more Game of Risk mentality if we take hold.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Do you know what failure of progressive states to take the easy path to re-building union density reminds me of?
Of 19 Republican governors who oppose Medicaid expansion (90% reimbursement yet!) -- who always willing GIVE UP hundred of millions if not billions of dollars of tax breaks to attract businesses and jobs ...
... but who wont TAKE hundreds of millions if not billions of federal (payroll) tax raised money to create really top flight medical jobs ...
... AND IT'S THEIR OWN (PAYROLL) TAX MONEY THEY SENT TO WASHINGTON IN THE FIRST D-A-M-N PLACE THEY ARE REFUSING!!!
That's how foolish progressive legislatures who do not make union busting a felony look to me.
Even if it were just only for their own electoral good.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
MY COMMENT AT ANGRY BEAR TODAY -- Asserts states may today order certification elections with a finding of illegal blocking -- argues no federal action to directly (or mostly even indirectly) protect organizing substantively exists to preempt; First Amendment invoked.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
COMMENTS I HAVE BEEN DROPPING THIS WEEK AT [first paras -- full content in comments below to save space]:
IF OBAMA HAD spent the last 7+ years explaining to the general public what Mike Konczal lays out, then, he would have much trust with which to convince voters what frauds the Republicans are: golden credibility! [comment left at Economist's View]
Do US progressives ignore THE CORE REASON for income inequality (please include the word "income" so most people won't mistake the discussion to be about race in the 1950s)? Do they?
IOW, worry more about the folks at home in rich countries (whatever the morality of that might be) or more Donald Trumps are on the way, world wide.
My low skilled job, taxi driving, has been virtually outsourced all over the world (Pakistan, Russia, Nigeria, Mexico, etc.).
Lack of collective bargaining makes a wages race to the bottom that is malignant enough all by its lonesome. (Taxi fares are not set by coll barg, but a unionized country would be a diff country.) But, throw in enough poor country raised immigrants and the race for home grown labor becomes fatal.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Let us peer at the year in-year out Republican moans and screams.
In psychiatry there is the concept of “transfer anxiety.” Some patients have so much anxiety (not the exact Repub problem) that they repress it to try to get away from it only to end up worrying about (usually irrational) something else — for instance, that throwing a cigarette in the street may ignite somebody’s gas tank. Can’t just make part of your perceptions go away.
Repubs anxieties OTH come from WANTING an anxiety — a healthy anxiety — wanting to save the world — DON’T WE ALL? But Repubs have no adult size issues they really care about: for instance, poverty, medical (all kinds of issues), discrimination, etc.
I like to say the Repubs have no “comet-strike” anxieties.
Gun control: there are 300 million guns in this country. Do Repubs seriously think somebody is going to come and take them all away? More stringent check or safety standards or whatever: no comet-strike there.
Immigration: there are 12 million illegal immigrants here. About 8 million may be over worked, under paid Mexicans. Going to bring America down? No comet-strike.
The deficit: assuming this generation is going to leave a bill for future generations — those future generations will have more money to pay for it through economic growth (IF WE RESTORE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING TO OUR LABOR MARKET)/but may decide to lay it off on their future generations/who will have more money/but who may lay it off on their future generations. That’s human nature — but no comet-strike.
Maybe if someone could explain to Republicans what they are really (not) worried about, some of them might switch to adult (earth-shaking) concerns.
ADDENDUM (just though of this, this moment)
As to the big bugaboo "the government" -- the government is just an extension of the power of whoever (whatever interest group) runs it. If your (high density) unions run it, the government is just an extension of your unions. Still worried about that -- are you afraid to run the country for yourselves?
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
There are low skilled jobs aplenty that can pay just as much as factory jobs. With collective bargaining workers are paid by the max consumers are willing to fork up — not by the minimum for which desperate workers are willing to show up.
Lack of collective bargaining is especially harmful to American raised workers of all colors in mixed American raised/foreign raised work forces like Chicago’s. The labor market doesn’t clear evenly. Look at fast food in Chicago and it is all Mexican and (East) Indian labor. My old taxi job has been “outsourced” to the whole world.
Foreign raised workers are willing to show up for $400 a week — Am are not. We want $800. If there were nobody but Am around they would have to pay $800. Also if wages were set by collective bargaining they would have to pay $800.
In any case with collective bargaining you intuit you have squeezed the best the economy (a.k.a., the consumers) of your era can produce (a.k.a., pay).
Result of dropout of Am in Chicago: an unbelievable 100,000 out of my guesstimate 200,000 gang-age, minority males are in drug dealing street gangs. (Last night the TV said, if I remember correctly, 40 of the 52 shot over the weekend had 672 arrests among them.)
Especially with a mixed rich country/poor country work force you desperately need to restore collective bargaining — to make the American labor market workable (pun intended) again.
* * * * * * * * *
Intimidating union organizing is illegal everywhere — and nowhere/nowhere practicably. If caught firing an organizer you must rehire her. Doesn’t matter if you fully compensate her income loss and never fire her again — you got away with the real bank robbery money anyway; you barred the certification election anyway.
Only remedy that makes economic sense: a finding of union busting should lead to a mandatory certification election. I believe this sanction has to take place at the federal level (NLRB preemption). This could be possible if Hillary pulls enough reps and senators with her. [Be a great issue for Hillary with blue collar voters.]
* * * * * * * * * *
At the state level union busting now needs to be taken as as seriously and harmful an unfair market practice as, say, taking a movie in the movies — which will get you a couple of years federal hospitality.
As long as nobody else talks about re-unionization (as the beginning and the end of re-constituting the American dream) — nobody thinks it is possible to talk about …
… or something.
Easy as pie to make union busting a felony in our most progressive states f(WA, OR, CA, NV, IL, NY, MD) — and then get out of the way as the first 2000 people in the many telephone directories re-define our future.
After I described the American spinning-wheels labor market to my late brother John, he came back with: “Martin Luther King got his people on the up escalator just in time for it to start going down for everybody."
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Just thinking out loud: Maybe if the NLRB finds you have been union busting, you should be forced to hold a certification election (besides going to jail).
Union busting is illegal everywhere. Get caught and it is not even like getting caught robbing a bank and being forced to give back the cash. Sure you’re forced to take the fired employee back, but even if you don’t fire her (usually) for something else you have still succeeded in blocking the collective bargaining that makes for a fair labor market. You get to keep the money!
Noto bene: a 100% rich country (American raised) labor force will have lower wages w/o collective bargaining — than a 50/50% rich country/poor country (anywhere else) raised labor force w/collective bargaining. Ponder.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Most min wage scenarios ignore what I suspect is the re-circulation effect — of newly raised min income spent proportionately more at lower wage firms — than at firms it would have been spent otherwise. This may explain the Card and Krueger finding that min wage employment increased with the raise. Job loss/income loss may actually take place at higher income levels instead. The idea is to re-distribute.
Seattle workers may lose out on much re-circulation/re-distribution effect of their (gradual) creep up to $15 an hour (which everyone is studying so intensely) because Seattle has the highest median household income around ($100,000). Re/re may work better in Chicago which has 60/40 minority/majority population.